Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV Makes its Debut

Published March 10, 2017 by Emma Moreau

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV made its debut at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show. It’s positioned between the smaller Outlander Sport and the mid-size Outlander. The company says its all-new Eclipse Cross is a fusion of sharp coupe looks and dynamic SUV mobility with signature Mitsubishi styling and performance. In markets outside the United States, the all-new compact crossover will come with one of two powertrains. Only one, however, will be offered in the US. The vehicle will go on sale first in Europe and will then be rolled out in Japan, North America, Australia and other regions.

Exterior

Mitsubishi seems to have put more of an emphasis on design for the Eclipse Cross than it did for its other SUVs. It’s definitely a sportier alternative to the company’s other offerings. Its coupe form is distinguished by its wedge profile with distinctive beltline and strong character line. The vehicle wears the company’s latest front end styling which it refers to as the “DYNAMIC SHIELD.”

“MMC's DYNAMIC SHIELD front design concept refers to the protective shield shape visually formed by the black central area represented by a black radiator grille that symbolizes the performance of the car,” writes the company. “The black area is embraced from three directions – from the left, right, and bottom. DYNAMIC SHIELD emphasizes the front end's functionalities aimed at protecting both people and the car itself.”

In the rear, meanwhile, there are high-mounted, stretched tail-lamps that horizontally divide the forward-rake rear window into two. When illuminated, the tubular LED brake lights and the central LED hi-mount stop light form a single bar of light across the tail. Mitsubishi says it gives the vehicle a broad and stable appearance from the rear. Another detail to note is that a new high-saturation red body color has been added to the palette.

Interior

The dashboard of the Eclipse Cross has been shaped using horizontal lines and features silver and black accents. In the dash, there’s the Smartphone Link Display Audio system which has a screen that looks like a tablet. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The driver is able to easily operate the system through the Touchpad Controller located in the center console. There’s also a Head Up Display unit which provides the driver with crucial information including vehicle speed, data from the active safety systems and other important information. Mitsubishi describes the cockpit as futuristic and says it inspires a sense of excitement for the driver. When it comes to luggage, Mitsubishi says it maximized space without spoiling the Eclipse Cross’ coupe-SUV shape. The rear seat uses a 60:40 split with long slide-and-recline adjustment.

In addition to providing rear occupants with plenty of legroom, this also allows them to settle on their favorite seating posture and enjoy long trips with ample headroom despite a roof that slopes down toward the rear,” writes the company.

Performance

The all-new Eclipse Cross uses an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system. It feeds the optimum amount of torque to the rear wheels as required by the driving situation and surface conditions.

Mitsubishi says the Eclipse Cross’ precise handling and superior vehicle stability comes from the vehicle’s tougher body and detail optimization of the suspension.

The addition of a 3-point strut tower brace at the front and the strategic use of structural bonding at the rear in particular have increased body rigidity,” writes the company.

Two powertrains will be offered with the Eclipse Cross in markets outside of the United States. The company says they deliver the right balance of power and environmental performance. There’s a new 1.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine mated to a new CVT with 8-speed Sport Mode manual override. There’s also a 2.2-liter common rail direct-injection turbocharged diesel engine that Mitsubishi says was modified specifically for the Eclipse Cross. It’s mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.

Both powertrain combinations offer the driver brisk driving experience,” writes the company.

In the US, only the 1.5L engine will be available. The company has yet to release how much horsepower the engine will produce but it’s safe to assume it won’t be particularly fast.

Name Controversy

The Eclipse portion of the all-new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross name derives from the popular performance car that the company introduced in 1989. In 2001, the speciality coupe model even made an appearance in The Fast and Furious as the late Paul Walker drove it. Because the original Eclipse was so well loved, some have criticized Mitsubishi for using the name as they don’t want it to be watered down by a practical, family crossover. Mitsubishi, meanwhile, has said it decided to resurrect the name because the new compact SUV employs coupe like styling. It also had another reason for doing so. 

The high-saturation red body color newly developed for the model is also reflected in the name to evoke the brilliance of the prominence seen during the total solar eclipse,” said the company. 

Our Take

While resurrecting the Eclipse name may have not been the best move for the company to make, it likely won’t have an impact on sales as people who would be interested in purchasing the crossover likely aren't major performance car fans. After all, the Outlander Sport and Outlander have been solid performers for Mitsubishi and it's safe to assume this new, sportier alternative will also sell well. For example, sales of the Outlander reached 26,576 in 2016. That’s a 39.5 percent jump over 2015 when 19,055 were sold.

Again, the Eclipse Cross will first go on sale in Europe in the fall. It will then be rolled out to other countries including North America. Pricing has not yet been released. 


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