Car Review: An old name, but new look for Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Mitsubishi goes back to an old name, "Eclipse," for its new crossover. But this new Eclipse Cross is sportier-looking than other Mitsubishi models, providing a fresh and new look for the company. See photos.

WASHINGTON — The new Eclipse Cross is a stylish crossover that puts Mitsubishi back on the map.

Prices of new vehicles are getting higher and higher, especially for those of us hoping to purchase vehicles that fit in the popular sub-compact and compact crossover categories. Lately, buying a used vehicle makes the most sense for some buyers.

Higher prices seem to be a boon for Mitsubishi. The automaker has been seeing an uptick in buyers rediscovering the brand for its affordability. Now there is a new model in the lineup. The Eclipse Cross is joining the fray in the ever-popular smaller crossover market.

Mitsubishi goes back to an old name, “Eclipse,” for its new crossover. It’s no longer a small, two-door sporty hatch like before. This new Eclipse Cross is sportier-looking than other Mitsubishi models, providing a fresh and new look for the company.

Curves and sharp angles for the Eclipse Cross offer up a more aggressive look. From a side view, its smaller size is apparent, with short overhangs beyond the wheel wells and bumpers. The Mitsubishi’s rear styling really stands out, with a two-piece rear glass window divided by a light bar cluster. The back also sports a spoiler on top of the hatch.

Octane Blue Metallic paint is a nice hue. It makes this Eclipse Cross pop and gives it a premium look — more than the $27,000 price tag for the upper-trim level version.

The Eclipse Cross interior is spacious for the sub-compact market and has good space for those sitting up front. Backseat passengers have very good leg room for this class, and headroom is about average.

Taller riders might opt to sit up front. The cargo area is solid for the vehicle’s size, giving a few larger compact crossovers a run for their money. But opening and closing the heavy rear hatch isn’t the easiest, especially when you’re parked on a hill.

When you choose the SE trim level, heated cloth front seats are standard. They seem to have more cushion than in previous Mitsubishi vehicles. Materials are also nicer to look at, and they feel better, with some soft touch materials in places where hands and arms rest.

Users will get a new and improved radio and phone experience with a larger, easy-to-use, 7-inch touch screen. There is also a touch pad on the center console. It works well, but there are no knobs for the radio controls.

Adding a phone is easy, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make it simple to integrate the phone through the dash. Climate controls are straightforward and have no endless menus to adjust, just a few buttons with clear markings.

The Eclipse Cross is more of a road-going crossover than a corner-carving car. There is lean when navigating corners, and the Mitsubishi is happiest cruising at a normal pace. The larger 18-inch wheels seem to transmit some harshness on larger bumps — likely from the lower-profile tires.

I usually find Mitsubishi cars a bit lacking in the power department, but not this time. A new turbo engine, while small, helps move the Eclipse Cross better than I expected. While it’s no speed demon, it has no problem keeping up with traffic or merging on a busy road.

An improved CVT transmission acts more like a regular transmission, cutting down on some of that constant drone on acceleration. Fuel economy isn’t class best. Still, I managed 24.8 mpg for my week of driving. That’s not far from the advertised 25 mpg.

The AWD system cuts down on fuel economy a bit, but it does a very good job. Slippery conditions don’t faze this Mitsubishi at all; I never noticed a wheel slip in wet conditions. Safety features like Blind Spot Warning, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard in the SE trim level. There’s even Adaptive Cruise, a nice touch in the price range.

Mitsubishi is having a bit of a renaissance in the U.S. market, seeing improved sales and now adding new vehicles to the market. The Eclipse Cross has style and a host of features that add appeal for crossover buyers on a budget.

With a 10-year power train warranty and a five-year, 60,000-mile new vehicle warranty, Mitsubishi gives peace of mind to shoppers looking for that first new car experience.

Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by DriveShop, FMI or Motus One for the purpose of this review.

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