The all-new 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Here it is in a nutshell: the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a turbocharged, 5-passenger crossover that competes directly against vehicles like the Mazda CX-5. The only mechanical option is all-wheel drive (AWD) at $600. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) comes standard, as does the turbocharged engine.
It has a turbocharged 150 (up to 152 – it has yet to be official) horsepower, direct-injected, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 lb-ft of torque at about 2,000 rpm. While the horsepower numbers are on the low side, the torque is quite good considering the immediate nature of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross’ look. Hit the accelerator and it moves with just enough urgency.
Weighing in at 3500 pounds (fully loaded with S-AWC), the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross weighs slightly less than its main competitor, the Mazda CX-5 which, in equivalent trim, weighs about 100 lbs more. Despite this extra weight, the Mazda CX-5 feels much lighter to the touch and is happier going through tight bends.
Surprisingly, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has an outstanding overall ride. Its highway ride is comfortable and its on-road performance manners are quite good. It handles well, but you can feel its high center when pushing hard around corners. Power delivery is quick and throttle response doesn’t feel too shabby; despite the minor turbo lag.
An Ace Up its Sleeve: Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC)
One notable positive is how effective the S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) system works with the powertrain and suspension setup. Simply put, the S-AWC vectors torque while working with the active center differential, active yaw control and the ABS system to give maximum traction for performance and challenging terrain. It’s seamless, but you have to select the terrain you’re on.
S-AWC has three settings: Snow, Gravel and Tarmac. There is a separate setting for an Eco mode as well. While I didn’t have the time or terrain to test its off pavement Gravel or Snow settings (I was in Southern California while it burned), I did play around with a few settings on a dirt road I used in the video. Traction was never an issue.
The interior design is not as playful looking as the edgy exterior design. It’s more buttoned-down, like an Outlander. The dual-pane sunroof helps a bit, but the dark interior still feels too business like for some tastes. The seats are very comfortable and the rear seats can slide a full eight-inches and the backrests can recline quite a bit. There is 23 cubic feet of cargo volume, that’s on par with some competitors, although the sliding seats help with the overall utility of the vehicle’s cargo space.
I like most of the interior layout with one major exception, the cursor pad. Cribbed from the Lexus NX, it’s a flat pad that you finger-slide with to select various items on the 7-inch display’s infotainment display. It’s not very good on the Lexus NX – ditto for the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
Another notable “borrowed” tech is the flip-up heads-up display. It’s a clear plastic screen that pops up and displays information, much like the ones used in Mini and Mazda. I like the heads-up display quite a bit, but it’s only available on higher-end models.
Another issue some may have is the rear-view-splitting spoiler. It cuts across the rear separating the upper rear glass (that has a hidden rear windshield wiper up top) and the lower, flat rear glass. When you look through the rear-view mirror, there is a distinct line that cuts across your view. I got used to it, but I know it will be an issue for many.
I like the design direction Mitsubishi is headed. Sure, I think it’s odd that a sporty crossover marketed to Millennials is missing big exhaust ports, or, at least something that looks like one (there aren’t any) and that it doesn’t sound very sporty when revved. Still, there is something nice the brand-new 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross brings to the segment – a teensy bit of fun to go with its everyday practicality.
In the near future, Mitsubishi will be enlarging the Mitsubishi Outlander and shrinking the Outlander Sport. That will give their medium sized crossover, the Eclipse Cross to truly fit in the middle of the lineup. This new ride will give Mitsubishi a competitive crossover to go up against the most competitive segment out there.
One final note: despite the recent merger between Mitsubishi and Nissan/Renault, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross along with its all-new powerplant was conceived, designed and built by Mitsubishi. This may be the last vehicle built by Mitsubishi that doesn’t share or inherit components from Nissan. New products (crossovers) appear in the tea leaves while the future for Mitsubishi will be interesting to watch.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is available in ES, LE, SE and SEL. The ES starts at $23,295 with a loaded Touring Package-equipped SEL topping off the line at $30,395. Expect the Eclipse Cross in dealerships the beginning of the second quarter 2018.
We can’t wait to get it up to the Rocky Mountains for a proper review.