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2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Review

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a fresh start from an automaker looking for new ideas. Emphasis on start, there.

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross crossover SUV is a fresh start for an automaker that needed new life.

Its name draws on a hit from decades ago, but the new version strikes its own chord among crossovers. That’s not necessarily a good thing. The 2019 Eclipse Cross earns a 4.6 on our overall scale, below average for a new car.

Like last year, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is available in ES, LE, SE, and SEL trim levels. Base versions cost roughly $24,500 and top trims can cost more than $32,000.

Buyers may be drawn toward the daring looks of the 2019 Eclipse Cross and its low price, but both ask for sacrifices.

The interior is small for its class, and there are some cost-cutting materials in easily seen places. The standard 7.0-inch touchscreen is nice, but we’re not big on the touchpad controller on the center console and the native system is a pain to use. (Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility helps the latter, but not the former.)

All versions of the Eclipse Cross are powered by a 1.5-liter turbo-4 that makes 152 horsepower and mates to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Most versions are saddled with all-wheel-drive running gear that adds traction, but also weight. The Eclipse Cross is fine for around-town detail, but it’s not particularly bright off the line nor is it quiet.

(We suspect the leisurely CVT is the culprit.)

The Eclipse Cross manages about 25 mpg combined, according to the EPA. That’s not tops in its class for efficiency, others do better.

Others—such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4—offer standard safety features that Mitsubishi reserves for top trims, and even there it’s optional.

Automatic emergency braking is only available on top SEL models that start over $30,000, and it’s a pricey option at that. Honda and Toyota bundle the lifesaving technology into their crossovers across the board—and those models don’t cost much more than the Mitsubishi.

Base cars get 16-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB port, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with touchpad controller for infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty. The warranty and low price may appeal to some crossover shoppers, but we struggle to see the value of the Eclipse Cross among similarly priced competitors.

Styling
The Eclipse Cross has an exterior that could be a breath of fresh air among small crossovers, but ultimately its execution takes some of the wind out of its sails.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross borrows a name from the automaker’s cupboard, although the resemblance is a little thin. Its racy roofline is commendable but its interior and parts of the exterior are forgettable. It’s a small letdown, and we land at a 4 out of 10 for style.

The Eclipse Cross borrows Mitsubishi’s “dynamic shield” grille and we’ve had issues with it before: the lashings of chrome don’t appear to be grounded in any of the car’s elements—they’re floating and busy.

The split-view rear end is similarly busy and distracting. We almost forgive those sins with the handsome roof that’s racy and high-concept—almost.

Inside, the Mitsubishi’s cost-cutting materials and gimmicks don’t look up to par. The finicky touch controller takes up prime real estate and while the dash offers a soft cap that’s easy to touch, its unbroken by stitching or cues to visually break up the mass of black.

A dual-pane sunroof offers to bring more light into the cabin, but eats deeply into available head space.

Performance
The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross offers a similar powertrain concept to its rivals, but falls down a little in execution.

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was new last year, but it’s not a new idea.

The small crossover is powered by a 1.5-liter turbo-4 that makes 152 hp and is paired to a CVT and, most often, all-wheel drive.

The transmission hesitates when we wish it didn’t so we dial back a point from average and land at a 4.

The pokey combination of an indecisive CVT and burdened turbo-4 means that the Eclipse Cross takes the better part of 10 seconds to speed up to 60 mph, which is toward the bottom of its class.

We’re not in it for outright speed, but there’s no efficiency gains for the little Mitsu’s leisurely acceleration—it’s mid-pack there, too. We suspect the engine might be a mismatch for the CVT, but it’s hard to tell what the culprit is.

Instead, the bright spot is a steering that builds weight well (even though it doesn’t unwind in the same way) and transmits a good amount of road feedback.

The ride is similarly confident, without much body lean through corners and a planted feel throughout. Even on tall 18-inch wheels, the Eclipse Cross doesn’t crash over uneven pavement and road noise is kept at a minimum.

We’ve noticed a slightly stouter brake pedal that’s eager to engage the stoppers, however. It’s no Italian car, but the Eclipse Cross felt eager to grab the brakes early and required some acclimation.

Comfort & Quality
The Eclipse Cross has a shape that’s unmistakable on the road, but sacrifices interior comfort and that’s, well, a mistake.

The fairer among us know the pain that fitting into a wedge can bring. The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has a high-minded exterior that asks passengers inside to pay for.

It’s a four-seater for adults—don’t let the middle belt fool you. Starting from an average score, we shave one for less space than we’d expect from a compact crossover. The Eclipse Cross gets a 4 for comfort.

The front seats are accommodating but not heavily bolstered. Only the top trim level of the Eclipse Cross gets power adjustment for the driver’s seat, the front passenger’s seat doesn’t offer it at all and can’t raise or lower either.
We’ve found that the limited telescoping steering wheel could present a problem with the leggiest among us, although average body types likely won’t have any issues.

The rear seats are best for two and only two. The rear seatback can optionally slide fore or aft up to 8 inches for more cargo room, but the rear seats can still feel cramped with the seats all the way back. The rear seatback also reclines up to 16 degrees for more comfort, although like the fronts, the rear seats are heavily bolstered.

The cargo floor is raised by 4 inches above the floor, which creates an odd reef with the seatbacks pushed forward.

Behind the rear seats, pushed all the way back for passenger comfort, the Eclipse Cross holds 22 cubic feet of cargo. Some smaller crossovers such the HR-V offer more room. With the rear seats folded forward that space expands to roughly 48 cubic feet.

Safety
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross lacks complete safety data.

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross hasn’t been comprehensive tested by independent or federal officials who watch cars run into walls all day. We need more official crash-test data, so we’re withholding our score but submitting our resumes to watch cars run into walls.

The Eclipse Cross shares its frame with the Outlander and Outlander Sport, but that may not bode well for crashworthiness: the Outlander Sport earned a four-star overall rating in recent testing.

Crash data aside, the Eclipse Cross includes standard airbags, stability control systems, and a rearview camera.

Frustratingly, active safety features are reserved for top trims and, even there, cost extra. Other automakers such as Honda, Toyota, and Subaru make features such as automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control standard on all trim levels.

Outward vision in the Eclipse Cross isn’t very good, and blind-spot monitors that are standard on SE and SEL trim levels aren’t only helpful, they’re practically mandatory.

Features
The 2019 Eclipse Cross has familiar compact crossover equipment—at a familiar price, too—but falls down in its execution.

A strong warranty and low entry price may woo first-time shoppers to th 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, but the crossover’s execution makes it hard to recommend against more established competitors.

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is offered in ES, LE, SE, and SEL trim levels for about $24,500 to start.

Base cars get 16-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB port, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with touchpad controller for infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty. It’s good base equipment and the warranty is better than average, but the finicky controller and base infotainment system aren’t ideal. We land at a 6 for features.

Top SEL trims start at more than $30,000, where competitors make more compelling arguments. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL offers 18-inch wheels, all-wheel drive, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, premium audio, LED headlights, head-up display, and two USB ports. A similarly equipped Ford Escape costs roughly $2,000 more, but includes a panoramic sunroof, more potent powertrain, and power liftgate.

A better deal is closer to the SE trim level that skips leather, a heated steering wheel, and head-up display and costs less than $28,000 with all-wheel drive. Again, competitors such as the Honda CR-V hover around the same price and the Eclipse Cross can lose some of its appeal.

That’s doubly true for tech-savvy buyers looking for the latest and greatest infotainment hardware. Lamenting the lack of a volume knob may sound trite, but the Eclipse Cross skips one and it’s just the beginning of our frustrations—ask any new Honda owner how they miss their volume knob. Beyond ergonomic gripes, the system lacks intuition and clarity for first-time users. Digging through menus for sound or system settings can be a chore.

Connecting a smartphone to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto relieves some of the burden of using a complicated native system, which we appreciated.

The base system is a 7.0-inch touchscreen, but a redundant touch controller is available on the center console to use instead. The trackpad is similar to a laptop mouse pad in its mission, but it’s not very responsive or useful.

Fuel Economy
The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rates mid-pack among compact crossovers for fuel economy.

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is relatively frugal with fuel, but it could be better.

Most versions average roughly 26 mpg combined, according to the EPA. That’s average among new cars, but not as efficient as some of its competitors. The Honda CR-V, which also uses a turbo-4 and CVT for power, rates roughly 30 mpg combined.

The most popular Eclipse Cross with all-wheel drive rates 25 mpg city, 26 highway, 25 combined, which rates a 5 out of 10 on our scale.

Front-drive versions are slightly more efficient: 25/28/26 mpg. ES trim levels, which weigh less, do slightly better and are rated 1 mpg better than other trims.

Among compact crossovers, the Eclipse Cross rates mid-pack. The Equinox manages up to 28 mpg combined with its base engine, the CR-V up to 30 mpg combined with its turbocharged engine (up to 28 mpg combined with the base configuration). The Ford Escape rates similar to or lower than the Mitsubishi.



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