Mitsubishi now has a mid-sized SUV and the Japanese manufacturer has produced a formidable rival for the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage in the new Eclipse Cross, writes Robert Maddox.
Check it out and I reckon you be impressed because the Eclipse Cross is a great-looking crossover car that’s highly equipped and finished to a high standard. It has also been designed to be great to drive.
The model is positioned in the Mitsubishi range between the ASX and Outlander, setting itself apart with its expressive and bold coupe-llke styling, cockpit-like interior, sharp driving dynamics and advanced technologies.
Take your pick from three trim levels (2, 3 and 4) and front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive. All examples are powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox (FWD only) or an all-new eight-step CVT automatic transmission. The line-up is priced from £21,275 on the road with the top-of-the range Eclipse Cross 4 version starting from £24,975.
Engineers set out to match the vehicle’s SUV ‘coupé’ tag with driving dynamics that fulfil the brand’s sporting heritage. A highly rigid yet lightweight bodyshell,provides a sound base for optimum handling with drivers promised more direct steering feel and improved straight line stability at higher speeds.
More good news is that the suspension system strikes the perfect balance between handling and comfort, with an emphasis on limiting body roll.
And Mitsubishi’s S-AWC advanced full-time four-wheel drive system not only ensures safer motoring in winter but also improves handling through corners, vehicle stability when driving straight or changing lane, and over low-friction surfaces with a standard 80:20 front-to-rear torque split that can be instantly and continuously adjusted to a maximum of 55:45 front-to-rear in Auto mode.
Under normal circumstances, the 4WD system uses Auto mode to manage torque feed and return the best fuel economy; if it encounters a low-friction surface or similar conditions it automatically apportions more torque to the rear wheels for better vehicle stability. Snow mode is for snow-covered and other slippery surfaces, while Gravel mode delivers full 4WD performance for difficult terrain, poor roads or to extract the vehicle when stuck in mud or snow.
The high standard specification across the range includes Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Mitigation systems using radar technology to detect a risk of collision and they have contributed to the model achieving a maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The model also has automatic headlamps with automatic high-beam, rain-sensing wipers, a reversing camera LED daytime running lights, a smartphone-linked touchscreen infotainment system, touchpad controller and a head-up display
Other available features include Adaptive Cruise Control, a Blind Spot Warning system with Lane Change Assist, 360-degree camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Within its compact dimensions, the Eclipse Cross offers an airy and spacious interior with luggage space optimised by a 60:40 split rear seat.
The car’s clever twin-bubble roof design ensures plenty of headroom, a benefit which isn’t compromised eve if the car is equipped with the panoramic glass roof. Other features that aid practicality are wide-opening rear doors, multiple storage areas including a large double-compartment glovebox, and an underfloor cargo box.
Add a high-quality, crafted feel in the cabin thanks to carbon and piano black accents for the instrument panel, steering wheel, centre console and door panels and the end result is, clearly, an outstanding new model from Mitsubishi.