For now, although, let’s put apart what it is referred to as. Nicely, past the very fact it is comically lengthy to say and troublesome to sort (I began calling it the Eagle Talon Cross for these causes). As a result of actually, the identify straps an entire load of luggage to a principally clear-slate vehicle that in idea is definitely a smart transfer by a model making an attempt to climb again to relevance. In size, it straddles the road between B- and C-phase compact SUVs. In form and elegance, it is set aside from the extra utilitarian entries of each. Beneath the hood, it offers torque-wealthy turbocharged grunt in distinction to meek naturally aspirated rivals. The ample floor clearance and standard all-wheel drive (on most trims) take a web page from the Subaru playbook that is been shifting the chains so nicely.
As we found once we in contrast its specs to these of vaguely comparable SUVs, the Eclipse Cross is way extra intriguing and probably aggressive than initially thought. Maybe it is unfair to the car itself, however apart from all that baggage hooked up to its identify, it is also saddled with the expectations of current Mitsubishi merchandise which were uncompetitive, uninteresting or simply plain dangerous. (The i-Miev is the worst and most embarrassing car I’ve ever pushed, and I’ve pushed a Yugo.)
Briefly, the Eclipse Cross warrants a clear-slate appraisal. Positive, it shares its wheelbase with Mitsubishi’s two Outlander SUVs and positively different elements as nicely, however in look, contact and driving really feel, the Eclipse Cross is profoundly totally different.
That is instantly apparent within the cabin that is much more modern in look. When you think it seems to be a bit just like the Lexus NX interior, you definitely would not be alone, proper right down to its touchpad tech interface (extra on that later). Supplies high quality can also be robust, and never simply compared to its model mates, however to the compact SUV phase as an entire. Sprint and door trim, metallic-look accents, the out there leather-based upholstery and the varied switchgear are usually a step above what you may discover within the subcompact SUV phase that in size and price sits slightly below the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (ugh, it is the MEC from right here on out).
The engine can also be distinctive to the MEC: a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 152 horsepower. That is a bit greater than most of these subcompacts, however crucially, its 184 pound-ft of torque blows them out of the tepid water by a minimum of forty lb-ft. This results in acceleration that feels distinctly gutsier round city than its sluggish rivals. Its comparable horsepower and heftier curb weight signifies that final zero-60-mph acceleration ought to nonetheless be unremarkably within the 9-second range, however the round-city notion and freeway passing functionality offered by that additional grunt does make a distinction.
So too do the shift paddles completed in actual metallic and mounted Ferrari-fashion to the steering column moderately than the wheel — a bittersweet relic of the Evo MR. Utilizing them locks the standard CVT right into a collection of eight fastened ratios, permitting you to maintain the engine inside its most energetic energy band. Throttle response is pleasingly sharp. A CVT is definitely not anybody’s very best efficiency transmission, however this one at the least has extra to work with with regard to its personal programming and the hooked up torque-wealthy turbocharged engine. There is not the bogging and droning related to the Subaru Crosstrek or the miserable Outlander Sport.
Hooked up to this powertrain in all however the base ES trim is Mitsubishi’s Tremendous All-Wheel Management (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system. It shunts energy entrance and rear as wanted, then controls torque left and proper by individually pinching the brakes for improved cornering efficiency. It isn’t unusual within the business as an entire, however there’s extra happening than the standard SUV at this price range.
Certainly, the MEC stayed properly in management and felt completely comfortable tackling our mountain street test route within the rain. It is definitely extra involving and at residence on such roads than the Crosstrek, in addition to the Jeep Renegade and Compass, Nissan Rogue Sport and the Honda CR-V. Admittedly, a low bar within the enjoyable-to-drive division, however it’s cleared however. There’s nonetheless fairly a little bit of physique roll and even when it is exact sufficient, the steering is just too mild in effort and a bit indifferent. Turning the EPS dial a smidge towards “Evo” would make a world of distinction and would nonetheless be completely applicable for navigating parking tons.
To not point out the remainder of the car, which is suitably refined, snug and quiet. The suspension sops up potholes properly and maintains its composure. Cabin noise can also be properly quelled for this price phase. The eight-approach energy driver seat can also be notably cozy, with a supportively comfortable seat again and a backside you sink into.
Again seat area is equally interesting. With a wheelbase that surpasses a Honda CR-V, it has an ample quantity of legroom and a tall seat backside that assures good beneath thigh help. Headroom can also be adequate, even underneath the panoramic glass roof, however getting in may be tough with that sloping roofline. I repeatedly hit my shoulder towards the aspect of the car when stepping into the again. It is odd.
That roofline additionally does not do the cargo area any favors, decreasing its general peak and limiting what you possibly can carry again there. The optionally available Rockford Fosgate sound system and its subwoofer additionally scale back cargo area width. Size could be radically elevated by sliding the again seat far ahead (a reasonably distinctive feature for the phase), which moreover opens up a niche between the seatback and cargo flooring for additional storage. It’s kind of exhausting to entry, however hey, it exists.
Storage up entrance consists of a sometimes-sized beneath-armrest bin and cupholders, plus a considerably smallish smartphone bin with two adjoining USB ports. Frankly, Mitsubishi did a a lot better job packaging the middle console than the corporate it so clearly referenced within the general design: Lexus. That brings us to Mitsubishi’s new, snappily named 7.zero” Smartphone Hyperlink Skinny-Show Audio System with touchpad controller.
Just like the extensively panned Lexus Distant Contact system, it features a console-mounted touchpad just like the one in your laptop computer that controls a touch-prime show. Nevertheless, Mitsubishi’s tackle the identical basic idea requires much less dexterity to function and attracts much less consideration away from the street. First, the menu construction is damaged into rows and columns, decreasing actions to left and proper, or up and down. It is subsequently simpler and faster to get what you want.
One other key distinction is that the accompanying show can also be a touchscreen. Should you do not need to use the touchpad, simply lean ahead and faucet away. Plus, in contrast to Mazda’s knob-and-touchscreen system, you’ll be able to truly use the latter whereas shifting within the MEC. With both enter format, you need to use standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, features unavailable on any Lexus. The touchpad sensitivity differed between the Mitsubishi and Apple menus, however usually, that was one of many few complaints with the system. Oh, and the contact-solely quantity management situated three miles away on the passenger aspect. That is horrible.
The SEL trim’s standard head-up show is extra curious. Just like the Mazda three’s, it makes use of a transparent piece of plastic that rises up from the instrument hood. The angle of that “display” might be modified within the MEC, nevertheless, and you can also make it disappear utterly beneath just a little door do you have to want. One has to marvel, nevertheless, how this degree of complexity is best (or cheaper) than simply reflecting the identical information onto the windshield.
If there’s one clear area of concern with the MEC, it is fuel financial system. Estimated at an oddly equal 25 mpg metropolis, 26 mpg freeway and 25 mpg mixed for many trim ranges, it is 2 to four mpg worse than naturally aspirated rivals just like the Crosstrek and Rogue Sport. It’s kind of higher than a Kia Sportage, however small-displacement turbo engines are likely to worsen than their EPA estimates. Our test car was displaying 21 mpg after one hundred-plus miles and in-car meters not often promote their automobiles brief.
But, there’s truly, and fairly surprisingly, sufficient that is distinctive and fascinating concerning the 2018 MEC at a aggressive price that begins at $24,290 and tops out at our test car’s absolutely loaded $32,310. Regardless of its foibles, it proves to be simply as intriguing an alternative choice to subcompact and compact SUVs as our unique spec comparability indicated. Is it in any approach like several earlier Mitsubishi Eclipse? Nicely, in addition to being equally exhausting to sort, no.
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