What is it?
Eclipse Cross is possibly the first of the current crop of Mitsus to showcase the “Shield” front design.
It’s also the only vehicle in the Mitsubishi family with a body that really fits the sharp-edged, angular nose.
Our test vehicle was the top of the range Eclipse Cross Exceed.
In common with the rest of the range it’s powered by a peppy 1.5-litre turbo four, with a drive and sparkle sapping Constant Variable Transmission (CVT).
There is also Super-All Wheel Control with a choice of snow or rock drive modes.
What’s it cost?
Exceed comes in a two- or all-wheel drive configuration, with the AWD as tested available at $42,990 driveaway.
For 2020’s Model Year, Exceed has received a light refresh, with headlining that is now all black and illumination in the doors.
The cabin features a full glass roof with tilt and slide for the front, plus Head Up Display that becomes very intuitive to use.
Seats are powered for the driver only, and the leather covered pews are heated only.
It would be FANTASTIC if manufacturers realised Australia has a bigger need for vented, not heating seats in our market.
The tail gate is a manual unit, not powered in keeping with most top of the range vehicles.
The touchscreen is a standard 7.0 inches, but the updated version isn’t as easy to read as before.
Consulting the instruction manual is a rarity, but it was necessary to find out simply how to store a station.
Satnav isn’t standard, instead relying on the apps screen to connect to a smart device.
Otherwise the cabin is as standard as it can be for Mitsubishi.
Aircon controls are rocker dials for the temperature, info for fan speed and airflow are the standard deep red LED.
Piano black highlights the centre console with an alloy plastic look to add a splash of brightness.
From head on, Eclipse looks almost normal.
Move 90 degrees and the truncated rear and oddly shaped roofline catch the eye.
For some it’s not necessarily a good look.
Along with its strange name, Eclipse Cross stands out for its strange shape.
All of the others in the range look . . . well . . . normal.
That bluff bum hides a 374-litre cargo space, which means it’s borderline adequate for a family of four.
Fold the second row seats flat and it grows to 1136 litres which is still not a huge amount.
Our test car was clad in metallic Lightning Blue, a $690 cost option.
Although it’s a compact size at 4405mm and lacks a truly useful boot, it’s well packaged for the front and rear seats thanks to a 2640mm wheelbase, with 1003mm of head room for the front and 933mm for the rear.
Leg room is 1039mm for the driver and front passenger, and a not quite so ample 897mm for the second row.
There are no problems with the safety list, with seven airbags including driver’s kneebag.
Forward Collision Mitigation and Adaptive Cruise Control are standard, along with Lane Departure and Blind Spot Warning plus Lane Change Assist.
Rear and front safety is backed by Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation System.
Supplementary systems include Adjustable speed limiter, Automatic High Beam, Emergency Stop Signal function, plus Emergency Brake Assist system and Hill Start Assist.
What’s it go like?
Surprisingly, the CVT isn’t the worst of its type to be found.
It comes across as a tighter and more finely tuned unit compared to others.
There is a lesser sense of slippage and a feeling of crisper, more responsive changes.
This applies to the manual changes as well.
For a smallish petrol engine there’s adequate power and torque, with 110kW and 250Nm, the latter from 2000 to 3500rpm.
However, 250Nm to move a starting weight of over 1550kg before adding fuel and humans — puts a dent in performance.
The CVT still requires a gentle foot on the go pedal.
Once it “grips” it’s actually quite an efficient thing, with a fairly well sorted way of grabbing the torque and spreading it to the appropriate ends.
This provides a feeling of better acceleration, of rapidity when needed.
Using the manual change to use the eight pre-programed steps or gears adds a further dimension to the overall drive experience.
The S-AWC was left untouched during our drive.
In Auto it splits torque to the rear on demand, or in one of the drive modes simply adjusts the engine and torque split to suit the Toyo 225/55/18 rubber.
They hang on well enough and on rougher tarmac are reasonably quiet.
The cabin is also quite well isolated from rough tarmac, with road noise kept to a minimum.
Handling was neutral, with only a hints of understeer at suburban velocities.
Braking needed more feedback and a slightly shorter pedal to instil more confidence.
Fuel consumption topped out at 6.7L/100km and that bettered the combined figure Mitsubishi quotes of 7.7L/100km.
What we like?
- Packaging is good for a compact SUV
- Not expensive in real terms
- CVT better than some
What we don’t like?
- Ungainly profile
- Misses out on some top level items such as powered tailgate
- 1.5-litre lacks the verve a 2.0-litre turbo could offer
The bottom line?
Although slotting into a space just above the ASX, it’s not quite as good a car.
This is backed up by the stronger presence the facelifted ASX has on the road.
It’s a bit like the Holden Acadia, in that it doesn’t do anything that bad, but it’s not a stand out either.
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Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed, priced from $42,990 driveaway