If you’re old enough to remember Mitsubishi’s Eclipse coupe of the 90s, the company’s 2022 Eclipse Cross 5-passenger SUV is not related and totally new. It just borrows the Eclipse name.
Cross is actually a smaller, compact version of Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Outlander Sport SUVs, and in fact it’s built on the same frame. But everything else is all Cross.
The five passenger Eclipse Cross is offered in base ES, LE, SE, SE Special Edition, SEL, and SEL Special Edition. We were privileged to test the SEL that was abundantly equipped.
Cross is a sporty looking crossover with bold, daring styling with splashes of chrome on the grille. Its roofline slopes slightly to the rear giving it a look that it’s traveling 55 mph standing still. As such, Cross strikes a snappy pose.
Cross’ interior is upscale and equally as handsome with bright brushed aluminum trim that runs along the edges of the console and swoops upward as it seems to introduce and highlight the new 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. The latter serves the usual gamut of functions that include rearview camera with overhead view, nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, three months of free satellite radio, HVAC, Mitsubishi Connect applications and more.
Then there’s the faux carbon trim on the doors that adds extra sportiness. There’s also a Heads-Up-Display showing vehicle speed and posted speed limits - but it can be retracted if not needed.
HVAC controls are large, easy to view and use. And the analog gauge cluster includes a driver information display.
Cross’ heated leather front seats are nicely padded with extended under thigh support that’s comforting to have on long trips. The heated back seats, like the fronts, are comfy for two adults or three tweens and offers a low 19-inch step-in. They slide fore/aft to increase cargo or leg room and offer generous headroom and decent leg room. And rear passengers can enjoy the view of an optional panoramic sunroof.
Eclipse Cross’ S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) system consists of Normal, Snow and Gravel modes. There’s also a separate switch for Eco mode. The AWC system combines with Active Yaw Control that controls the left-right driving/braking force when using the brakes. And with 8.5 inches of ground clearance, Cross can tackle modest snow depths, and a trait needed here in the Snowbelt. Many comparable SUV’s, with the exception of Subaru’s Outback that has 8.7 inches, rarely come close to this.
All Cross models come with the same 1.5-liter, turbocharged 4-clinder that puts out 152-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. When coupled to the standard 8-speed CVT transmission with sport mode (plus paddle shifters that allow manual shifts that replicate a conventional automatic), EPA mileage estimates are rated at 25 city, 26-highway mpg. The combination allows tow capacities of up to 1,500 pounds.
With a curb weight of 3,500 pounds, the powertrain strains a bit under strong acceleration be it from a standing stop or when passing 18-wheelers. And as long as you keep the turbo from kicking in, the advertised fuel economy ratings should be closely realized.
Back in the cargo area that has a low 29-inch lift-over, it’s rated at 23.4 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks upright. It measures 35 inches deep, 39 wide and 30 high. Flip the seatbacks and load depth expands to 60 inches (a full five feet). Beneath the cargo floor is the spare tire within a foam bin to stow small items out of sight. The cargo area also has a nifty Roadside Assistance Kit. The kit contains a hazard warning triangle, wipe cloth, bungee cords, rain poncho, flashlight, emergency blanket, light stick, screw driver, cloth gloves, pliers, duct tape and battery jumper cables. A thoughtful first for any vehicle.
Ride wise on Bridgestone 18-inch tires is smooth and quiet with a touch of sportiness that makes it fun to drive. The suspension soaks up most harsh road imperfections. Only major pock marks or unimproved railroad crossings reverberate into the cabin. But they’re nicely dampened. Cross also parks easily.
As said, the SEL came abundantly equipped with standard safety features such as active stability control, tire pressure monitoring, blind spot warning w/lane change assist, forward collision warning with pedestrian alert, lane departure warning, hill start assist, rain sensing wipers and more.
On the options side they include red diamond paint ($595); SEL Touring Package ($2,100) that adds a host of features plus forward collision mitigation w/high speed braking capability w/pedestrian detection; adaptive cruise control and others; SEL Touring Exterior Package ($995) that includes trim items; cargo tonneau cover ($195); black hood badge ($110); welcome package ($190); carpeted floor mats; value package ($295) that offers the Roadside Assistance Kit and sport pedals. All of these take the base price of $28,995 to $34,670 with delivery.
This price is about average for Cross’ class and is competitive. To its credit, the government’s top five-star safety ratings gave Cross a full five stars for front/rear seat side crash, and four stars for rollover. The agency didn’t rate it for frontal crash or provide an overall vehicle score.
Included too is a generous 10 year/100,000-mile warranty and 5 year/60K basic warranty.
Again, Mitsubishi’s Cross is a handsome and sporty SUV that competes in a crowded market. It deserves a look and test drive to fully appreciate its abilities and attributes.