2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Preview
- New compact crossover SUV
- Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a CVT
- Standard Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel drive
- Introduces new infotainment, driver assistance, and collision avoidance technologies to the Mitsubishi lineup
- On sale in Europe in fall of 2017, other global markets thereafter
Here’s something you might not know: Last year, Nissan purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi. Granted, the $2.3 billion investment came after the new 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was already designed, engineered, and ready to roll down the assembly line, but this partnership is likely to give Mitsubishi the access to capital and talent that it desperately needs to remain viable.
Action came swiftly, too.
People don’t buy cars anymore, so Mitsubishi has decided to stop selling the Lancer, a decision following two years of styling, equipment, and drivetrain upgrades. The Mirage remains in the product plan for now, but otherwise the company will rely upon the Outlander, the Outlander Sport, and the new 2018 Eclipse Cross to forge a path forward.
Mitsubishi characterizes the 2018 Eclipse Cross as a coupe, which it is not. It is a 5-passenger compact crossover SUV equipped with four doors and a rear liftgate. Size-wise, it is smaller than the Outlander and a smidge bigger than the current Outlander Sport, which will shrink in the future.
Designed from the ground up to reflect Mitsubishi’s new “Dynamic Shield” front styling, the Eclipse Cross adds something fresh in the form of a “Dynamic and Characteristic” rear design language. This is comprised of fastback rear glass, high-mounted taillights that bisect the rear glass, and what the company calls a cubist approach to the bodywork. Mitsubishi won’t want to hear this, but from certain angles I see hints of the old Pontiac Aztek here.
Overall, the Eclipse Cross has a nose-heavy and angular appearance, with plenty of visual weight over the front axle and little over the rear wheels. It’s like someone reversed the wedge-shaped SUV into a wall at 25 mph.
Note that the red paint covering the Eclipse Cross during its Geneva debut will be a production color.
Interior design is more conventional, featuring a clean and sporty appearance rendered in black with tasteful silver finishes.
Like so many automakers, the Eclipse Cross employs a freestanding infotainment display at the top of the center stack. It is operated using a touchpad and primary function buttons located on the center console or via the touch-sensing display screen. The arrangement is not unlike what you might find in a Lexus NX, but don’t take that as a compliment to the approach.
The rear seat is a 60/40-split folding design that slides forward and back to adjust for rear leg room or cargo space, whichever might be desirable at a given time. Generally speaking, a 40/20/40-split design is better at maximizing passenger capacity with cargo-toting capability.
Mitsubishi didn’t share much detail about its new SUV, but based on photography the Eclipse Cross will be available with leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic sunroof.
Under the Hood:
A turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is the only one planned for the U.S. market, and it is paired with a continuously variable transmission featuring eight programmed ratios and manual shift control in the Sport driving mode.
Standard equipment also includes an all-wheel-drive system, which could really help to set the Eclipse Cross apart as a value if the vehicle is priced aggressively. Called Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC), the system automatically sends power to the rear wheels when necessary and incorporates Active Yaw Control at the rear wheels to improve traction and handling.
Mitsubishi promises athletic handling from its new sport utility vehicle, providing detail about a 3-point front strut tower brace as proof that the Eclipse Cross will put a smile on its owner’s face. The SUV also has a brake Auto Hold function, which could make it more enjoyable to drive in congested traffic.
Scant details about the Eclipse Cross contained no information about the vehicle’s safety. However, inspection of photography shows what appear to be controls governing an adaptive cruise control system, a blind spot monitoring system, and a lane departure warning system. It is also reasonable to expect that this new Mitsubishi will be offered with a forward collision warning system and automatic emergency braking.
The Eclipse Cross introduces a new Smartphone Link Display Audio system for Mitsubishi. It provides text-messaging support, Siri compatibility, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection technology. Navigation is available, and Mitsubishi will almost certainly offer a premium sound system for the Eclipse Cross.
A head-up display is optional, and it works similar to Mazda’s Active Driving Display system. Rather than project information on the Eclipse Cross’s windshield, a panel rises from the top of the dashboard and the information is shown on it. Mitsubishi confirms that the display provides quick access to vehicle speed and information from the active safety systems.