2017 Los Angeles Auto Show – 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Brings Back Legendary Name in Crossover Form
Angular CUV Gets Sporty Styling and a Turbo Four
Before it produced vehicles like the Outlander and the awkward-looking Mirage G4, Mitsubishi was known for high-technology sports cars like the Eclipse GSX. With all-wheel drive, a turbocharged I-4 with lots of power, and a bulging body, the Eclipse was a sporty hatchback with rally car bones, and it set enthusiasts’ hearts ablaze through its first and second generations.
Keen to recapture that image, Mitsubishi will apply the legendary name to a new crossover, the 2018 Eclipse Cross. Although no longer a zippy sport coupe, Mitsubishi hopes the Eclipse Cross will offer a fun driving experience distinct from its other crossovers and SUVs. Powered by a 1.5L turbocharged I-4 and available Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC), it has at least one thing in common with its namesake: turbo power routed to all four wheels.
That turbo four produces 152 hp and a stout 184 lb-ft, which should imbue the compact SUV with some reasonable moves. Mitsu kept the weight of the Eclipse Cross in check, ranging between 3,307 pounds for the base model with front-wheel drive to 3,516 for a loaded all-wheel-driver. Capable of running on regular fuel, the turbocharged engine should also be reasonably frugal, and its torque output is greater than that of Mitsu’s naturally aspirated 2.0L and 2.4L I-4 powerplants.
One significant departure from the Eclipse legend is the standard continuously variable transmission. Although Mitsubishi builds some of the best CVTs in the business, the gearbox (or more appropriately, cone-box) just isn’t sporty enough for something with the Eclipse name on it. What’s worse, a manual transmission isn’t available, although Mitsu will probably try to say the simulated eight-speed, paddle-shifted sport mode in the transmission is a worthy substitute. We’ll see.
Although it doesn’t look anything like any of the four previous generations of Eclipse before it, the Cross is still a very handsome CUV. Thanks to the wedge-shaped beltline, bold wheel arches, sculpted bodysides, and “Dynamic Shield” front styling, the Eclipse Cross does a reasonable impression of the forthcoming Lamborghini Urus. The top-spec SEL shown in the photos rides on 18-inch wheels, as does the Eclipse Cross SE; the base-model ES gets 16-inchers, while the base-plus LE gets 18-inchers unique to the trim level. The ES is available with front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive (or S-AWC, as Mitsubishi calls it) available as an option. All other trim levels get S-AWC standard.
The interior is reasonably attractive, with a BMW-like freestanding center infotainment display mounted high on the dash on each model but the base ES. Controlled by either the 7-inch touchscreen or a trackpad on the center console, the system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and a logical-looking layout. We’ll have to see how it works when we get our hands on it in person. Other nice interior touches include carbon fiber–aping textured trim on the switch panels and infotainment surround, with piano black and silver accents peppered throughout the interior.
At 175.5 inches long, 71.9 inches wide, and 67.1 inches high, riding on a wheelbase of 106.4 inches, the Eclipse Cross is shorter, narrower, and slightly taller than the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, with a longer wheelbase than either. Those dimensions give it a squat, purposeful stance, perfect for style-conscious buyers who want something a bit more unique than the current crop of affordable crossovers.
However, the Eclipse’s sloping roofline cuts into rear headroom by at least five inches compared to the Honda and Toyota, and at 22.6 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats, cargo space is down 16 from those competitors. That’s the cost of style. Fold the 60/40-split rear seat and the Eclipse Cross has 48.9 cubes of cargo-carrying space, enough for two people to take a good long vacation together.
The Eclipse Cross starts at $23,295 for the base ES with front-wheel drive (the only model that’s been priced thus far). The ES will come standard with a rearview camera, automatic climate control, an anti-theft system, and Bluetooth, among other features. Moving to the LE brings standard S-AWC, black 18-inch alloy wheels, black exterior accents, and the 7-inch infotainment display.
SE models add two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels, standard blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic monitoring, heated seats, and two years of Mitsubishi Connect—the company’s answer to OnStar’s safety and concierge services. The top-grade SEL gets leather seating, LED headlights, a heads-up display, 360-degree cameras, plus an optional Touring Package. Bundling advanced safety features like forward collision monitoring, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and active high beams, the Touring Package also gets a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, Rockford-Fosgate premium audio, and heated rear seats and steering wheel.
No matter the model, all Eclipse Crosses come with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile new-vehicle limited warranty, which Mitsu says is industry-leading. The Eclipse Cross will arrive in dealers by March 2018.