[This article was first published on topgear.com.sg]
Singapore - Here we have another compact crossover that falls into the coupe-SUV niche. This time though, it's from the Japanese.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has been around for 3 years now. As is customary for the car industry, it’s due time for a facelift.
At the time of writing, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is one of four models within Mitsubishi’s lineup in Singapore; The Space Star hatch, the Attrage sedan, the Outlander SUV that has three rows of seating and the red coupe-SUV you see pictured above. It’s worth noting that the latter two cars are built atop Mitsubishi’s GS platform, also called the “Project Global” architecture.
That being said, the Eclipse Cross occupies unique position in the ever-competitive SUV space, toeing the line between functionality and style. It is Mitsubishi’s most striking and visually appealing offering but it doesn’t overdo any mainstream traits such as steeply raked rooflines, garish amounts of chrome or blacked-out trim.
Plus, being one of the most affordable coupe-SUVs in the market isn’t doing it a disservice either.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - The Looks
Post-facelift, it’s actually a rather dignified looking thing. The front end has seen a significant rework that gives it a svelte and sleek appearance over the pre-facelift model. The headlight clusters are now housed lower on the bumper, with slimmer LED daytime running lights running parallel to the grille. The grille itself does away with a little more chrome but retains the prominent hourglass shape that was on the previous car, albeit with subtle changes in texture. The two-tone 18-inch rims are a carryover trait from the pre-facelift car that does compliment the body shell well.
However, the back end sees a more significant change. Gone is the split window on the rear hatch with the non-functional “lightbar” cutting into your rear visibility. Instead, Mitsubishi has adopted a more conventionally styled tailgate with a single pane of glass. The new rear hatch isn’t just a stylistic change though, it actually increases the boot capacity by 28 litres. Open the tailgate and you’re greeted with a large rear aperture that opens up to reveal 405 litres of trunk space.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - The Interior
Unlike the shiny new exterior, the cabin is significantly pared back, with most of the instruments being carried over from the pre-facelift model. Plenty of piano black and durable plastic trimmings, a near-identical steering wheel and HVAC controls. It might be dated, but its utilitarian and user-friendly nature makes it a comfortable cabin to be in. The electronic seat controls and heated seats add a premium touch to the car, though I wouldn’t be so sure about the latter feature’s feasibility in Singapore.
Other changes include a new 8-inch infotainment unit which has tuning and volume knobs for easier use, and it been subtly shifted so it sits closer to the driver’s seat for easier reach. In the Eclipse Cross Style we tested, the infotainment unit also comes with Smartphone Link Display Audio (SDA) which supports wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
In the rear, headroom isn’t at all hampered by the sloped roofline. I’ve had plenty of friends in the back seat, some of them taller than I am, and I’ve heard nary a complaint about rear occupancy.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - The Drive
On the road, there’s no denying the heft, breadth and height of the car. The lofty crossover suspension does give me a presiding view over most cars on the road. But at the same time, it hampers my rearward and side visibility a little. A problem that is easily mitigated by the Multi Around Monitor fitted to this Style variant. While it’s not the most advanced 360-degree camera in the market, what it lacks in image resolution it makes up for with a seamless, lag-free composite image of the car’s surroundings.
Under the hood is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that churns out a modest 163 horsepower and 250Nm of torque. Power delivery is sent through a CVT gearbox with 8 “gears” which feel irregularly spaced, but fairly predictable once you get up to speed.
Despite the turbocharged nature of the engine, the power delivery actually replicates a naturally aspirated engine rather similarly, due in part to the CVT transmission bolted to that four-pot. For more precise control, one could pull on the nicely hewn metal paddles mounted on the steering rack.
But left to its own devices, the CVT does a decent but unremarkable job at managing power and fuel economy. Mitsubishi says the car will do 6.9L/100Km, but our testing netted us an economy figure hovering about the mid-7 litre mark under average city driving.
So where does that leave the new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross? Well it carries the torch for a car that’s done decently well in the last few years, has just enough punch for most consumers and it’s one of the most appealing coupe-SUVs in the sub S$150k price bracket, That’s a significant price reduction compared to other crossover offerings like the Hyundai Tucson Hybrid, the Renault Arkana Fastback, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan and the Toyota Harrier Hybrid.
In summary, there isn’t anything overtly extraordinary about the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. However, it does everything a compact SUV is expected to do, and in an effortless and fuss-free manner that makes you forget the lacklustre drivetrain.
As a bonus, its looks should appeal to fans the Coupe-Crossover niche that seems to be gripping most consumers. If that’s your thing, you’d be glad to know that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is one of the most budget-friendly coupe-SUVs on the market today at S$148,999 (at the time of writing).
Book a test drive to experience the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross now!