What is it?
What you’re looking at is almost certainly the final car to be designed, engineered and assembled in-house by Mitsubishi. But before you panic, know that the company behind a dozen Dakar victories is not folding. Rather, it was recently subsumed into the Renault-Nissan alliance, so we can expect platform and powertrain sharing galore from now on.
The Eclipse Cross is significant for another reason. Slotting into the void between the capable but forgettable ASX crossover and the full-sized Outlander, whose architecture it shares, it finally plugs a potentially very lucrative mid-sized-crossover hole in its maker’s line-up. Prices start aggressively low, at a shade over £21,000 (rising to just under £28,000) and that’s important because a four-and-a-half-metre footprint and moderately raised ride height mean this car’s rivals are numerous.
Part of Mitsubishi’s attack plan has been to deploy the sharply detailed design elements of its motorshow concepts. The chromed tusks of the front bumper are a bit chintzy but the Eclipse Cross is handsome in the metal, and when the designers say they wanted the car to seem as though it had been carved from a single block of aluminium, you’ll know what they meant. The rear glass is also split in the manner of a Toyota Prius, providing not only the opportunity for Mitsubishi to install a light bar across its width, but also good visibility.
Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox underpin the range, though most will opt for four-wheel drive with the automatic gearbox. Those four-wheel-drive models use Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control setup, which defaults to a significantly front-biased torque split but can go near enough to 50:50 if conditions demand it. Along with a new Shogun Sport due later this year, it reinforces Mitsubishi’s position as a specialist in more utilitarian offerings.
Inside there’s a dash-mounted touchscreen – compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – that can also be controlled with a Lexus-esque touchpad. It’s worth knowning that Mitsubishi doesn’t offer any form of satellite navigation, so you’ll be relying on those smartphone connections to use apps such as Google Maps.
These cars nevertheless come decently equipped, with the entry-level Eclipse Cross ‘2’ (we’ve no idea what happened to ‘1’) featuring a rear-view camera, automatic high beams, DAB radio, LED daytime running lights, climate control, privacy glass and colour-coded bits and pieces. Upgrading to ‘3’ costs around £1300 and adds 18in alloys, heated front seats, parking sensors and keyless entry, while ‘4’ asks an additional £2400 of you and brings leather trim, a panoramic roof, LED headlamps, and a sound system from American firm Rockford Fosgate. By this point the Eclipse Cross is nudging £28,000.