Introduced just two years ago, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a surprisingly enjoyable ride. For a fresh vehicle that weighs over 3,500 pounds, it is quick off the mark, responding with agility in any situation. The test drive SEL trim of the compact SUV is equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder powertrain that puts out 152 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 184 pounds-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm.
The slightly noisy continuous variable transmission continues as is. A MacPherson strut front and a multilink rear suspension works well to absorb unpleasant highway bumps. The electric power steering returns a weighted, linear response to the driver’s input. The S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) system sends power not only to the front or rear wheels but also to the left or right wheels for maximum traction. Also, the idle-neutral logic technology translates into fuel savings at a stop as does the eco mode once turned on.
No doubt, the Eclipse Cross sports an aggressive look with horizontal LEDs headlights and fog lamps flanking the chromed grille with a centered Mitsubishi emblem. The cabin is roomy with plentiful head and legroom for rear passengers in the 60/40-split folding seat. The 7-inch touch navigation and display audio interface is easy to operate.
Several comforts are offered, such as dual auto a/c, cruise control, power windows/door locks, leather tilt/telescopic leather steering column and shifter, eight-way power driver and four-way manual front-passenger heated seats, black headliner, driver information center, audio system with six speakers, underfloor cargo hold, head-up display and a rear seat armrest with two cup holders.
Safety features, at no extra cost, include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, driver knee airbag, rearview camera, active stability and traction control, blind spot monitor with lane change assist and rear-cross traffic alert, forward collision and lane departure warnings, hill start assist, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, anti-theft alarm, front-pedestrian impact crumple zones, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.
It may look deficient in horsepower on paper, but the four-cylinder and useful Eclipse Cross is an alluring proposition. The all-inclusive ride boasts considerable cargo and passenger space as well as decent fuel mileage (our highway average was around 29) at an economical price. That it comes with a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain and a five-year or 60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty is a plus.