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Eclipse Cross lights up Mitsubishi’s SUV range

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a trendy-looking, family-friendly SUV designed to shine in a fiercely-competitive market. Picture: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a trendy-looking, family-friendly SUV designed to shine in a fiercely-competitive market. Picture: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi

Known for its heavy-duty 4x4 hardware, Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross heralds a bold new era for the brand. Motoring editor Andy Russell finds out if it is as good as it looks.

Cockpit-like driving position with a logical layout to the fascia. Picture: MitsubishiCockpit-like driving position with a logical layout to the fascia. Picture: Mitsubishi

Mention Mitsubishi to anyone interested in motoring and they’ll almost certainly think of Shogun 4x4 SUV and L200 pick-up, long-serving leaders and heavy-duty hardware in their respective fields.

But, for all its experience, it has not made much impact in the trendy, fast-growing mid-size SUV and crossover sector but hopes that will change with its new Eclipse Cross, first of a new generation of cars for the Japanese brand.

Looks and image

It’s actually more of a new dawn for Mitsubishi than an eclipse, heralding a fresh design direction for the brand, emphasised by the bold, edgier SUV coupe-like exterior.

Eclipse Cross family SUV takes Mitsubishi in a new direction for its car design. Picture: MitsubishiEclipse Cross family SUV takes Mitsubishi in a new direction for its car design. Picture: Mitsubishi

It stand out in an increasingly-crowded sector with an imposing face having serious road presence and, by Mitsubishi standards, a radical rear end but that full-width rear light bar, which not only splits the rear screen but also opinion, makes it a bit of a Marmite car.

Under the bonnet

It’s petrol to the fore with the Eclipse Cross in the form of a new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine, although there will be an enhanced 2.2-litre turbo diesel.

Developing a potent 163hp and, more importantly for everyday driving, a healthy 250Nm of torque between 1,800 and 4,500rpm, the petrol engine is available with six-speed manual and CVT automatic gearboxes, the latter also offered with four-wheel drive.

Rear seats slide gthrough 200mm to vary legroom and boot space. Picture: MitsubishiRear seats slide gthrough 200mm to vary legroom and boot space. Picture: Mitsubishi

Despite the automatic being a continuously-variable transmission, it has an eight-speed sport mode, controlled via steering wheel paddle shifters, which makes acceleration more sprightly and avoids that typical CVT engine roar when you put your foot down.

Fuel economy was a little disappointing at 35 to 37mpg overall in the real world but eco mode helps in urban driving.

How it drives

The low-speed ride is quite irritable on pockmarked roads, and there’s some bump-thump from the suspension on particularly rough surfaces, a shame given it will probably spend much time in urban driving. Travelling faster, it’s more composed and supple, cruising comfortably, but there’s noticeable tyre noise.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross boot expands from 341 to 448 litres with rear seats slid forward. Picture: MitsubishiMitsubishi Eclipse Cross boot expands from 341 to 448 litres with rear seats slid forward. Picture: Mitsubishi

If you’re after an SUV dynamic, rather than dull, to drive the Eclipse Cross fits the bill. It’s agile through corners with the intelligent front-biased four-wheel drive, with auto, snow and gravel modes, shifting traction when needed and, while the steering lacks feel, it’s sharp enough to give sense of fun.

Space and comfort

Rear seats split 60/40 and slide 200mm to tailor legroom and boot space to meet your needs, just as well as the boot is quite small at a supermini-like 341 litres with them right back, but it creates acres of legroom for adults, rising to a useful 448 litres with them slid forward, but then legroom is really only suitable for children.

The sloping tailgate eats into load volume but there’s stowage beneath the boot floor to hide a small bag or store knick-knacks.

Rear end is dominated by full-width light bar and split back screen. Picture: MitsubishiRear end is dominated by full-width light bar and split back screen. Picture: Mitsubishi

At the wheel

The cockpit-like driving position has big clear instruments, a high-level infotainment screen and a logical layout.

Gloss back trim looks classy, unlike the silver plastic embellishments, and orange stitching shows attention to detail. Plastics are soft at the main contact points, the cabin feels well screwed together and storage space is plentiful.

Unfortunately, only the top half of that split back screen is cleared by the wiper which hinders rear visibility in wet, mucky conditions but big door mirrors and the test car’s reversing camera helps.

Final say

The Eclipse Cross gives Mitsubishi a modern, mid-size SUV that will appeal to a younger market. It looks good, is pleasant to drive, family-friendly and well equipped and, for most people, that ticks the right boxes.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4 Automatic 4WD, £28,165 (range from £21,290)

Engine: 1,499cc, 163hp, four-cylinder turbo petrol with CVT automatic gearbox

Performance: 0-62mph 9.8 seconds; top speed 124mph

MPG: 40.4 combined

CO2 emissions: 159g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 32pc

Insurance group: 20 (out of 50)

Warranty: Five years or 62,500 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,405mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,805mm; H 1,685mm

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