Mitsubishi has struggled in recent years to stay competitive with the more advanced and generally better options from other automakers, the Eclipse Cross is a step in the right direction.
I’ve driven several Mitsubishi vehicles in the last few years, and they’ve not been very good. I drove the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the Lancer, and spent some time in the larger Outlander, too. All of them were decent, but not great. They were outpaced by their competition and didn’t offer what I’d want out of a new vehicle.
The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is the company’s first major attempt at turning things around. It’s meant to reinvigorate the automaker by bringing back the Eclipse name in a popular segment. It will be interesting to see if this strategy pays off for the company.
Not The Sporty Crossover Mitsubishi Said It Was
The Eclipse name comes from the popular sporty coupe, and Mitsubishi wants to cash in on that name, but by bringing it to a compact crossover. However, the company writes a check that its vehicle simply can’t cash. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is not a sporty vehicle.
The fault is not the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s a reasonably peppy engine and makes 152 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It does around town driving with ease and even has enough spunk to make highway driving comfortable. It’s not a powerhouse, though, and you’ll be outpaced by other vehicles on the road.
The engine is mated to a stepped CVT, which means you can flip the shifter into manual mode and row through the gear ratios yourself if you want. It’s not a bad transmission as CVTs go, but it does have a tendency to make the engine drone on if you’re heavy with your right foot.
So, the engine and transmission are really okay. Not wildly sporty, but generally pretty good. Where the Eclipse Cross really fails the sporty test is in terms of body roll. The vehicle leans a lot in the corners and the handling doesn’t inspire much confidence.
Still a Seriously Competent Competitor
What I find interesting is if the Eclipse Cross was not named after a sporty coupe, then I wouldn’t have minded as much about its lackluster performance. Because it had the Eclipse name associated with it, I wanted it to be sporty. It’s not.
With that said, that’s not what this vehicle is about. It’s about getting people around comfortably and efficiently, and the Eclipse Cross does that well. It has a smooth ride, enough power, and a high seating height allowing you to see the road well.
It’s a good crossover vehicle, but it’s not sporty. If you manage your expectations, you’ll be pleased with the Eclipse Crosses performance.
Good But Not Amazing Inside or Out
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is one of the more unique looking crossovers on the road. The exterior—especially the rear of the car—makes it stand out from the competition. I’ve never had an issue with Mitsubishi’s styling of its vehicles. They look good, and the Eclipse Cross is no exception.
The interior is a lot blander than the exterior. I found it pretty boring, but it works. Everything is functional.
There were some ergonomic issues with the infotainment system, namely the use of touch-based functions and the fact that the volume buttons always seemed out of place.
The touchpad controller also isn’t very good, but it’s better than other touchpad systems on the market due to its pure simplicity. It’s a swipe right, swipe left, and tap or click scenario, and it works well enough.
The seats, too, were good but not excellent. They offered decent support and bolstering, but on a long drive, you’re going to wish for more lower back support. The cargo space is okay. It’s a good usable space, but other crossovers will offer more room.
A Step Forward, But Still Lots of Work To Do
The bottom line is that the Eclipse Cross is the best crossover that Mitsubishi has produced yet. It’s a competent vehicle in every way, but it doesn’t stand out from the competition from Ford, Subaru, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, or General Motors.
It’s a notable step in the right direction for the brand, but it’s not revolutionary, and because of this, it won’t revolutionize the brand. Mitsubishi still has work to do to woo prospective buyers. The Eclipse Cross will draw in some people, but others will be pulled in by more sleek technology and better driving dynamics of the competitors.
Also, the Eclipse Cross’s price is comparable to or more than the competition, which means it doesn’t win on price. However, you do get a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year, 60,000-mile basic warranty, so that’s a plus some other models don’t have.