Over the last few years Mitsubishi has been on life support with the brand discontinuing more models than introducing new ones. As the brand transitions to a mostly crossover lineup, Mitsubishi has finally released its first all-new model since 2014, the 2018 Eclipse Cross. Its name is meant to recall the sporty Mitsubishi Eclipse from the past, while the second part of its name doesn’t really need further explanation – it’s a crossover.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is yet another entry in the crowded compact crossover segment, but instead of going after the mainstream models in the segment, the Eclipse Cross is a sportier alternative. It’s Mitsubishi’s take on the coupe-like crossover segment that’s mainly dominated by luxury automakers. Love or hate it? The Eclipse Cross gets a polarizing exterior that is more interesting to look at than the Outlander and Outlander Sport models, although that Pontiac Aztec-like rear end is hard to ignore. Either way it stands out and Mitsubishi needs the attention.
Under the hood the Eclipse Cross arrives with the brand’s new turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder. This is the first application of the engine, which will obviously makes its way through the rest of the lineup in the future and that’s a good thing. The 1.5L engine generates 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque, which may not sound like that much, but the little engine does have a surprising amount of grunt. Around town the engine is peppy and makes the Eclipse Cross feel a little sporty – which is something we won’t say about the Nissan Rogue Sport.
The Eclipse Cross is rated at 26/29 mpg with front-wheel drive and up to 25/28 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The four-cylinder is mated to a CVT, which is a drag, but there are steering wheel paddles to let you switch between 8 ratios, but the shift changes are a bit slower than we’d expect. While its engine does tip toe into the sporty realm, the Eclipse Cross is let down by a suspension that is tuned a bit too much for comfort. There’s way too much body roll if you’re planning on taking the twisty back road to your destination and the numb steering doesn’t help.
Inside the Eclipse Cross has the most stylish interior of any other model with a Mitsubishi badge. The materials feel a class above the Outlander and the 7-inch touchscreen has the latest tech, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The infotainment system can also be controlled via a touchpad located between the front two seats, which feels similar to what you’ll find in a Lexus. In front of the driver there’s also an available head-up display and above both rows of seats there’s a panoramic sunroof to give the interior a more airy feel.
Perhaps the only negative we could find inside is the lack of cargo space. There’s only 22.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up, which expands to 48.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Those specs are only marginally better than the smaller Outlander Sport.
After spending a week with the Eclipse Cross, we can agree that the Eclipse Cross is the best we’ve seen from Mitsubishi in years, but is it enough? The compact crossover segment is one of the most competitive segments, but even with its more coupe-like styling and peppy engine, the Eclipse Cross isn’t the big standout that Mitsubishi really needs. It’s better than the Outlander and Outlander Sport, but Mitsubishi really needs a game changer. One great idea would be to give the Eclipse Cross the Outlander PHEV‘s plug-in hybrid powertrain. That would really give Mitsubishi something that it needs.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross starts at $23,295.