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Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – performance plus practicality

  • Written by Narend Sooknarine
  • Published in Launches

During the 90s into 00s the Mitsubishi Eclipse sports coupé was very popular in the US market, and was eventually overtaken by the Lancer Evolution, which brought more practicality to the market. Die-hard fans will remember protagonist Paul Walker’s green, nitrous-equipped, Eclipse from the first The Fast & The Furious movie. But even in the movie series, Paul started a family– which is probably the reality of the movie fan base today as yesteryear’s 18-34s are today’s 35-55s. Thus, it makes sense that Mitsubishi saw it fit to name its latest performance-infused crossover the Eclipse Cross, a name that fans can relate to. Despite, its practical life pretences, we think that when people drive it, they are going to come away with a smirk emoticon plastered on their faces. 

 
The Eclipse Cross shows off lots of modern features throughout its exterior design. It blends angular surfaces with gentle slopes resulting in a distinctive front fascia, side profile and rear quarters. Its hatchback design necessitates a double window to maintain rear visibility– yet another differentiating styling element in the process. Something about its new look reminds us of the Lamborghini Urus– the Eclipse Cross’s rather wide hips certainly don’t lie. And with competitors aging past their planned midlife facelifts, it enters the market at a time when nothing on our local roads looks quite like it. 

...with competitors aging past their planned midlife facelifts, it enters the market at a time when nothing on our local roads looks quite like it.

 
Like a few other vehicles in the ANSA Motors lineup, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes with a 1.5-litre, direct injection, dual-overhead cam, turbocharged four-cylinder engine (4B40) with MIVEC, good for [email protected] and 250ft-lb of torque at 1800-4500rpm. So while we don’t expect the Eclipse Cross to be an Autobahn superstar, we can confirm that the new engine is quite responsive (thanks to its 10:1 compression ratio), turbo lag is minimal, and acceleration and midrange punch is strong for such small displacement. The engine note isn’t bad either and it seems that Mitsubishi has opted to make this engine the standard one throughout the world. It is LEV III and ULEV70 certified and is able to run comfortably on 92 Super unleaded fuel. Efficiency and responsiveness are further enhanced by the eight-speed CVT transmission with Tiptronic-style sport mode and steering-mounted paddle shifters.

...the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes with a 1.5-litre, direct injection, dual-overhead cam, turbocharged four-cylinder engine (4B40) with MIVEC, good for [email protected] and 250ft-lb of torque at 1800-4500rpm.

 
At Diamond Motors’ open day launch event, we managed to sneak in a nearly complete test drive on our midday jaunt through Port-of-Spain and environs. Wary of being underwhelmed by the typical crossover’s at-the-limit performance, we set out to sample the handling dynamics of the Eclipse Cross. We were able to negotiate the corners on one of our favorite hilly winding roads with sporty car-like prowess. At the limit, the steering gave some useful feedback letting me know when the generous 225/55R18 Toyo Proxes tyres (fitted on 18x7-inch factory alloy wheels) began to lose grip, and even then, the Eclipse Cross never veered from its intended path– nice to know that they kept some sport DNA infused!


A quick look under the hood revealed a factory-fitted strut tower brace, beefy front and rear torsion bars, and an engine that is mounted fairly low in the bay, sitting atop the front axle, and canted rearward for better weight distribution. Up front the Eclipse Cross uses McPherson struts, while the rear features a multi-link setup for excellent stability and road holding. On our regular road test route, the Eclipse Cross eagerly made light work of whatever we threw at it in the limited time we drove. 

 

It seems that Mitsubishi did their homework with the car’s mechanical suspension tuning and natural grip levels.

It seems that Mitsubishi did their homework with the car’s mechanical suspension tuning and natural grip levels. This was evident in our 60km/h stability control checks. With the ASC system turned off, the car can be coaxed into oversteer with sharp applications of steering, necessitating equally sharp manual corrections– they’ve evidently configured it to turn! With the system left on, things play out as expected– the brakes are individually applied to maintain directional stability and lower speeds, making it easy for the driver to maintain control. Our 60km/h panic stop was completed with ease and efficiency, surpassing our expectations in the process. To make a long story short, you should enjoy your Maracas drive! 

 
Inside the highlights continue, leading with one of the coolest heads up displays we’ve seen in a long while. The jet-fighter style screen unfolds upward and you can tailor its angle to ensure it meets your line of sight via a small adjustment switch. This allows you to track vehicle speed and a few other vitals without taking your eyes off the road. The interior design treatment is fresh and modern, with the central touch screen and A/C vents protruding out of the dashboard area, and lots of carbon-fibre-looking plastic trim. 

The jet-fighter style screen unfolds upward and you can tailor its angle to ensure it meets your line of sight via a small adjustment switch.


Both driver and passenger sunshades feature lit vanity mirrors at the back. The rear armrest features dual drink holders, and the rear seat backs can be folded down in 60:40 split fashion.


We didn’t quite get a chance to evaluate the audio system in terms of playing our favorite test tracks, but we feel confident that with some equalizer adjustments it will be up to most people’s basic factory audio expectations. The system will also accept Bluetooth pairings with your smartphone to allow hands free calling and audio playback. 

 
In terms of safety features, we must mention the highly effective blind spot warning indicators on the side mirrors and the rear cross traffic alert system to assist you when reversing out of a parking spot. Disc brakes are provided at all four corners with four-channel, four-sensor ABS, electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and brake assist. As mentioned before, there is also an active stability control system. An auto hold feature for hills is also standard, along with an electronic parking brake. Integrated daytime running lights and fog lamps ensure that your vehicle will be seen when visibility is low or when long shadows are cast during the daytime. Both driver and passenger are protected by standard airbags, the driver gets an additional knee airbag. A full-sized spare tyre is also provided. Opt for the fully loaded version and you’ll also get the panoramic glass sunroof, moon roof, leather interior and the forward collision mitigation system (FCM).

...we must mention the highly effective blind spot warning indicators on the side mirrors and the rear cross traffic alert system...

 

Opt for the fully loaded version and you’ll also get the panoramic glass sunroof, moon roof, leather interior and the forward collision mitigation system (FCM).

While some enthusiasts will cry blasphemy for the use of the Eclipse name in a crossover, we think if they drive it they will probably have a total eclipse of the heart. The Eclipse Cross delivers a solid, sporty driving experience, while offering more practicality than any sport coupe ever could. The Mitsubishi faithful will also enjoy the new Eclipse Cross thanks to the combination of its modern looks, torquey engine, additional space, state of the art technology. Introductory prices from local agents, Diamond Motors start at TT$279K for the well-equipped fabric interior version, while the fully loaded leather Eclipse Cross will set you back an additional TT$16K at TT$295K on the road. 

 

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