Despite being overshadowed by the older but value-focused Mitsubishi ASX, the Eclipse Cross has the appeal to make it a popular urban SUV. It was, after all, designed to place the Japanese automaker in a more contemporary segment with its striking styling cues and new turbocharged engine, among other things.
Though it competes in the fierce mid-size SUV crossover segment, Mitsubishi does really push the 'value for money' idea here, and we recently spent time with the flagship GLS Exceed variant, which greatly benefits from the updates introduced across the Eclipse Cross range in 2021.
While we leave you to ponder on the subjective looks of our tester, Mitsubishi’s aim is to sway buyers away from rivals which sounds sensible but pretty ambitious, if we are honest.
However, as far as first impressions go, the fancier option of the breed is a big step forward for the brand.
The interior of the Eclipse Cross Exceed may start to show its age due to the generous use of plastic on the dashboard and door inserts, which look a tad bland, as well as the glossy treatment that looks shiny and of lower quality in various sections of the interior. As for the seats, they offer superior levels of comfort, yet the trim feels far from being genuine leather.
Then there’s the floating and basic 8-inch infotainment system that is also showing its age. Luckily, it's saved by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Though basic, it works in a reliable manner even if it may not meet the expectations of tech-savvy consumers looking for more advanced features. Mitsubishi has thrown a number of features inside such as front heated seats, two USB ports, a head-up display, a two-piece sunroof, an electronic parking brake, paddle shifters and a cigarette lighter.
There is sufficient space up front for large water bottles, and there are lots of storage compartments throughout the cabin. We were able to comfortably place three adults in the back for our trip to Mpumalanga. With the rear seats up, the boot space measures in at 437 litres. While it's not class-leading, it stacks well against rivals such as the Kia Seltos with 433 litres, the Toyota C-HR (328 litres), and the Peugeot 2008 (434 litres).
The 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine residing underneath the model is just another great attribute that makes the model a decent contender in the mid-size crossover segment.
With 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque channelled to the front axle via a CVT transmission, it’s a neat setup that works wonders for the SUV. Yes, CVTs are not really suited to low-torque applications, but with the added help of the turbo, the CVT gearbox proved a good match for this purpose. The whining characteristic under purposeful acceleration still exists but it’s not a deal-breaker.
On the road, there’s just enough damping making it a pleasant product to commute in and thanks to the well-insulated cabin, road noise is kept to a minimum.
While some may find the R590,000 price tag of the Eclipse Cross GLS Exceed to be on the high side, it's a competitive sticker price given the amount of equipment that comes as standard fare. Also, it comes with a 3-year/100 000km warranty, a 5-year/90 000km service plan, and 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance.
Its average fuel consumption of 7.3 litres per 100 km isn't going to win any awards for economy, but its 63-litre fuel tank should get you further than most competitors.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross GLS Exceed is a mixed bag of pros and cons. On the one hand, it has a smooth ride, a roomy cabin, and a striking design, if not appealing to all, but on the other hand, it falls short of the standards set by its new Outlander counterpart, which shows that the Japanese marque is rediscovering its form of old.
It is, however, not a bad SUV, but there are also lots of areas that could use some further refinement.