It’s good enough but not exactly enough to eclipse the competition
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T AWD ‘3’
Price: £21,000 (est)
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Top speed: 124mph
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is neither angry nor, as far as we can tell, particularly religious. Instead the Cross part refers to its place in the crossover market, half SUV, half road car, and in danger of being a car of two halves.
It’s based on the large Outlander, so it’s a touch bigger than Nissan’s Qashqai. Unusually, there will only be one engine at launch and that’s not a diesel. Instead it’s a 1.5-litre four-pot petrol engine with 160bhp. It will come with front-wheel drive and a manual six-speed although all-wheel drive and a constantly variable transmission will come later for those who like the slipping-clutch effect of the CVT. A diesel with an eight-speed auto will follow in due course.
It looks fairly different, perhaps more in the angular fold line route of Toyota’s CH-R, and that sloping roofline with split rear window is moderately funky. But then there are the usual grey plastic wheelarch extensions to lazily signal some claim to go off the road.
Inside it’s about the same, with lots of grey plastic although quality is excellent. There’s decent space and UK editions should have compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
On the road the engine acquits itself adequately but no more. It sounds quite eager at low revs and speeds, but that doesn’t translate into a willingness to rev up the range. We tried it with the CVT gearbox and, while this is a sharper version than most, it still slurs and wanders about like it’s been on the sauce.
Adding in the four-wheel drive does add to an ability to stooge about in bad weather but it doesn’t make itself felt much, certainly not getting to grips with the copious understeer that builds up. Steering is fine but inert and grip levels are quite strong, while ride compliance also seemed very respectable on our smooth test route.
So it’s not as if there’s anything much to dislike here, it just seems a touch uninspiring. It’s well built, and should come with a lot of standard kit and prices should be starting at about £21k, rising to £29k. Kit may include some big-car stuff like radar cruise control, so if all that ticks the boxes for you, this may well be worth putting your cross in the box. It’s practical, looks quite good and should cover the bases of quite a few lifestyles.