Eclipse Cross

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2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Test Drive Review

The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has a bold new exterior design, but underneath is a dated, subpar SUV.

6 /10
Overall Score

Most entrants in the compact SUV segment seem to have their own personalities. The Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V are upscale. The Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester are designed for active lifestyles. The Hyundai Tucson is all about value (but it's trending upscale). The Kia Sportage offers value and is sporty, too. But what of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross? The bold styling indicates some level of performance. But as we will come to learn, it can barely back that up. Modern styling would indicate perhaps some of the latest technology. You won’t find that in here either. The Eclipse Cross has a low starting price, but for what you get, other more expensive rivals are actually a better value.

There are no cliffhangers or teasers here. The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross just can't keep up with the competition. But it does a few things right. Read on to learn what they are (okay, maybe one cliffhanger).

Look and Feel

7/ 10

The Eclipse Cross certainly has a head-turning design. In fact, it’s one of the boldest and most futuristic redesigns in the compact SUV segment. But such a bold design sets expectations pretty high for a modern, dynamic crossover. So does the “Eclipse” name. Anyone old enough to know or care about the Mitsubishi Eclipse sports cars from the 1990s will likely be disappointed by an underpowered hatchback with a lift. And yes, Ford essentially did the same thing with the Mustang Mach-E… but the Blue Oval backed it up with a really good vehicle.

The Eclipse Cross interior looks modern enough, but closer examination reveals dated switchgear. The Eclipse Cross was introduced for the 2018 model year and has been redesigned for 2022. Though the exterior has been updated, the cabin is largely the same. The major change is new infotainment technology and the elimination of the clunky, redundant touchpad in the older version.

Despite being updated for 2022, the cabin feels dated. The overall design is sharp enough. The infotainment screen finally gains volume and tuning dials, but it does not feel like a new 2022 car. The climate controls appear to have individual dials for the left and right sides, but they are buttons on a circular bezel. It only makes you want an actual dial there more. On the plus side, the seats of our range-topping GT trim were very comfortable around town and on longer trips. The full list of trims for the 2022 Eclipse Cross spans ES, SE (yes, they have trim levels called ES and SE; don’t worry, that won't confuse anyone when car-shopping multiple vehicles), SEL, and our GT test vehicle.

In Canada, the entry-level ES comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, manual heated seats, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, rain-sensing wipers, two USB ports, and four speakers. It also comes with forward collision mitigation.

Selecting the SE upgrades the Eclipse Cross to LED fog lights, heated and power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, automatic high beams, push-button start, remote keyless entry, six speakers, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, black roof rails, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The SEL adds LED headlamps, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, faux-suede seats, adaptive cruise control, a multi-view camera, heated rear seats, and a head-up display.

The GT includes a panoramic roof package that adds dual sunroofs (rather than an actual panoramic sunroof), full leather seats, an eight-speaker premium stereo system, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and on-board navigation.

Our GT tries to be sporty with big paddle shifters and stainless steel paddles. The seats are very comfortable and the leather is plush, but if you can afford this high-end trim, why not buy a nicer compact crossover. The dual sunroofs are a neat touch, but the rest of the segment has already moved towards full panoramic sunroofs. The only upside of this older design is that rear-seat or front-seat occupants can open or close the sunshade individually.

Performance

4/ 10

No matter what trim you select, the Eclipse Cross is powered by a 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder engine. It meets specs of 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to standard all-wheel drive (AWD; front-wheel drive (FWD) is not offered in Canada). The horsepower is pretty anemic, even for this segment, but the torque figure is respectable. The latter helps the Eclipse Cross scoot quickly off the line from a standstill. The little engine has decent pickup around town and in parking lots, but it shows its weakness the moment you get on the highway. Step on the gas; there’s a lot of noise and not much acceleration.

The CVT has “manual” shift modes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Keeping the revs up and downshifting actually feels somewhat sporty coming down a highway offramp. The Eclipse Cross has a decently agile turn-in and feels well-planted through a corner. Unfortunately, the steering ratio is not tight enough for the Eclipse Cross to be an actual performance SUV.

The all-wheel-drive system is called Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC), which is a little comical, considering driving over washboard bumps in the road activated the traction control light in the dash. Given everything else is dated tech wrapped in a new cover, it would stand to reason this powertrain tech is dated as well. The Eclipse Cross would make an acceptable commuter car, assuming your commute doesn’t involve rally stages.

Form and Function

6/ 10

The 2022 Eclipse Cross provides up to 1,419 litres of cargo space. With the rear seats in place, the Eclipse Cross delivers 663 litres of cargo space. If you select the dual sunroofs (like on our test model), total cargo space falls to 1,407 litres, and 657 litres with the rear seats up. That’s slightly better than the outgoing model, but it's still small for the compact SUV segment, where rivals routinely provide upwards of 700 litres or more. Mitsubishi doesn’t offer a power liftgate, nor does it offer a hands-free power liftgate.

At least Mitsubishi got rid of the split-rear window of the previous model. It featured a spoiler obstructing a large portion of the rearview mirror. The new design does away with that, and there’s better rearward visibility.

Mitsubishi also removed the infotainment touchpad, which opened up the all-important centre console space. There is a helpful tray below the climate controls, and there is decently sized space in the centre console compartment, as well as the in-door trays.

Tech Level

5/ 10

Mitsubishi has drastically improved its infotainment, but like many other things in the cabin, it feels dated. The new(er) screen is a few centimetres closer to the driver’s reach than the previous screen. It also has real buttons and knobs right up on the bezel. Mitsubishi has done away with the frustrating, redundant, and space-occupying touchpad controller. These are all steps in the right direction, but the standard 8-inch touchscreen looks dated compared to the latest infotainment systems from rivals. The upside of dated tech means the engineers have had plenty of time to work the bugs out. It should come as no surprise that this system is very responsive.

Our test car came with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment in Canada, which is not the case in the United States and increases the value of the entry-level model considerably in our market.

Safety

8/ 10

The Eclipse Cross comes standard with forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking. If you want safety features like lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, or a surround-view parking monitor, you’ll have to pay extra.

The Eclipse Cross is also available with a head-up display. Unlike most head-up displays offered in modern cars (which project directly onto the windshield), this is a separate glass screen that extends from the dash. It takes about 10-12 seconds to deploy, and it felt cheap in our tester. Mazda has used a similar system for its head-up displays, but they deploy more quickly and have better graphics.

Cost-Effectiveness

6/ 10

All grades of Eclipse Cross are sold with the same powertrain configuration in Canada, which means Natural Resources Canada estimates are the same across the board: 9.6 litres per 100 kilometres in city driving, 8.9 on the highway, and 9.3 combined. Those figures are about average for a compact SUV.

Base MSRP for the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES is $28,598. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SE trim is priced at $31,218. The Eclipse Cross SEL costs $34,218, and our GT test model with rings up at $36,998. Some exterior colours cost extra, and a $1,900 destination charge is not included in these prices.

For that amount, you get an SUV that has less cargo space than other compact SUVs, is not very athletic, and has dated technology. It begs the question: Mitsubishi positions the Eclipse Cross as an “affordable compact SUV,” but what do you get for that price? To outfit it like our test model costs nearly $40,000, which negates the cost angle. Its starting price is only about $1,500 below some of the equivalently equipped class leaders, which are far better vehicles. The Kia Sportage and Jeep Compass cost less or about the same, and are also far better vehicles.

The Eclipse Cross does have a great warranty of 10 years and 160,000 kilometres, so it’s got that going for it. We’ve often said there are “no bad cars anymore,” but there still has to be a worst. That superlative may go to the Mitsubishi Mirage, but as compact SUVs go, you’d do well to look anywhere other than the Eclipse Cross.

Updated by George Kennedy

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