Eclipse Cross an odd crossover entry
The Compact crossover segment seems to grow by the day with many major automotive brands fielding a competitor in one of the most popular vehicle segments on the planet at the moment. Last year Mitsubishi introduced the Eclipse Cross, and no, there is nothing sporty about it, despite it wearing the famous Eclipse badge.
Three model range
Aside from the misleading badge, we found the Eclipse to be an agreeable product, but certainly not segment-leading. The range consists of three derivatives, two two-wheel drive versions, one with a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine and the other fitted with a new 1.5-litre turbocharged motor. The third variant features the same naturally aspirated engine but benefits from all-wheel drive.
The styling likely contributed to the Eclipse now being one of the brand’s best-selling vehicles locally. While certainly opinion splitting, I’m certain that nobody would accuse it of being bland. We did find the rear lighting bar that split the rear window a hindrance in terms of rear visibility, something remedied by the reverse camera during parking scenarios, but still irksome when on-the-go.
Powering our Eclipse Cross test car is the aforementioned 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 110kW and 250 Nm of torque. The engine in combination with the CVT gearbox is a massive improvement, giving the Eclipse Cross far more agreeable driving manners.
We managed a respectable 8.8 L/100km fuel return during our tenure while the improved acceleration of this turbocharged motor versus the naturally aspirated offering is very noticeable. The CVT gearbox does tend to produce its characteristic drone when pushing on, meaning that the driver must learn to modulate the throttle pedal to ensure near-silent progress.
It’s in the equipment department where the Eclipse comes good, with standard items such as 18-inch wheels, roof rails, automatic wipers/windshield/mirrors, a head-up display, heated/ventilated leather seats, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, and a seven-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to name but a few. While not ground-breaking, the design of the interior is good enough while the general fit and finish appear to be acceptable for this segment.
The price of our test car at the time of writing was R469 995, making this a rather expensive product, despite the high level of standard equipment and the brand’s reputation for reliability. We cannot see the Eclipse Cross making for a more tempting ownership proposition over products such as the Suzuki Vitara 1.4T, Volkswagen’s T-Cross 1.5 TSI, and Toyota’s C-HR 1.2T.
Overall, the Eclipse Cross is not rewriting the crossover rule book, and there are many vehicles to choose from in this segment. The addition of the turbocharged engine has improved the quirky Eclipse Cross package For those looking for a left-field proposition that is likely to last as long as you need it to, the Eclipse Cross is worth a test drive.