by Roger Biermann
The original Mitsubishi Eclipse was a compact sports car that ran for four generations between 1989 and 2011. Its namesake has now been resurrected as the Eclipse Cross, a compact crossover SUV meant to take on the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, and others in a competitive segment. Mitsubishi is trying to entice buyers with an array of tech features such as a head-up display, smartphone app to control certain functions, and of course Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. All five trim levels are powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine mated to a CVT gearbox. The engine produces 152 horsepower and 154 lb-ft of torque, powering the front wheels of the base ES trim while all other trims feature standard all-wheel drive. The price ranges from $24,590 for the ES up to $29,190 for the SEL trim.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was only introduced for the 2018 year model and as a result, there are only minor changes for the 2019 model. The option of roof rails has now been added for all the models in the range, and gloss-black window-switch controls have now been added to the LE models.
The Eclipse Cross has distinctive styling with a sporty rear wedge with an LED brake light strip running across the width of the car. LED daytime running lights and fog lights are standard for all models, while only the SEL gets LED headlights. The LE gets an exclusive black front grill and side-view mirrors while the SP and above get a large rear spoiler and front, rear and side extensions to the bodywork. The ES model comes with 16-inch alloys, while the LE, SP, SE, and SEL models come with 18-inch alloy rims in varying finishes.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has an overall length of 173.4 inches on a wheelbase of 105.1 inches. Ground clearance is eight-inches on the front-wheel-drive model and 8.5 inches on the all-wheel-drive models, while height is 66.5 inches and the width is 71.1-inches making the Eclipse Cross both taller and wider than the Hyundai Tucson. Curb weight of the ES model is the lowest of the trims at 3,307 lbs due to the front-wheel drive base configuration, while the heaviest is the SEL at 3,516 lbs.
The seven exterior colors available for the Eclipse Cross haven’t changed since its introduction in 2017 with five colors at no cost and two as optional extras. The colors that come at a cost of $595 are Pearl White and Diamond Red, the striking colors you’ll have seen in various promotional material, and are worth the money if you’re wishing to stand out. All the other colors are metallic in finish, with a palette comprising Alloy Silver, Mercury Grey, Bronze, Octane Blue, and Tarmac Black.
All the models in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross range have the same 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that pushes out 152 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque, and a simulated eight-speed CVT transmission. While the base model is available in front-wheel-drive, all the others in the range have all-wheel-drive. The all-wheel drive models tend to be the quickest due to their additional grip, taking 8.6 seconds to reach 60 mph, slower than rivals like the Mazda CX-5, but by no means the weakest of the pack.
The towing capacity of all the models in the range is 1,500 lbs. Compared to rivals like the Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V, and Mazda CX-5, which all have more powerful engines, the Eclipse Cross is sluggish and has a low top speed. However, the Eclipse Cross isn’t meant to be a performance vehicle and is ideally suited for city driving.
From the ES to the SEL, all Eclipse Cross models use the same turbocharged 1.5-liter engine developing 152 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque and mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The engine provides decent acceleration, with minimal lag on throttle inputs, and things get up to speed decently quick around town. On the other hand, driving on the freeway or overtaking swiftly can be difficult as the engine lacks top end grunt and runs out of puff at highway speeds.
The CVT automatic transmission is programmed to simulate eight gears in a conventional automatic, which makes the Eclipse Cross feel natural compared to the typical rubber-band nature of many CVT automatics. It particularly excels on take-off with its immediacy of response, but at higher speeds, the transmission whines as the CVT tries to find the most economical engine speed rather than the most comfortable one, resulting in a noisy drive at highway speeds.
The Eclipse Cross is definitely more comfortable in the city than the open road despite the addition of a sport mode to sharpen up throttle and steering responses. The suspension is soft, which translates to a smooth ride on most surfaces. However, the soft ride means that there’s a lot of body-roll around corners, especially at moderate to high speeds, which can be disconcerting for the driver. Smaller bumps do tend to permeate the cabin and can be uncomfortable especially when taking the Eclipse Cross on dirt roads. The same can be said of particularly pockmarked roads, where rapid surface changes aren’t absorbed efficiently, while larger bumps result in a somewhat bouncy ride quality
The steering, while light, provides little feedback and feels vague and non-committal. Given the bouncy ride and unpredictable steering, the Eclipse is far from engaging for the driver and feels a bit unpredictable. On the plus side, the brakes are adequate and consistent, but due to the soft suspension, heavy braking results in substantial nose-dive. Considering its price, there are far better handling options in this class such as the Mazda CX-5 or the Hyundai Tucson, which starts out at a lower price than the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
With all the models in the Eclipse Cross range using the same turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine, there isn’t much of a difference in fuel economy. Due to the CVT transmission, the Eclipse Cross gets decent fuel economy despite its underpowered engine. The most economical trim is the ES FWD, which gets 26/29/27 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, while the all-wheel drive derivatives are marginally less economical at 15/16/25 mpg on the same cycles.
The ES front-wheel drive also gets a larger fuel tank at 16.6 gallons, resulting in a driving range of 448 miles in mixed driving situations compared to the 395-miles that the all-wheel-drive models get with their smaller capacity 15.8-gallon tank.
Mitsubishi has upped its game with the interior of the Eclipse Cross. It has a modern look and solid build, while materials are generally soft to the touch and stylish, with faux chrome and leather trimming, as well as the option of leather seats. It also comes with a wide array of standard features like a seven-inch infotainment unit, remote keyless entry, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Generous seating space is a firm highlight, with comfortable seats and multi-way adjustment both front and rear, with the rear bench featuring reclining functionality and a 60/40 split. But it loses out on practicality, with style coming at the expense of poor cargo volumes compared to the best in the class.
The Eclipse Cross is a five-seater SUV available in either cloth or leather trims, with the option of heated seats on higher models. The front seats are six-way adjustable with the option of eight-way power functionality on higher trims. Space is generous with headroom of 39.5 inches and legroom of 40.9 inches, and while the front seats are comfortable, they don’t provide adequate lumbar support, which would help comfort on longer journeys. They offer a high seating position that provides good forward visibility, although rear visibility is limited due to the sloping roofline and narrow rear windscreen. The rear seats have nine reclining positions and are positioned high up to provide decent legroom of 35.3 inches. Taller occupants might feel uncomfortable, however, with the modest headroom of 37.3 inches, which is impeded by the sloping roofline.
The Eclipse Cross comes in four different interior colors and upholstery finish combinations, depending on the model. The ES and LE models are only available with black fabric upholstery, while the SE model is available in the premium black fabric and the premium gray fabric, both with silver stitching. The black leather with orange stitching is only available on the high-end SEL model. Other optional features on the SE and SEL models are leather-wrapped gear knob and steering wheel. The dash comes standard in black with metallic finish detailing and accent strips.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has a cargo volume of 22.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up, which is far behind the Mazda CX-5’s 30.9 cu ft and the Honda CR-V’s 39.2 cu ft. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split for additional space, and with the seats down it has 48.9 cu ft, still substantially behind the 59.6 cu ft of the Mazda and the massive 75.8 cu ft of the Honda. Limiting the maximum cargo volume, even though the rear seats fold, they don’t fold entirely flat, hindering the usability and practicality. Loading goods should be easy, though, as the cargo hold is wide and tall, although boxy items might be impeded by the angular roofline and angled rear seats when stowed.
Inside the main cabin, the Eclipse Cross also has a glove box, center console box, and center console tray. There also are cupholders in the center console and bottle holders on all the doors. There are storage pockets on the front doors, as well as behind both front seats. With so many storage compartments, it’s unlikely that there will ever be a shortage of space.
This is an area where the Eclipse Cross performs admirably, equipping a backup camera as standard for all the models, as well as power windows, steering wheel phone and audio controls, cruise control, and climate control. The standard features on higher trims vary, with the high-end SEL featuring a driver’s head-up display, heated front seats, push-button start, and eight-way power adjustable front seats. Optional extras that can be added are heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, as well as a heated steering wheel. The Eclipse Cross SE and SEL models also feature the Mitsubishi Connect Telematics System, which comes with a 24-month trial. This system allows the driver to monitor and control certain functions such as turning on headlights and heating remotely via mobile app.
Mitsubishi have put a lot of effort into the infotainment unit of the Eclipse Cross to keep up with its competitors, but one area where it’s disappointing is the lack of onboard navigation options, which can at least be mitigated by the use of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay on all but the base trim. The ES trim starts off with a seven-inch touch panel display featuring AM/FM radio, Bluetooth media streaming and hands-free, and USB inputs. The LE models and above change the screen for a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, Sirius XM satellite radio with a three-month subscription, HD radio, and AM/FM inputs. Four speakers are standard on the ES and LE models with the SE and SEL models having six speakers as standard. The SEL model also comes with the option of a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system.
Being a fairly new vehicle, there haven't been many complaints about the Eclipse Cross from existing owners. A recall was issued in 2018 for certain 2019 models over a programming issue resulting in prolonged braking by the collision avoidance system. In terms of warranties, Mitsubishi is a class leader with the basic warranty at ten-years/60,000-miles, the powertrain warranty at ten-years/100,000-miles, and the anti-corrosion warranty at seven-years/100,000-miles. Roadside assist is also offered as standard on all the models in the range. Only Hyundai and Kia are able to offer anything similar.
The 2019 Eclipse Cross is yet to complete a full evaluation by the IIHS or undergo any evaluation at all from the NHTSA. In the two tests that the IIHS did conduct, the Eclipse Cross received the best possible scores of Good.
As expected, the Eclipse Cross comes standard with ABS brakes with brake assist, as well as stability control and traction control. All models come with seven airbags including side curtain airbags, two front-seat-mounted side airbags, two advanced dual-stage front airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag. Blind spot warning is available on the SE and SEL models, with the multiview camera only available on the SEL model (a single-view reverse camera is standard on lesser trims). Other safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision mitigation are optional extras on the SEL model only.
The Eclipse Cross has some good features to make it stand out in an already crowded segment. The comfortable interior, great warranty, and budget-friendly price on lower trims make it an attractive proposition, but for every pro, there are a definite number of cons. The lack of navigation options, as well as it’s mediocre handling and performance bring it down, as does the lack of cargo volume compared to rivals.
Overall, the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine is nippy enough for short trips in city traffic, but it’s not ideally suited to highway travel and may suffer with a full complement of passengers aboard. The comfortable interior and decent technology features should keep most drivers happy, but the lack of rear headroom might not be to the liking of passengers. While this is a new vehicle on the market and is loaded with a decent amount of tech, it’s mostly accessible on the highest trim, which carries a price higher than many will be happy to pay.
There are far better options out there which have better track records than the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson can both match the ten-year /100,000-mile warranty while being more spacious and powerful. For ride and comfort, the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are much better options, and both offer better practicality, too.
The cheapest way to get behind the wheel of the Eclipse Cross is the FWD ES that carries a base MSRP of $23,595, with the AWD version going for $24,195. The price increases to $25,195 for the LE model, then $26,190 for the limited edition SP, while the penultimate trim line, the SE, carries a base MSRP of $26,695. The top of the range SEL starts at $28,195 before options. All model prices are subject to the addition of tax, registration, and licensing fees, as well as a destination fee of $1095.
The Eclipse Cross range comprises of five different trims, the ES, SP, LE, SE, and SEL. All come powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine connected to a CVT transmission.
The ES is the basic model, available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It gets foglights, LED running lights, 16-inch alloys, a seven-inch infotainment system, Bluetooth, cruise control, automatic climate control, keyless entry, and a rearview camera as standard features.
The LE is next in line and adds black side view mirrors, 18-inch black alloy wheels, gloss black window switch panels, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM satellite radio, dual USB ports, and a touchscreen infotainment unit.
After the LE is the limited edition SP, which adds exterior styling like a large rear spoiler, front, rear and side extensions, as well as a special edition badge.
The SE features a chrome upper grille, rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, push-button start, blind spot warning, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering, and Mitsubishi Connect telematics system.
The SEL tops the range and comes with a host of standard features including LED headlights, leather seats, soft-touch door trim insert, a multiview camera system, and a head-up display. The exclusive optional features are a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium sound system, panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.
|ES||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Front Wheel Drive, Four Wheel Drive||$23,059||$23,595|
|LE||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Four Wheel Drive||$24,356||$25,195|
|SP||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Four Wheel Drive||$25,319||$26,190|
|SE||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Four Wheel Drive||$25,807||$26,695|
|SEL||1.5-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||Four Wheel Drive||$27,257||$28,195|
The Eclipse cross offers a number of additional packages for fitment to various trims. All the packages available are for aesthetic or convenience purposes.
At $495, the Towing Package adds a tow hitch and trailer harness, and is available on all trims, while the $395 LED Enhancement Package adds more lighting to the tailgate, floor and door sills. For those that want to keep their vehicle clean, there's the $150 Cargo package and $195 All-Weather Package that adds mats to the cargo area and seating area, respectively. The $2,500 Touring package that’s exclusive to the SEL adds a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, lane departure warning, heated rear seats, and a Rockford Fosgate premium sound system.
In addition to the packages, there are also a few standalone options, most of which are visual accessories, such as a rear wing spoiler at $465, hood protector at $115, and roof rails at $595.
The pick of the bunch has to be the SE. It bests the LE and SP trims by adding blind spot warning, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and heated front seats at only $400 more than the limited edition SP trim. It shares most of the equipment found on the SEL but foregoes the LED headlights, head-up display and multi-camera system, which costs an almost $1,500 more on the SEL. While the SEL is well-equipped, that price puts it in contention with far more accomplished crossovers, so the SE is the one you really want.
The Mazda CX-5 is one of the best vehicles in its class because of its sporty ride and excellent steering. It’s one of the few vehicles in this class that is performance-focused and has a 2.5-liter engine developing 187 hp in the base model with the option of a 250 hp 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in higher models. In addition to the car-like sporty handling, the Mazda CX-5 also has a refined interior which has a premium feel to it. While the Mazda hasn’t got a class-leading cargo capacity, it’s still vastly bigger than the Eclipse Cross, swaying the decision further in Mazda’s favor. The only areas where the Eclipse Cross beats the Mazda CX-5 is having a longer warranty and better fuel economy due to its smaller engine and CVT transmission. The base model Mazda is only around $1,000 more than the base Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and considering the overall better driving experience of the Mazda, it’s worth the extra spend.
The Honda CR-V has a great reputation for reliability and for being a solid performer in all aspects. The interior feels solid, and the option of a faux wood trim adds to the classy feel of a solidly put together cabin. The base Honda CR-V comes with a 2.4-liter engine that pushes 180 hp, with a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine with 190 hp also available. The Honda is available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive depending on the trim, and all models come with a CVT transmission. The cargo space in the Honda is one of the best in its class and dwarfs both the Eclipse Cross and the Mazda CX-5. For the safety conscious, the CR-V has some of the best crash test ratings possible. With a base price that’s also only $1,000 more than the base Eclipse Cross, the Honda is the better SUV in just about every metric. It’s the class leader for a reason.