Good looks aren't everything, but they never hurt. From most angles, the Eclipse Cross is a fairly attractive car, with its curving roofline giving the Mitsubishi an SUV-meets-coupe vibe.
The mix of curves and sharp angles is really appealing, and creates a more muscular, dynamic look that makes some other SUVs seem weedy and anonymous.
Maybe the Eclipse Cross is least cohesive from the back, as the split rear windscreen can appear a bit awkward. Even so, there's no denying it’s a looker. It's a world away from the tough, upright, beefy styling of Mitsubishi 4x4s like the Shogun. We reckon it will be a long time before you get tired of seeing the Eclipse Cross on your driveway.
The Eclipse Cross is a fairly attractive car.
What’s it like to drive?
There's just the a single engine in the Eclipse Cross range – the turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol. It's available with a 6-speed manual and front-wheel drive, or an automatic transmission with either front- or 4-wheel drive. With either gearbox, the Eclipse Cross has enough vim and verve for brisk overtaking. The engine does whine a little if revved hard. The manual has a notchy action while the automatic shifts smoothly.
The ride is quite firm and fussy at low speeds. Head for the A-roads and motorways and things improve – this is where it’s most at home. Sharp steering makes the Eclipse Cross feel alert on country roads. It's not as much fun to drive as a Seat Ateca.
Head for the A-roads and motorways and things improve.
Inside, the Eclipse Cross is just as good-looking as on the outside. The swoops and curves of the dashboard and chunky 3-spoke steering wheel combine to give a sporty feel to the cabin. Build quality is good, too. Mitsubishis are usually made to last with workmanlike materials – there's a plusher, more upmarket appearance to the Eclipse Cross.
A 7-inch infotainment screen pops its head above the dash rather than being snuggled within it. It's controlled by a tracker pad, which tends to divide opinion (we’re not fans). Some get used to it easily, others take a little longer. If you don't take to it, you can tap the icons on the screen instead.
Unusually, no Eclipse Cross has sat-nav, even if you go for the top-of-the-range Exceed model. Mitsubishi's logic is that just about everyone has a smartphone these days, and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard there's no need for a built-in sat nav. It’s a fair point though does add to the initial ‘set-up’ before you get going.
Every car has a digital radio and at least 6 speakers, so you can enjoy Total Eclipse of the Heart in crystal clear sound. The Exceed spec gets an uprated stereo with 9 speakers and enough power to have the windows shaking.
Up front, there's plenty of head and legroom even if you're tall. That's even true of cars with a panoramic sunroof. Leg-room in the back is very generous, and head-room is acceptable for adults despite the sloping roofline.
So, the Eclipse does a good job of carrying 4 or 5 people. Unfortunately, it's not so great when it comes to carrying their luggage. The boot is small for an SUV of this size.
Weekly shops should fit. You'll need to travel light on a family holiday, though. Rivals will cope better with bags and suitcases for 4.
There is a workaround because you can slide the rear seats forwards to extend the boot. The trouble is, this eats into rear leg-room, so in solving one problem you create another. Fold the seats down to maximise luggage space and there's a slight step to the floor that is a pain if you want to slide in long items like flat-pack furniture.
Storage is taken care of by a couple of large door bins in the front. The door bins in the back are quite small. There are twin cupholders for the driver and front-seat passenger.
Running costs and reliability
For a turbocharged petrol engine, the Mitsubishi's 1.5-litre posts respectable economy figures. On the other hand, if low fuel bills are a priority there are plenty of diesel and hybrid rivals that will stretch a gallon further than the Eclipse Cross.
The 2-wheel-drive manual is the most economical model, achieving 36.2-37.7mpg in official tests. The 2-wheel-drive auto returns 34.4mpg, and the 4x4 auto 32.5mpg. For high-mileage drivers in particular it's a shame there's no diesel for better fuel economy and lower running costs.
What cinch loves
It might seem shallow, but our favourite thing about the Eclipse Cross is the way it looks. It really does stand out from all the look-alike SUVs on the market. If you want something a bit different, the Eclipse Cross is a car that makes a strong statement.