What is it?
You’ve probably seen the Eclipse-Cross on TV.
It’s being heavily advertised at the moment with some catchy backing music (overseas model shown).
The five-seat SUV sits between the ASX and larger Outlander, in terms of size.
But here’s the confusing part, because all three share the same 2670mm wheelbase — ASX and Eclipse the same platform too.
Eclipse (let’s just call it that) is about 10cm longer than ASX, but has a smaller boot, although that can vary with a rear seat that slides backwards and forwards to create additional space.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, because there’s speculation the newer, more sophisticated Eclipse could one day replace the ageing ASX.
The thing is Mitsubishi is loathe to get rid of the ASX because it continues to sell extremely well, and as such dropping it would be plain silly!
What’s it cost?
Four versions of the Eclipse are currently offered. ES from $29,990, LS at $31,990, Exceed at $36,000 and the AWD Exceed at $38,500 — all before on roads costs — plus a just released ES Sports Edition with extra kit for $30,990.
Metallic paint adds $590 to the price, as does pearlescent paint, with premium paint bumping it up $890 (we’re not sure what the last is all about).
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloys, smart key, 7.0-inch touchscreen, seven airbags, Forward Collision Warning (FCM), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
Forward Collision Mitigation, a form of autonomous braking, works up to a speed of 80km/h with stationary objects — or up to 200km/h if it’s moving.
Exceed adds dual-zone climate air, leather upholstery, power and heated front seats, LED headlights with auto levelling, double panoramic sunroof, Head Up Display (HUD), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Multi Around Monitor (MAM), and Ultrasonic mis-acceleration Mitigation System (UMS).
That clever last one reduces the chance and severity of hitting obstacles when the driver mistakenly presses the accelerator when stationary or at speeds of up to 10km/h.
Flagship Exceed comes with all of the above plus Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control S-AWC four-wheel drive system.
ASX prices in comparison range from $23,490 up to $30,990 for the Exceed.
The diesel and all-wheel drive have recently been canned putting some much needed distance between the two models.
What’s it go like?
This is our second drive of Eclipse and it feels better the second time around.
The 1.5-litre four cylinder, direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine delivers 110kW of power at 5500 revs and 250Nm of torque at a low 2000 revs.
It’s paired with a continuously variable style CVT auto that offers 8 steps or gears in manual mode that can be accessed via large gear change paddles.
Throttle response varies greatly, depending on the number of revs showing, at times smooth and at others unexpectedly sharp — it’s a real lottery.
The ride is on the firm, perhaps sporty side and it is reasonably quiet inside.
Push harder and the CVT does what CVTs do, slurring rather than changing gears, an effect some people dislike.
Throw it into some corners and it tends to dance on its suspension from one front wheel to the other.
Just like the throttle the brakes can be abrupt too.
On a more positive note, the pop up style head up display is handy for monitoring speed.
We were also pleased to see digital radio, auto high beam and adaptive cruise control is part of the deal — but the lack of satnav is frankly a bummer.
With the arrival of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, some car makers have taken the opportunity to ditch navigation and save some dough — but it’s not the same and devalues their product.
And, by the way, we couldn’t find the tone controls for the audio system.
The car is defined by it fastback styling and two-tier rear window.
They look great but restrict rear vision, with large rear corner pillars that make over the shoulder vision difficult.
Rear legroom is excellent and stadium seating puts rear passengers a head taller than those in the front, but the boot is on the small side.
The silly track pad that is used to control the trip computer is a pain in the butt too and its location encourages you to take your eyes off the road.
We can’t with any certainty what kind of fuel consumption the car returns.
No matter how many times we tried, the trip computer kept resetting itself, despite a setting that explicitly prevents this from happening as seen in our photo.
For what it’s worth the official claim is 7.3L/100km and we were sitting on 6.7L on our return.
What we like?
- Smart styling
- Quiet and comfy
- Nice big exterior mirrors
- Front and rear park sensors
- Sharp performance, but not linear
- Generous rear legroom (rear seat slides backwards and forwards)
- Head up display
What we don’t like?
- No satnav
- Poor rear vision
- Abrupt braking
- Trip computer keeps resetting
- Lacks storage spaces
- No rear air outlets
- Rear seats don’t lie flat when folded
- Silly track pad
The bottom line?
Iron out the bugs and the Eclipse-Cross will be a good thing. At this stage however it’s a little rough around the edges.
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Mitsubishi Eclipse-Cross LS 2WD, priced from $31,990