Model: Eclipse Cross
Engine / Transmission: 1.5 litre turbo petrol – CVT automatic transmission
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 7.7L/100km combined
Price: From $43990 drive away
In a Nutshell: If you like this kind of thing, this is a good one.
It’s no secret that I’m not really into the small SUV thing. I just don’t see the point over a cheaper, lighter, faster, more efficient hatchback or sedan. Clearly, I’m in the minority. These things are huge sellers and, other than the micro car Mirage, the only type of family car that Mitsubishi sells! They’re not alone either: Nissan, Renault, Citroen (with the exception of the little C3) and Volvo (with the exception of the excellent S60/V60) also only have SUVs in their family car lineups.
Ultimately though, as far as small SUVs go, Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross is a good one. It is well built, well equipped and sports a cracking warranty (10 years, albeit with some conditions regarding servicing).
Mitsubishi has really thrown the kitchen sink at the little Eclipse Cross. In Exceed trim, you get autonomous braking (with pedestrian detection), effective and subtle lane departure warning, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, auto wipers and high beam (although, despite being LED, the headlights are on the weak side), active cruise control, head-up display, a super clear 360 degree camera and a plethora of airbags. Like I said, it’s a hell of a list.
Mitsubishi has also fitted the Eclipse Cross with what it calls ‘Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System’. Apparently, the system prevents you from accelerating in, say a carpark, if you hook up the wrong gear. Admittedly, I never saw the need for such a system given that I have never managed to select D when I was trying for R! Still, can’t hurt I guess.
The Eclipse Cross is a great looking little thing, especially in Exceed trim where you get 18” wheels, dual sunroofs and leather. The LED headlight treatment is especially successful.
Not So Impressive:
As good as the Eclipse Cross is, it has a few areas that fall well short of competition such as Volkswagen’s T-Roc or Mazda’s CX-30. One such area stares you in the eye, literally. The head-up display (a feature I rarely find worth the effort) is of the old style, complete with pop up perspex screen. It’s horrible and really detracts from what is a fairly accomplished cabin. Buttons are widely and not always logically spread, but I really appreciate the blend of old skool chunky buttons and clear infotainment touch screen. Luckily, one of those buttons tuck the head-up display deep, deep within the dashboard!
Further, while handling and bump compliance is very good, drivetrain performance is just adequate. The CVT gearbox is smooth and intuitive, but the shift paddles are pointless. Hanging onto gears in a CVT is about as much fun as root canal therapy.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Put aside a lot of time! This is a hugely competitive segment of the market. Everyone, it seems, has a finger in the small SUV pie. Only you will be able to decide your preferred flavour. For me, the Eclipse Cross is like Rum & Raisin – good, but not my favourite.