Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2018-2021) Review
This all-new SUV from Mitsubishi is affordable, comfortable and capable but its small petrol engine is not very economical
Strengths & weaknesses
- Good value
- Comfortable and fun
- Lack of sat-nav
- CVT blunts enjoyment
- Currently limited to just petrol
A common grumble amongst the anti-SUV fraternity surrounds the fact that many modern crossovers don't boast a single off-road gene in their body, with many being as capable as any regular hatchback when driving conditions worsen or a spot of off-roading beckons.
However, Mitsubishi built its first 4x4 in 1936 and has been a pioneer of all-wheel-drive ever since, winning numerous rallies in that time and perfecting the off-road prowess of is road-going range.
The latest Eclipse Cross enters an extremely busy market place that includes the Honda CH-R, Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008 and Hyundai Tucson but aims to stand out from the crowd with some real mud-plugging pedigree and a tempting price tag.
As a result, the range starts at £21,275 and increases to £27,900 for models specified with automatic gearboxes and Mitsubishi's latest Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system, which manages the driving and braking forces of all four wheels to help tackle tricky situations like gravel or snow.
Alternatively, the driver can leave the system in an Auto mode and let the plethora of on-board sensors determine exactly how much power or braking force to apply to each wheel to help tackle the tough terrain.
Inside, the new Eclipse Cross features a new dash design and simple horizontal layout that splits the interior into two: infotainment and information takes up the top half, while controls and dials reside in the lower half.
The build quality is good, with plenty of hardwearing plastics used to increase the vehicle's longevity and piano black treatment raising the overall quality, but some areas can feel a bit cheap and scratchy in places.
The new touch-screen infotainment system is easily navigating by prodding the screen or by interacting with a touch-sensitive D-pad that sits in the central tunnel, although there is no option to specify it with a built-in sat-nav system.
Instead, Mitsubishi wants customers to plug in smartphones and make the most of its Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.
It's a bold move seeing as Apple Maps isn't the most responsive navigation system available and some customers might not wish to rely on a smartphone to get them to a destination.
The technology inside works well and doesn't take long to master, while even the most basic models receive the full suite of infotainment on offer, with mid-range cars and above receiving an additional head-up display unit to compliment the package.
This may seem slightly petty, but the oversized nature of the gear stick and handbrake seem a bit odd. They appear to have been pinched directly from Mitsubishi’s pick-up truck range and look out of sorts with the rest of the smart and compact interior.
Unfortunately, Mitsubishi's current engine offering isn't quite as thorough as its technological bundle, as just a single 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is offered at launch, with the option to mate it to a manual or automatic transmission and specify the auto models with two or four-wheel-drive abilities.
It would be acceptable if the engine was faultless but it isn't. Real-world fuel economy is poor compared to the competition and its CO2 emissions are a long way behind rivals, making it an expensive proposition to tax or run as a company car.
On top of this, the addition of a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) - rather than a standard automatic gearbox - blunts the driving pleasure somewhat.
Mitsubishi has introduced synthetic gear changes and steering wheel-mounted paddles in an attempt to make the Eclipse Cross feel like a more traditional auto but it isn't as responsive as more traditional systems offered by Seat, Peugeot and Nissan.
That doesn't mean it should be ruled out, because under normal (read delicate) driving conditions, it is smooth, quiet and responsive but it can feel cumbersome, noisy and overworked when pushed hard.
A six-speed manual gearbox improves the driving experience tenfold, while the chassis and suspension set-up is well judged for UK roads. It manages to crest over bumps and imperfections, while proving adept at cornering without too much body roll.
There is also plenty of space inside for passengers, with ample headroom (despite the sweeping exterior design) and lots of legroom. Plus, the rear seats cleverly slide independently of each other and recline slightly maximise versatility and comfort.
|Warranty||5 years/62,500 miles|
|Boot size||341 litres|
|Tax||2018 £500 in the first year, £140|
Best Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross for...
Best for Economy – Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2 Manual 2WD
The cheapest model in the Eclipse Cross family is offered with plenty of kit as standard, while fuel economy is slightly higher than those with automatic transmissions
Best for Families – Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4 Manual 2WD
A slightly improved specification package sees a handy 360-degree parking camera added, the aforementioned head-up display and a large panoramic sunroof to appease the kids in the back.
- 2011: A small sports car called the Mitsubishi Eclipse goes on sale in the USA and China
- 2017: Mitsubishi takes styling cues from the previous Eclipse model but adds a distinctively off-road demeanour, hence the additions of 'Cross' in the name.
- 2018: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross goes on sale
Understanding Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross names
Trim level 4
There are three trim levels on offer, with the option to plump for a limited First Edition car. Each trim level sees more specification added to the car and sees the price increase.
Engine 1.5-litre petrol
Just one petrol engine is currently offered until Mitsubishi decides whether to introduce a diesel option in the future. It is likely a hybrid variant will also arrive in the near future.
Gearbox 6 speed
Six-speed shows that the car has six gears. Customers can choose between a standard manual transmission and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which is a single-speed, step-less variation of an automatic gearbox.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Engines
The engine range is a slight bone of contention for Mitsubishi, as its management claims it is waiting to see how the Eclipse Cross sells with just a turbocharged petrol on offer, while it says it will also track the current demonisation' of diesel before committing to offer more engines.
It could prevent some customers from committing, which is a shame because the small petrol unit is quiet, refined and surprisingly capable of getting the large Eclipse Cross up to speed, with an official 0-62mph sprint time of 9.8 seconds in the CVT model, and 10.3 in the manual.
When mated to the six-speed manual gearbox, it offers plenty of responsiveness and remains quiet and unobtrusive throughout the rev range. It's just a shame its CO2 emissions are high and the fuel economy is relatively poor.
Official fuel economy figures state just 42.8mpg in front-wheel drive cars with a manual gearbox, while the CVT version with 4WD returns 40.4mpg.
By comparison, the Toyota C-HR with a 1.2-litre petrol engine returns 47.9mpg, a 1.0-litre petrol SEAT Ateca will return 54.3mpg, and a 1.2-litre Peugeot 3008 manages 55.4mpg.
Future variants could well boast a much cleaner diesel and Mitsubishi has hinted that a hybrid model could be in the pipeline, likely sporting a similar set-up to that found in the Outlander PHEV.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Trims
2, 3, 4 and First Edition
Mitsubishi doesn't want its customers to perceive the Eclipse Cross as some sort of budget option, so it doesn't really offer its new vehicle in a 'base spec'.
Here, the range begins at '2' and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, smartphone connectivity, a rear-view parking camera, Bluetooth, cruise control and the same touch-screen infotainment system with touchpad controls that is present in more expensive models.
Privacy glass, LED daytime running lights and projection halogen headlamps ensure the Eclipse Cross remains striking to behold, while a generous seven airbags, front collision mitigation and lane departure warning are all present throughout the line-up.
Stepping up to '3' specification sees the introduction of 18-inch alloy wheels, heated and power folding door mirrors, a soundproof windscreen for greater comfort and front and rear parking sensors.
The infotainment system is complimented by a small head-up display that's mounted behind the steering wheel and projects speed and cruise control information in front of the windscreen.
Thanks to a lack of built-in navigation system, it won't project turn-by-turn directions, which is a bit of an oversight by the Japanese marque.
Eclipse Cross 3 models also receive heated front seats, keyless entry and start and dual-zone climate control.
The range-topping Eclipse Cross 4 models introduce a premium Rockford nine-speaker sound system, black leather interior, power panoramic sunroof, LED headlamps, a 360-degree parking camera, as well as a safety package that includes blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist.
Finally, Mitsubishi is also offering a limited number of First Edition models that benefit from a number of unique styling additions, including a Premium Red Diamond Metallic paint finish, carbon extensions to the bodywork, First Edition mats and a bespoke First Edition badge.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Reliability and warranty
Mitsubishi has long had a reputation for creating reliable vehicles and its confident 5-year/62,500-mile warranty reflects this fact.
Unfortunately, Mitsubishi remains a low volume player in the UK, meaning it failed to rank in the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power Survey but that shouldn't be seen as a reflection of the quality of its vehicles.
In fact, the Eclipse Cross feels as well bolted together as some of its much larger and hardier Light Commercial Vehicles and the 12-year anti-corrosion warranty period should give some indication as to just how long the Japanese manufacturer sees its cars lasting on the road.