IT’S got looks that will destroy friendships and a drive that thrills, scares and may cause breakups all in one sitting. But is the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES Sport Edition the quiet achiever the Japanese car maker desperately needs it to be?
Controversy has followed the Eclipse Cross from its birth in 2017, not least because it borrowed its moniker from a sporty little coupe from the 1990s. Then there’s the whole genuinely out there oddness about its design, but more on that later.
The Eclipse Cross lays down all the essentials for yet another SUV in a truly flooded market, with a boat load of bit and pieces to keep even the fussiest car owner happy, including a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 6-speaker sound system, DAB+ radio, two USB ports in the front and a 12v power socket in the back. It’s all there. You can even use the touch pad controller in the console if you like.
What’s missing from this equation I hear you ask. SatNav. SatNav is missing. You’ll need to plug your phone in and integrate with those mirroring apps we already mentioned to get directions from Google Maps or the Apple equivalent, which is probably Google Maps.
There is a very nice interior though, featuring black and sliver trim, with piano black and carbon fibre highlights. But it’s amongst all this goodness that we find another issue, an issue that is almost a car design sin.
We speak of blank plates, the little plastic inserts that are place holders for buttons. We know they’re used by other models in the range but there’s an abundance of them. It’s like saying “you could have bought the model up but you didn’t so we’ll remind you”.
But we digress, or do we? Time to pop a coffee in the cup holder, stick it in drive and drop it into sport, which by the way is controlled with the gear selector. Wait, cup’s in the way. Cup holder is centred between centre storage bin and selector.
That’s only bad if you’re a rest your elbow on the storage bin and hold hands with the gear selector kind of driver, which some of the Exhaust Notes Australia team clearly are, but not all of us. Some like to hold hands with the steering wheel.
Those who like to hold the gear shift can simply drive with the paddles. Off we go then, as we put the foot down on the go pedal and draw power from the 110kW and 250Nm 1.5-litre D4 MIVEC DI turbocharged power plant.
You can feel it wind its way through the CVT, down to the front wheels and drop that goodness down to the hard stuff via some 18-inch donuts with tasteful two tone alloy filling.
Power delivery is actually excellent. The suspension on the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES Sport Edition is Macpherson strut with coil spring and stabiliser in the front and multi-link with stabiliser in the rear, and while that should be a great setup, it feels loose.
Not imminent death scary but enough to make it uncomfortable. Mitsubishi has your back though with a plethora of safety gear, including forward collision mitigation, emergency brake assist, air bags everywhere, cruise control and active stability control.
There’s also active traction control and anti-lock brakes, and the list goes on. The Japanese car maker has also added some cool red lines along the black skirting that sits below the aggressive angled lines of the Eclipse Cross, to signify this is the Sport Edition.
We promised to talk about the exterior styling earlier so here goes. Imagine if you will a hatchback and an SUV are melded together in that weird machine in the 1986 film called The Fly, where Jeff Goldblum and a horse fly evolve as a single being.
With the metamorphosis complete, the resulting being was given the name Eclipse Cross, and will feature a rear spoiler style split rear window, with a little glass at the bottom and a little glass at the top, spoiler in the middle.
Yes, every time you stop at lights and you want to stare down the granny you just smoked at the last intersection, you find yourself playing peak-a-boo in the rear view mirror trying to see around the line of separation from your small car to your SUV.
Overall though, despite its oddities, the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES Sport Edition is comfortable, loaded with inclusions, and ticks pretty much all the modern compact SUV boxes. The rear window/spoiler treatment is different, and will appeal to many.
It’s one of those cars that grows on you over time, and there is actually a great deal to like about it, including a 5-year warranty, capped priced servicing, and the price. It can be had for $30,990 drive away. There’s a bevy of colours too.
You can pick from Red Diamond, Starlight, Black, Lightning Blue, Titanium, White and Sterling Silver.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES Sport Edition, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.