What is a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross? For those who may not remember, the Mitsubishi Eclipse was originally a compact car built in a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. Both manufacturers produced four generations of the Eclipse between 1989 and 2011. The joint venture was known as Diamond Star Motors. Cars it produced in central Illinois were sold under the Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Dodge, Eagle and Plymouth brands.
Now, the all-new 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a small crossover that falls between the larger Outlander and the smaller Outlander Sport. Mitsubishi’s aggressively styled mid range offering comes in four trim levels. There’s the base front-wheel drive ES, then there’s the all-wheel drive LE, SE and SEL. Mitsubishi refers to its all-wheel drive system as “Super All-Wheel Control”, or S-AWC.
All 2018 Eclipse Cross models are powered by the same turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Connected to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), it puts out 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mitsubishi does fit some paddle shifters to give drivers some sense of control over eight forward speeds programmed into the transmission. All models have electric power steering, and the towing capacity for all trim levels is rated at 1,500 pounds.
The overall design displays a more aggressive and youthful image than the rest of the Mitsubishi family, with sharply angled lines. In profile, the wheel wells are pronounced and connected by an upswept character line with a chiseled cutline just below the rising shoulder. The “B” and “C” pillars are blacked out and surrounded by bright trim rendering a coupe-like effect.
The aft end showcases a wide stance, tapered from top to bottom, with an integrated spoiler atop the gate and a split rear window with a light bar connector to the taillamps. Mitsubishi fitted metallic inserts into a black lower diffuser with dual integrated exhaust outlets.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Upper trim models of the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross come with a heads-up display that folds away when not in use. The infotainment system includes a 7.0-inch display that sits atop the dash in tablet-like form, supporting both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Eclipse Cross uses a touchpad control in the center console rather than a command wheel. Unlike the infotainment display, the touchpad is only available in LE, SE and SEL trims.
Functionality is one of the greatest assets of the Eclipse Cross. It provides seating space for five and cargo-carrying practicality. The 60/40 split-folding and reclining rear seats can slide forward and backward nearly eight inches to adjust for rear legroom or luggage space. With the seats in place, the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross offers up 22.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity. However, when you fold the seats down, that space increases to 48.9 cubic feet. There’s adequate rear headroom for two adults, at 37.3 inches. With three, however, it can be on the cramped side.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross’ 1.5-liter turbocharged engine delivers smooth acceleration. Its 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque come on readily without strain. The sweet spot with that CVT, however, comes in around 2,500 rpm. It’s no sports machine, but it holds on well enough in most normal driving conditions. For greater efficiency, an ECO button limits hard acceleration.
Steering is both responsive and precise for controlled, and the car’s tracking is smooth and stable. Furthermore, the S-AWC’s stability control system features a Gravel and Snow mode along with 8.5 inches of ground clearance for when you need to head a bit off the beaten track.
Ride quality is satisfactory, but don’t expect the sports car-like road-holding ability of the former Eclipse coupe. After all, this is still, at its heart, an ordinary crossover. Mitsubishi may have bestowed the Eclipse Cross with an athletic, vigorous appearance, but it still contends with 3,500 pounds of bulk.
There will be those who will question the need for the existence of the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in the brand’s lineup. Not only that, but those same people may question the reasoning behind Mitsubishi’s decision to bestow the “Eclipse” name on a crossover. But, when push comes to shove, it fills a niche in the company’s lineup, and does that quite nicely thanks to its edgier styling and appealing size.
My test 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was the mid-range SE trim, which kicks off at $26,395. With the accessory tonneau cover, carpeted floor mats and destination charges, the final price rose to $27,715.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse SE S-AWC
|Price as Tested:
|Engine:||1.5-liter turbocharged I-4|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Transversely mounted front engine, all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||152 hp @ 5,500 rpm|
|Torque:||184 lb-ft @ 2,000-3,500 rpm|
|Transmission:||Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with Sport Mode|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar
Rear: Multilink with stabilizer bar
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front)|
|Tires:||Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 P225/55 R18|
|Fuel capacity:||15.8 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||25 city / 26 highway MPG|
|Turning Circle:||34.8 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,516 pounds|