The Japanese brand sells a lot of SUVs, but does it’s newly updated stylish small SUV have what it takes to match it with the best? We find out. Mitsubishi sells two small SUVs – the ASX and this slightly more prominent, newer, and fancier Eclipse Cross, refreshed late last year.
The brand asks roughly $6000 more for the Eclipse Cross, so is it worth it? Our family tests the cheapest all-wheel-drive LS version, priced at $36,990 drive-away.
Jules: I remember this car. We tested one years ago, and it had a silly split-glass rear screen, so I could barely see out the back.
Iain: No longer. Designers gave us some visual flair; the market hated it, so we returned to the boring old single rear glass. The Eclipse Cross now looks like every other small SUV.
Jules: No, it doesn’t. It’s striking, especially its face. It’s part SUV, part chrome, and LED cyborg.
Iain: It certainly has a presence. This revised model is 140mm longer for more rear and boot space, but safety equipment in this grade is below par.
Jules: Thumbs-up for the extra space, but surely safety should be range-wide, not least for family SUVs?
Iain: In an ideal world. Rivals include the $37,990 Skoda Kamiq Limited Edition and $36,000 Mazda CX-30 Evolve. If you need all-wheel drive, the Kia Seltos Sport Plus is loaded at $38,790.
Jules: Strong rivals. And you can add the Hyundai Kona, MG ZS, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota C-HR, Subaru XV, VW T-Roc, and more. Talk about a flooded market.
THE LIVING SPACE
Iain: For a small SUV, it has decent cabin space.
Jules: It isn’t the last word in classiness or features, though.
Iain: It is a bit frill-free, but our LS grade is just one up from entry-level. An 8-inch screen, smart entry, start, leather steering wheel, an electronic parking brake are included.
Jules: There is nothing to make you feel unique, like heated leather seats, a digital dash, or ambient lighting.
Iain: And no rear air vents or USBs for the kids. There’s good space for adults in the back, but while these seats recline, they don’t slide back and forth like the old Eclipse Cross. I miss that versatility.
Jules: Here’s why we love SUVs of this size. You sit high enough for decent visibility, but they’re not cumbersome big lumps to maneuver in town.
Iain: The Eclipse Cross has been set up for ride comfort, and it feels soft and easy to drive on the urban run, while the four-cylinder turbo and gearless CVT auto transmission are smooth pairings.
Jules: Pretty much what a buyer would want then?
Iain: Most likely. The 1.5-litre has a bit of kick, too, but once you get keen with the throttle, the gearbox gets a dash whiny.
Jules: At this price, I’d expect radar cruise control and a digital speedometer.
Iain: Agreed. Many rivals have these, and they make for a far better motorway commute.
Jules: The seats are firm but comfy enough for long trips, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is included.