What is the ultimate test of a family car? For me, it’s the ability to travel long distances in relative comfort, while also swallowing a large amount of luggage. To see if our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross fulfils that brief, I travelled more than 2,000 miles during the holidays to Wrocław, in south-west Poland, and back.
Getting there meant driving through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, before crossing into Poland. It’s a total journey time of almost 14 hours not counting stops, but the car performed well on the smooth Continental roads.
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The 1.5-litre petrol engine has felt more than powerful enough during my time with the SUV, but I was wondering how it would fare on the Autobahn. I needn’t have worried because the Eclipse Cross easily coped with the higher speeds. While you do have to build up overtakes in advance, especially with cars often approaching at a rapid rate in the outside lane, it never really felt short on power. The seats were also comfortable throughout the trip.
Things weren’t so good driving around town itself, though. Wrocław is a fantastic city, but the roads come in all shapes and sizes. From cobbles to potholes, it’s not a smooth driving experience in any car, but was very unpleasant in the Mitsubishi. Rough terrain is its Achilles’ heel and each bump shook the cabin violently.
Economy remains an issue. I’d previously struggled to average more than 30mpg and things didn’t really change on the longer trip. Yes, the car was weighed down with plenty of luggage, but I expected more than 33mpg.
We heard from a reader whose ‘3’-spec Eclipse Cross has halogen bulbs, and he finds they fail to adequately light up the road. Our top-spec ‘4’ example comes with LEDs and they do a good job of showing the way.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: second report
Thirsty engine counts against the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross as we compare it to the larger Outlander PHEV
Our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross fulfils the family SUV brief in most departments: it’s proving to be practical, the seats are comfortable and it’s durable. But it also needs to be cheap to run and that’s where it falls behind some rivals.
I’m struggling to average much above 32mpg, which means plenty of trips to the pump and plenty of times I’ve had to open my wallet. Its main competitors in this sector all have low-powered petrol and economical diesel options for those who do a lot of miles.
The Eclipse Cross is limited in the fact that the 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine is currently the only power unit on offer. There are no diesel or hybrid options here.
To see what might have been, I’ve racked up a few miles in the larger Outlander PHEV, which has a 2.4-litre petrol engine and two electric motors. Being able to plug it in to charge and cruise around in EV mode meant I didn’t even have to fuel the PHEV in my time with it.
Given the Outlander PHEV’s enormous success, it seems strange that Mitsubishi hasn’t yet got an Eclipse Cross hybrid to market. I’m sure it would be a big hit if it could match the economy figures of its bigger brother.
Despite the economy woes, the engine excels in most other ways. Although the Eclipse Cross is a heavy SUV, the 161bhp output means it never really feels underpowered. It’s quiet and refined at lower revs, while offering decent punch, thanks to its 250Nm of torque. The manual box on our Eclipse Cross is also a much better fit than the CVT auto.
I’m planning a long trip across Europe this winter and am confident the Eclipse Cross will provide a comfortable journey. But my biggest concern remains just how often I’ll have to stop at the pumps to fill up.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: first report
We get the keys to the mid-sized Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross crossover, and initial impressions are mixed
Mitsubishi introduced the Eclipse Cross last year to plug a gap between the smaller ASX and larger Outlander, with the goal of stealing sales from some of the major players in the small SUV class. But this is one of the most competitive sectors out there, with a host of talented rivals, including the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008.
So how does the newcomer stack up, and does it meet the needs of family life? I’ve taken delivery of a new Eclipse Cross to see how it performs as a family car, and with my son fast approaching his first birthday, the SUV is sure to be put to task over the coming months.
I picked up the keys from West London Mitsubishi in Barnes, and was shown around the car by sales executive Karrar Alsaidi. The Eclipse Cross is still quite rare on UK roads and seeing it in the metal I think it’s safe to describe the exterior design as a bit hit and miss.
At the rear, the horizontal bar that splits the two panes of glass and the panel line running down the side give it an ungainly appearance. However, the front is attractive and the LED daytime running lights add to its visual appeal.
Karrar guided me through the infotainment system and, although ours is a top-spec car, I was disappointed to hear that there’s no sat-nav. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, so I’ll need to keep a cable in the cabin at all times and rely on Apple Maps instead. It is unusual for a car in this class not to feature sat-nav, and in fact it’s not even on the Eclipse Cross’s options list.
The large glass sunroof lets plenty of light in, making the interior feel larger and roomier than it actually is, while the nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system is powerful and produces an even sound throughout the cabin. I’m also a fan of head-up displays and, while the set-up on our Mitsubishi is pretty basic, it does the job well.
I’ve only really had a chance to drive the Eclipse Cross around town so far, and initial impressions suggest it struggles to soak up bumps or potholes. The ride feels jittery on anything other than smooth tarmac. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs on longer journeys when I get out of London, where I live, and on to some motorways.
There’s currently only one engine option, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo with 161bhp and 250Nm of torque. It’s peppy and feels more than able to cope with the car’s 1,455kg bulk. Driving in town, the Mitsubishi never feels underpowered, and it definitely seems quicker than the quoted 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds suggests.
When we’ve tested the Eclipse Cross in the past, we found the CVT auto box compromised the driving experience, so we’ve gone for the manual option instead. This version is not available with four wheel drive, but overall it’s a much better set-up. If only the gearstick were better positioned; it’s mounted to the left of the rather high handbrake, which is a little confusing and will take some getting used to.
Whenever I travel with my young son the car is usually packed to the rafters with a child seat, buggy, travel cot, changing bags and much, much more, so the Mitsubishi has to deliver here.
The flexible rear seat arrangement should help maximise the car’s potential because you can move the seats back or forth to increase load space or legroom for passengers in the rear. With the seats slid forwards, the boot is capable of swallowing 448 litres. While that’s not a class-leading capacity, it’s more than enough for me, for now.
And because we’ve gone for the top-spec ‘4’ model, I’m happy to report that our car comes with a level of safety tech that would please any family driver. The list includes lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation with auto braking and a reversing camera. The latter has already proven really useful when squeezing into a tight space.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.