Eclipsing All Expectations

A Victory & Reseda review of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

By now, you have heard a lot about the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. You heard that it is a great entry into the small SUV segment. You heard that its turbocharged performance is first-rate while returning solid fuel economy. You heard that it has a design that might suit everyone.

There is a lot more that you have heard about the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. However, I will slide them over to the side.

If you take any vehicle for its merits, then you will find a really good vehicle. How many times have we been told this?

Let’s take a fresh approach to a vehicle that should be considered when you’re shopping for a small SUV/crossover. Let me take you through the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

Instead of looking at the front end, let’s swing to the rear. Sure, that design may remind you of some other vehicles, such as a Honda CRX, a Toyota Prius, a Honda Clarity, or a Honda Insight. I will argue that it offers a different level of functionality that is extremely useful. The fastback-like rear glass is split by a combination spoiler and taillight unit. The taillights swing upward along the edges of the liftgate, while retaining the main lighting units on the "flat side" of the rear end. There is another spoiler on top of the liftgate creating a coupe-like profile.

The rest of the Eclipse Cross is sharp with angles and edges framing this tall crossover. The glass silhouette covers both wide opening doors with a not-so-wide C-Pillar. It finishes up with a variation of Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” front end signature.

On my SEL tester, the 18-inch alloy wheels finish off the overall look. That, along with the chromed grille and accents all around. If you ask me, this is one of the most compelling designs in Mitsubishi’s recent history.

Just like its exterior, the interior broke plenty of molds in Mitsubishi design. It is driver-focused, with its two-dial instrument binnacle and color information screen in-between them. The controls are within reach and easy to use, including the ones on the steering wheel. I always appreciate a thick steering wheel for control in the turns.

Infotainment-wise, the SEL model has a 7-inch touchscreen attached to the top of the dashboard. It can be controlled a few ways, including the track pad on the center console. I found that I can touch the screen easily and set up my presents and controls so I can use the steering wheel switches. It is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible expanding your playback choices. Sound comes from 710-watt Rockford Fosgate 10-speaker system.

You can keep tabs on your Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL through the Mitsubishi Connect app. Need to know if your vehicle is OK, click on the Vehicle Status menu. Need to unlock the doors, you can do that through the app. It can also help with getting roadside assistance or informing Mitsubishi of a collision or potential theft.

Where the Eclipse Cross will win you over is in comfort. The front seats are big and have plenty of adjustments for a solid driving position. Black leather with copper stitching gives the Eclipse Cross SEL an upmarket touch. Rear seat room is very good with lots of leg room and plenty of head room. Not to mention having a set of wide opening doors for better entry and exit.

There’s plenty of room for activities, starting with a 22.6 cubic feet cargo hold with the rear seats up. Fold the rear seats down, and you have up to 48.9 cubic feet of major curbside pickup shopping to load.

Perhaps the best engine in Mitsubishi’s current arsenal is its exclusive 158-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It is not the horsepower, but, rather, the low end it has. All told, 184 pound-feet of torque at the touch of your right foot. Passing power is really good, as is highway cruising. Mated to this engine is a continuously variable transmission that is responsive and matches with the revs of this engine.

My tester had the Super All-Wheel Control system – Mitsubishi’s better all-wheel-drive system. I had a similar Eclipse Cross a year-and-a-half ago and it did extremely well in every condition it dealt with. If you’re considering an Eclipse Cross, get it with S-AWC – full stop.

As for fuel economy, the Environmental Protection Agency states that this particular Eclipse Cross should get 25 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway.

What stood out for me on the Eclipse Cross is the suspension system. Most SUVs in its class are designed at softer settings for ride quality and maneuverability. The Eclipse Cross has a solid and balanced set-up that is designed to absorb rougher streets and surfaces, while providing exceptional cornering and stability. It is safe to say that no other small SUV can exhibit these qualities while providing good ground clearance for getting off the tarmac.

The braking system offers a solid pedal feel and stopping power. It does well provide great stops in normal and panic situations. I like how the sharper steering system gave me a turning radius, as well as a solid on-center feel.

You want some consumer advice? When you choose the Eclipse Cross SEL, select one with the Touring Package. You get a suite of some of the best driver assistance features in its class. These features include Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Automatic High Beams.

The Eclipse Cross is offered in four trim levels, starting at $22,995 for a 2020 SE model with front-wheel-drive. If you live in Minnesota, like me, you definitely want to add the S-AWC system for $1,600 more. It is worth it. As for a 2020 SEL S-AWC model with the Touring Package similar to my tester, it will come with a sticker price of $32,905.

My actual tester was a 2019 SEL S-AWC with a slightly lower sticker price of $32,640. If you happen to find a brand new 2019 model year Eclipse Cross, expect to save a lot of money when you buy or lease one. The warranty is the same, as will all of the services accorded to new vehicle owners – including using the Mitsubishi Connect app.

If you have never considered a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, what’s stopping you? These wonderful small SUVs offer a standout design, high equipment content, great technology, and class-beating driving manners. Even better, an Eclipse Cross will bring you a smile to your face, while eclipsing all of your expectations.

DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by White Bear Mitsubishi, White Bear Lake, MN

All photos by Randy Stern

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