|Positives: Improved exterior design over others in the Mitsu lineup, accessible price.|
|Negatives: Transmission and engine are utterly lackluster, too much interior cheapness, poor infotainment look and control, hard seats, confusing name.|
|Bottom Line: Though it looks the part from the outside, the new Eclipse Cross lacks the goods to stand out in a tough segment. Its lackluster driving chops coupled with a pretty low-rent interior make for an also-ran candidate for compact crossovers. Look elsewhere, and you'll find better.|
We didn't expect much from the Eclipse Cross, and we weren't disappointed because there's not much about this new crossover to get the blood rushing. It will be fine for most folks, but it qualifies as just decent transportation due to its sluggish acceleration, rough ride, and so-so handling.
Ride Quality: You can feel every bump in the road. There's not much good shock absorption going on here. It just feels generally loose and jarring. Not good.
Acceleration: The small turbo engine is decent, but the stepped CVT still seems un-sporty to us. The engine whine under hard acceleration gets annoying quickly.
Braking: The brakes are decent, and there's progression in the pedal.
Steering: The steering is light and has virtually no feedback. Turn in is ok, and it's on center, but that's about it.
Handling: cFor something this firm and small, there shouldn't be this much body roll, but there is. Disappointing.
We can't seem to get past how almost comically bad the in-car tech looks and feels, like a homework assignment done by my kid right before bed because he had no desire to do it.
Infotainment System: The small screen looks washed out even when it's overcast outside. The graphics are dated (and it's a new system), and the colors make it look cheap. It also kept pairing and unpairing during our test drives, which was incredibly distracting.
Controls: Though the climate controls are ok, the lack of any physical audio knobs were really frustrating. The tiny sensory buttons on the screen's perimeter were hard to actuate and were also hard to reach while driving. Why are carmakers still doing this? The Lexus Enform-like touchpad doesn't help matters due to its vagueness.
Though the Eclipse cross tries to be edgy, it ends up just looking weird. Too much angularity wrapped around a still boring shape. It just ends up looking cheap both inside and out.
Front: The top half of the fascia with the grille and headlights looks attractive enough, but it's all sullied by the overstyled lower half with too much chrome, oversized foglight housings, and general busyness.
Rear: The big taillight bar that splits the rear window is just too much. It looks far too top heavy and awkward from this view.
Profile: From this view, it looks mispropotioned because of the angular back end, which makes it seem chopped off. The angle of the greenhouse is too steep, and the small wheels don't fill the wheel wells especially well.
Cabin: While the interior is certainly better than other Mitsu models, the overuse of shiny piano black everywhere makes it seem cheap.
No one should expect a crossover of this size to be commodious. Compact crossovers are, after all, compact. But the interior of the Eclipse Cross is even smaller than we expected.
Front Seats: The fabric is rough, and the seats are hard. These are the only occupants to get some modicum of room.
Rear Seats: Legroom is tight unless you send the 2nd row all the way back. Headroom is too short due to the severly sloping greenhouse. At least the seats recline, though.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): There's not much sound deadening, and the engine whine and road noise make things tiresome.
Visibility: The view out the front and sides is good, but the split rear windshield and huge pillars make rearwad visibility a real challenge.
Climate: The climate system work pretty well, blowing cold air on a hot Chicago day.
The Eclipse Cross hasn't been thoroughly tested. The IIHS has done partial testing, though The list of safety features standard on the vehicle is decent, but others like the Toyota RAV4 come with more.
IIHS Rating: No rating due to the fact that only two tests were conducted (moderate front overap and side impact), but at least it attained "good" in those two categories.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: The SE comes standard with Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. There's no automatic braking, not even optionally.
Optional Tech: None.
Overall gear storage in the cabin is good, but cargo space in the Eclipse Cross is mediocre, at best. Competitors in this class do way better.
Storage Space: The cubby in front of the shifter is convenient, as is the medium-sized armrest compartment.
Cargo Room: With a mere 22.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and only 48.9 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down, the Eclipse Cross is smaller than both the Mazda CX-5 and the Honda CR-V.
We think a small-displacement 4-cylinder turbo mill should get better gas mileage than this.
Observed: 23.1 mpg
Distance Driven: 108 miles
Driving Factors: Granted we pushed the Eclipse Cross and tried the "shifting" the stepped transmission often and aggressively, but there seemed almost no point in doing so.
Our tester didn't have an upgraded audio system, but it sure needed it since the stock system here is hollow, lacks power, and generally sounds unimpressive.