Eclipse Cross

It dares to be different. Which is why the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is

We liked the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross from the get-go. How it disrupted the compact sport-utility vehicle scene. And has proven a bit of a game changer in Mitsubishi’s already compelling SUV line-up. Sleek and sporty, it’s always been a compelling value proposition. It has quickly established itself as a popular lifestyle choice in the SA market.

Bigger, cooler, with better tech too

Recently upgraded, the Eclipse Cross has become more attractive and more spacious. With better performance and tech. This one’s biggest carrots are its value for money and how it stands apart from the crowd. 140 mm longer than before, it carries a recently introduced high tech engine across. And also benefits Mitsubishi’s latest bold, sharp and sculpted design language.

Longer and sleeker, new dusk-sensing auto-levelling daytime-running projector LED headlamps and front fog lamps contribute to an more sophisticated look. A sculpted single rear glass is framed by Y-shaped 3D tail lamps under a rear spoiler with high-mounted stop lamp. It replaces the dodgy old split rear window. And visibility aft is far better too. Chic new 18-inch alloys (with a full-size spare), a front skid plate and roof rails add to that sophisticated look.

There are power folding wing mirrors, auto wipers and front and rear park distance control. Keyless entry grants easy access to a plush cabin with comfy heated power leather seats up front. Intuitive voice control infotainment has Android Auto, Apple Car Play Bluetooth, USB, an eight-inch screen a reversing camera and premium sound. That’s run by a leather-clad tilt and telescopic multifunction paddle shifter electronic power steering wheel with cruise controls too.

Eclipse Cross is dressed up to the nines

Add a heads-up display, to complement the regular dials as well as trip info from fuel consumption, climate and other trip and onboard info. There’s an auto-hold electric parking brake and power windows front and rear, fully automatic air-conditioning with a rear passenger vent. Anti-theft protected, it has central locking with auto door lock. Add 7 airbags, ISOFIX anchors, brake assist and force distribution anti-skid braking, and active stability with traction yaw and hill start assist.

Its increased length ensures plenty head and leg room for all in the bigger Eclipse Cross. Although some rear passengers could not get too comfy on the rear seats, especially in the central position. The latest Eclipse Cross also gets a larger 437 litre boot that can be upped to 1,074 litres by laying the 60/40 split rear seats flat and an aouto-opening bootlid. Although ours seemed to need a little manual assistance.

There’s great news under the bonnet too. Mitsubishi’s pleasant sounding 110kW 250 Nm DOHC 16-valve 1.5-litre direct petrol injected turbo four-pot. It has electronic valve timing control and sodium-filled exhaust valves feeding an integrated manifold. It drives the front wheels via an impressively eager 8-step CVT autobox. 2.3 seconds quicker than the old two-litre to 100 km/h in our tests, it reaches 160 Km/h a full five seconds sooner. That’s huge.

Car-like handling, better feel too

Eclipse Cross feels solid on the road, cruises well and handles like a car. This time with a little more feeling through that steering wheel to better respond to driver input than the old one did. Best of all is the Eclipse Cross’ frugal fuel consumption tied in to a generous 63 litre tank. We managed to easily better its 7.7 litre per 100 claims and the car still had over 300 km range left after just under 600 km of varied driving. Also helps one forget this R20 per litre petrol price.

Among that running around, was a trip to meet the car that’s thrown a significant cat into this neck of the SUV woods. I hopped out of Eclipse Cross literally straight into the new Corolla Cross. It made for a most interesting comparison.

Sure, that new contender undercuts this and everything else on the market. But there’s enough extra in this Mitsubishi to warrant the premium. And probably then some. Yes, the Toyota is a huge bargain, but in a few weeks there will be thousands of them buzzing about. And Eclipse Cross will still be quite rare. Which is a pretty cool carrot. For many an owner who does not feel the urge to just go with the flow.

How to Eclipse more common rivals

So yes, this latest Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross is still aggressively enough positioned. In spite of quite some interference currently being played around it. It has a host of added features and benefits, a three-year 100,00 warranty and five-year 90,000 km service plan. Its ready build on the foundation its predecessor has already laid as a capable, compelling and class leading compact SUV. That’s quite different to the rest. — Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T GLS
Engine: 110kW 250Nm 1998cc petrol I4
Drive: 8-step CVT FWD
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
VMax:            195km/h
Fuel:            7.7 l/100km
CO2:             174 g/km
Warranty/Service 3y 100K km/5y 90K km
LIST PRICE:      R499K
RATED:           8
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