The Eclipse Cross was the first of numerous models to be launched by Mitsubishi during 2019 and with it the brand hopes to take its share of the compact SUV pie. It slots into the Mitsubishi line-up between the smaller and much older ASX and the larger and much more luxurious Outlander.
It seems then to fill a perfect gap and, at R399 995, it’s attractively priced, too. However, this is arguably one of the toughest segments of the market in which to compete, with at least nine other direct competitors against which the Eclipse Cross must prove itself.
So then, does it have what it takes?
What can I expect from the Eclipse Cross?
There’s no getting away from it … the Eclipse Cross is a “love-it-or-hate-it” proposition. The consensus among most people who saw it was that they love it from the front but are not so keen on that hunch-back rear with the split-window tailgate. However, design is always subjective and, whatever your take, the fact remains that the Eclipse Cross gains more attention than many of its rivals.
Jump aboard and Mitsubishi has created a largely upmarket cabin environment; with plenty of leather, piano-black trim and satin-silver accents adding to the tiered dash and creating an overall driver-centric feel. That’s not to say that passengers lose out – cabin space is truly plentiful. While the front seats are heated and the driver’s electrically adjustable, the split rear bench slides and reclines to allow the perfect balance between passenger comfort and luggage space.
This is handy when one considers that under the raised boot floor is a full-sized spare wheel, which means luggage space is not what you’d call generous. Interior storage space is about average, but I especially like the split-compartment glovebox.
Is it loaded with lots of safety features and other nice toys?
Mitsubishi has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the Eclipse Cross. The spec sheet starts with a full-colour dash-top head up display that imparts vital info to the driver in their line of sight. This is complemented by a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Apple and Android connectivity.
Rounding up the comfort and convenience features are keyless entry and start, cruise control, one-touch electric windows (from the driver’s control panel), dual-zone climate control with rear-seat ventilation, front and rear park-distance control with a reversing camera, and automatic lights and wipers.
On the safety front, Mitsubishi has laced the Eclipse Cross with seven airbags as well as ISOFIX child-seat anchors. A full suite of electronic safety aids is in the mix, too; including Active YAW Control, Hill Start Assist, stability and traction control, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.
What’s it like from behind the wheel?
Unlike many of its competitors Mitsubishi offers no diesel-engined Eclipse Cross; instead, your only option is a 2,0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the choice of either front- or all-wheel drive. This vehicle was the former, which meant that only its 180-mm ground clearance could be called upon to help it traverse light dirt roads.
It’s worth noting, though, that whether on road or off, the Eclipse Cross offers impressive levels of ride comfort and refinement – something Mitsubishi always gets right. Enthusiastic drivers will also like its keen steering that imparts a level of light-footedness and sense of entertainment seen in few segment rivals.
With 110 kW and 198 Nm on offer, the Eclipse Cross is no firecracker but also has no trouble keeping up with traffic; its power delivered strongly and smoothly. The CVT remains a point of contention – as these transmissions usually do – creating a smooth drive at low speed but revealing that annoying “elastic” lurch when the power is piled on and it moves through the artificial “shifts”.
Mitsubishi claims this drivetrain combination will return an average fuel consumption of 7,9 l/100 km, but in reality you can expect slightly higher numbers.
Should I buy one, or look around?
Mitsubishi has a truly competent compact SUV contender in the Eclipse Cross … but whether that will be enough to garner it a significant piece of the pie against similarly-priced competitors that include – amongst many others – the Subaru XV, Haval H6 C, Hyundai Creta and Ford EcoSport, will remain to be seen.
My guess is it’ll appeal to buyers that don’t want any of the mainstream options but rather something that combines quality with a good level of features and stand-out looks (love them or hate them…).
The Eclipse Cross comes with a three-year/100 000 km warranty, five-year/90 000 km service plan and a five-year roadside assistance.
CyberStoep rating: 6,5/10