Eclipse Cross is Mitsubishi’s all new but rather wordy SUV, as seen frequently on the telly.
The public seems a bit confused about where the Eclipse sits in the scheme of things.
To set the record straight, it slots between the ASX and larger Outlander, in terms of size.
Having said that all three share the same 2670mm wheelbase, while ASX and Eclipse also share a platform.
Eclipse however is about 10cm longer, but at the same time has a smaller boot — although the rear seat slides fore and aft.
Given their closeness in size, there’s speculation the newer, more sophisticated Eclipse could in fact replace ASX.
That or Mitsubishi will move to put some distance between the two models.
The ASX has been around since Adam but continues to sell well, particularly at its $25K price point, so they’re not likely to kill off their cash cow.
What’s it cost?
Three versions of the Eclipse Cross are offered. Entry LS at $30,500, 2WD Exceed at $36,000 and the AWD Exceed at $38,500 — all before on-roads costs.
Standard kit includes 18-inch alloys, Smart key, 7.0-inch touch screen, seven airbags, Forward Collision Warning (FCM), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
Forward Collision Mitigation, a form of autonomous braking, works up to a speed of 80km/h with stationary objects or 200km/h if it is moving.
To this the Exceed adds dual-zone air, leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, LED headlights with auto levelling, double panoramic sunroof, Head Up Display (HUD), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Multi Around Monitor (MAM), and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS).
That last one reduces the chance and severity of hitting obstacles when the driver mistakenly presses the accelerator when stationary or at speeds up to 10km/h.
The flagship Exceed comes with all of this plus Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control S-AWC four-wheel drive system, but we’d probably opt for the 2WD.
And, in fact, our test vehicle was the middle of the range two-wheel, or in other words front-wheel drive Exceed.
ASX by the way ranges in price from $25,00 up to $37,500 for the all-wheel drive diesel.
What’s it go like?
Initially we felt the Eclipse lacked some urgency, but the more we drove the car the more we warmed to the performance.
It’s an all-new, four cylinder, 1.5-litre direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine that produces 110kW of power at 5500rpm and 250Nm peak torque at 2000rpm.
It’s paired with a (cough) CVT style auto that offers 8 steps or gears when driven in manual mode, facilitated by the provision of large sporty gear change paddles fixed to the wheel.
The ride is smooth, it’s quiet inside and performance is more than adequate for the target market, but more demanding drivers could find it a bit disappointing.
Driven sedately it’s relatively inoffensive. Start pushing however and the CVT becomes “zoomy” while gear changes in manual mode are on the other hand a bit clunky.
Make no mistake this is pure middle of the road, dressed in sporty lycra with plenty of eye candy to add emotional appeal.
The pop up head up display screen is a useful addition for monitoring speed, as are digital radio, auto high beam and adaptive cruise control.
But rear vision is at best marginal through the attractive but challenging two-tier rear window, with huge rear pillars that make over the shoulder vision difficult at best.
The lack of satellite navigation in this otherwise highly spec’d model is unforgivable.
Some manufacturers seem to have taken the arrival of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a cue to save some dough and remove navigation.
The thing is neither system really cuts it, not yet anyway.
We connected our Samsung Android phone via Android Auto and within minutes in the middle of navigating to a destination the connection dropped out.
Talk about frustrating.
And what about the silly track pad. Why would you provide a means of computer control that encourages the driver to look down and take their eyes off the road?
Finally, we can’t with any confidence say what sort of fuel consumption we got, even though we clocked up almost 1000km.
Try as we may, we could not stop the trip computer from resetting itself, even though there is a specific setting to prevent this from happening — for what it’s worth we were sitting on 6.9L/100km on our return.
The offiicial figure for this model is 7.3L/100km.
What we like?
Smooth, composed ride
Icy cold aircon
Generous rear legroom (seats slides fore and aft)
Good fuel economy (we think)
Head up display
Birdseye around view parking camera
What we don’t?
Poor rear vision
False alarms from auto braking
Trip computer keeps resetting
Lacks storage spaces
Rear seats don’t lie flat when folded
Track pad pointless
No USB or power outlet inside console box
The bottom line?
It looks the goods but we weren’t exactly swept off our feet. It certainly a step upon the ASX in terms of safety and technology, but then it cost more.