THE 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a sight for sore eyes, which feels really weird to say, because for a long while now, the previous generations of the Eclipse Cross have been a tad controversial in the looks department.
Now though, after a makeover from Mitsubishi, that included a nip here and a tuck there, it’s a good looking mid-sized SUV. It’s even a little elegant.
Sure, there are some elements of the car that you may ask yourself, why on God’s green earth have they done that, like the front headlight assembly, but overall this third generation is a step, maybe a leap in the right direction.
Finished in Red Diamond, like our tester, is where this car really pops, complemented by black and chrome body accents (that have been done tastefully), privacy glass and black roof rails. The whole look makes the 2021 Eclipse Cross zing.
The now standard Dynamic Shield that is the front end for all new Mitsubishis, does feels a little overpowering, but the curves and angled body lines bring it all together.
At the rear, the old wrap around LED tail lamps and that controversial Honda CR-X style split spoiler that cut the rear window into two, are thankfully, now gone. The rear end sports a more cohesive look.
Weirdly, the range topping Exceed wears the same 18-inch alloys as the base ES. Maybe they had an over supply at the factory. That aside, it still asserts its hierarchical dominance by adding full colour coding right the way around the car.
Inside, the Eclipse Cross is even better, with all models getting a spacious, well equipped look and feel. Standard across the entire range is an 8.0-inch touchscreen that sports Bluetooth, DAB+ digital radio, and smartphone mirroring for Android and Apple phones.
The Exceed gets satellite navigation standard too, but no wireless charging. The usual top of the range inclusions are here, like dual zone climate control, auto-sensing lights and wipers, and one-touch electric window operation all round.
Mitsubishi has decided to install their own 8-speaker Power Sound system, which is adequate if you like listening to music from 1810, but if you listen to rock, or electronic dance music, you might be very disappointed.
Mitsubishi should really leave this stuff to companies like Harman/Kardon or JBL.
Around the cabin, there are a lot of nice soft plastics, glossy inserts and upmarket metal effect trims on the dash and doors. The seats are comfortable and wrapped nicely in a black leather material.
You probably don’t want to be heavy set though, as the seats are a little narrow, and you also don’t get the ability to adjust lumbar support. Mitsubishi can be forgiven for that, because the driver’s seat is power operated, and both front seats are heated.
Due to the new higher seating position, the Eclipse Cross feels taller than it is, and forward and side visibility is very good. The driver’s rear view feels restricted by the thick interior rear pillars though, which is a little bit of a hangover from the previous model.
While the Exceed is fitted with a reversing camera and multi-around monitor for a virtual overhead view, there’s something about old fashioned mirror looking that is missing here. Storage is good though, with door bottle holders, and two cup holders in the console.
The rear seat centre armrest contains two cup holders as well. There’s plenty of rear seat leg room for full-sized passengers, which is a welcome feature of the Eclipse Cross.
On the road, the Exceed feels capable, and for the first time, feels planted through corners. Under the hood is a gutsy 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo engine offering 110kW and 250Nm. While that might not sound like a lot, it’s fairly decent for a car of this size.
Power is delivered via the front wheels, however you can opt for an AWD version featuring Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system. Power is coupled to a CVT transmission.
The gearbox can be operated with the steering wheel paddle shifters, but with a CVT really just give the joy of slapping levers and not much else. Claimed fuel economy is 7.3-litres/100km, and we produced 8.7-litres/100km.
Part of that can be put down to the engine revving its head off under medium to heavy acceleration.
The new Mitsubishi safety suite has you covered as well, boasting forward collision mitigation, ultrasonic mis-acceleration mitigation, blind spot warning, hill start assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, stability control and seven airbags.
The 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross range has also received a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. The Exceed variant is a well executed package and thankfully doesn’t look horrible anymore, inside and out.
It has a few issues, but we think they are trumped by the new, better executed inclusions and design. The 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Exceed 2WD is priced at $40,490 (drive away).
It’s available with a 10-year warranty and comes in seven colours, including White, Sterling Silver, Titanium Metallic, Lightning Blue, Black, White Diamond and Red Diamond (as tested).
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.