ROAD TESTED: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – 1.5T revolutionises Cross
Mitsubishi claims to have revolutionised the Eclipse Cross by it being the first car in the local line-up to use the tri-diamond brand’s new downsized 110kW 250 Nm 1.5-litre turbo four-pot engine.
The direct petrol injected lump gets Mitsubishi’s Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control, an exhaust manifold integrated to the cylinder head, sodium-filled exhaust valves and it drives the front wheels via an 8-step CVT autobox (versus the 2-litre’s six ‘geared’ steps).
So what’s the big deal, I hear you ask? That’s a hell of a song and dance for a car that costs sixty grand extra, makes the same peak power and only manages to save two millilitres of petrol per kilometre over the old atmo two-litre?
Stars on the road
Yes, on paper only those fifty bonus Newton metres of torque seem to stand out, but on the road, the one-point five Tee is a completely different animal to the two-point-oh. You feel it in the butt the moment you pull away and the actual improvement on the road is quite astounding.
The new 1.5-litre turbo engine proved 2.3 seconds quicker than the old two-litre did in our VBox tests, dropping from 10.9 to 8.6 seconds on the same strip in the same conditions. And that’s not all — it found a full five seconds to 160 km/h, was 1.4 seconds quicker and 5km/h faster over 400m (the quarter-mile), dropped a second from 80 to 120 and took two and a half seconds less to accelerate from 120 to 160km/h.
That fuel consumption number also seemed far more representative than the similar claim for the 2-litre on the road, which makes this apparently small change in output worth huge performance gains on the road.
For the rest, this new Eclipse Cross 1.5 T CVT flagship is pretty much identical to the 2-litre it continues alongside in the three-car range. That engine is also available in all-wheel drive, although we’d certainly prefer this one in that application too.
On the road, Eclipse Cross is solid, cruises well and while handling is car-like, some drivers may be frustrated by a lack of connection with the car, which could be more responsive and intuitive to inputs. That said, ASX still offers a fair level of off-road ability even in this 4×2 get-up, where it aces gravel roads with a firm and predictable poise.
But there’s more to Eclipse Cross too— its edgy design and healthy equipment spec impress, from its sharp styling to a ‘human-centric’ cockpit with everything from a neat upmarket heads-up display behind the adjustable leather paddle shifter multifunction steering wheel to a reverse camera, heated seats and the like.
There’s optional voice controlled 7” GPS touchscreen infotainment with radio, USB, Bluetooth, Apple Car Play and Android compatibility, all of which should be noted, is top drawer at this level. It’s well enough presented in a blend or metallic, black, faux carbonfibre and leather with power seats and windows and climate control and a 60/40 split slide-and-tilt rear bench too.
Several of those aspects are however let down by budget materials and plasticky controls, which did dull experience to an extent and while that double-decker rear end certainly looks the part, as I’m sure it is in Walt from Breaking Bad’s Aztec, rear visibility is horrible.
The big story here however, is that Mitsubishi’s new downsized 1.5T engine has absolutely transformed the Eclipse Cross from just a great looking and well-stacked little SUV to a fine performing one too. So much so that the sixty grand premium is worth every cent, and more.
Yes, downsizing certainly is very good… – Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T 4x2 CVT Engine: 110kW 250Nm 1998cc petrol I4 Drive: 8-step CVT FWD TESTED: 0-60km/h 3.69 sec 0-100km/h: 8.62 sec 0-160km/h: 24.65 sec 400m: 16.3 sec @ 135km/h 80-120km/h: 6.66 sec 120-160km/h: 12.17 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 195km/h Fuel: 7.7 l/100km CO2: 174 g/km Warranty/Service 3y 100Kkm/5y 90Kkm LIST PRICE: R469K RATED: 7