Eclipse Cross is most compelling Mitsubishi design in years
Bolstered by its three-year-old partnership with Nissan, Mitsubishi introduced an exciting new model for 2019 with a venerable name — the Eclipse Cross. A far cry from the original, sporty Eclipse coupe, the Eclipse Cross is a compact crossover SUV with sharp, daring lines and high-quality interior materials. We judged it the most compelling Mitsubishi model since the Outlander arrived 14 years ago. It’s one of just a handful of models in the Mitsubishi stable: the Outlander, Outlander Sport, Mirage, Mirage G4 and Eclipse Cross.
Our first reaction to the Mercury Gray Metallic 2019 Eclipse Cross SE was positive on three levels. First, it struck us as highly precise, thanks to its quick steering and throttle response. It also marked a departure from Mitsubishi’s tendency to go cheap on things like molded plastic components and fabrics. Finally, its styling made a strong and generally favorable impression — even the split rear window, evocative of the mercifully forgotten Pontiac Aztek. People who like to drive something with a different nameplate and a different look won’t go far wrong with the Eclipse Cross.
Mitsubishi offers the Eclipse Cross with front-wheel drive or S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control). All versions come with a 1.5-liter, 152-horsepower turbocharged inline Four, with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The base ES, with front-wheel drive, starts at $23,595. Our all-wheel-drive SE, one trim level removed from the top-of-the-line SEL, was sticker-priced at $28,018.
All Eclipse Cross trims are well-equipped; the SE, especially so. Its standard features included heated front seats, satellite radio, audio controls on the steering wheel, rear-view camera, S-AWC mode selector, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, power windows and door locks, blind-spot warning with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, and 18-inch wheels.
Taking a page from the Hyundai/Kia playbook, Mitsubishi provides a strong warranty package: 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain protection, five-year, 60,000-mile limited new-car warranty, seven-year, 100,000-mile rust-through protection, and five-year, unlimited-mileage roadside assistance.
Reviews of the Eclipse Cross’s handling have been mixed. We felt the car’s handling was, well, precise. There was some body roll, but that’s to be expected in an SUV with 8.5 inches of ground clearance, and it wasn’t disconcerting. The car felt tight and secure. Wind noise was minimal, and overall, the car was quite quiet at cruising speeds. Fuel-economy projections were different from the norm — 25 mpg city, 26 highway.
2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SE S-AWC
Engine: 1.5-liter inline turbocharged Four, 152 horsepower, 184 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: continuously variable automatic
Ground clearance: 8.5 in.
Weight: 3,472 lb.
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 18-in. two-tone alloy
Tires: 225/55R20 all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 22.6 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 48.9 cu. ft.
Towing capacity: 1,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 15.8 gal.
Fuel economy: 25 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel type: regular unleaded gasoline
Most interior controls were intuitive. An exception was the infotainment system, with touch-screen, steering-wheel and center-console touchpad controls. Redundancy did not breed simplicity, however. The last few cars we’ve tested had better audio controls, in our judgment.
With the Eclipse Cross, Mitsubishi joins a long list of compact SUVs from South Korea, the United States, Europe and Japan. The Eclipse Cross is competitive, as evidenced by data showing sales this year already have exceeded last year’s total.
The Eclipse Cross has been rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety.
Steven Macoy (email@example.com) is a longtime car enthusiast and full-time editor who lives in Bethel.