New car review: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross LS FWD

An easy to drive car which buyers should find appealing.

Mitsubishi has given the Eclipse Cross range a bit of a freshen up including adding a new entry-level ES specification and a Black Edition model that sports black body highlights and black 18” alloys, both of the newcomers in 2WD only.

And the LS we tested gains power window switch illumination and window auto open/close from the driver’s position, plus the company’s Active Yaw Control system.

This system monitors several operating parameters including engine torque, steering angle, vehicle yaw rate, and wheel speeds so it can control driving and braking forces to improve cornering ability and vehicle stability.

Our test car felt a little sharper and happier to change directions when pressing on through winding roads than we recall of the previous iteration that would have eventually succumbed to mild understeer.

eclipse cross exceed

There’s some mild but controlled body roll, and the steering still has a slightly numb and artificial feel. But most buyers are likely to give a tick of approval to the blend of cosseting ride that copes well with most road imperfections, and the small SUV’s confident and improved handling qualities.

Like all other variants, the front-drive LS (only Exceed models offer an AWD version) is powered by a 1.5-litre MIVEC direct-injection turbo-petrol engine good for 110kW and 250Nm according to the maker. It performs with more verve than numbers alone and the engine’s small capacity might suggest.

It gets off the line smartly enough and feels solid through the mid-range only starting to lose interest about 1000rpm below its 6000rpm redline. The CVT auto feels less ‘rubbery’ than some CVTs we have experienced and there’s eight pre-set ratios for manual selection via paddles or stepped shifting under hard acceleration.

The interior has a comfortable, practical and spacious feel with back-row seating capable of sliding fore and aft and flat split-folding. Mitsubishi only supplies a spacesaver spare wheel and the crossbar over the rear hatch window causes some rearward visibility issues. A reversing camera and park sensors help though when parking.

Safety features include lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, auto high-beam, and seven airbags. If a heads-up display and blind-spot monitoring are on the wish list, then you will need to look at an Exceed.

All in all, it’s an easy car to drive and most buyers should find it an appealing small SUV to live with.

eclipse cross exceed

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $31,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • ENGINE: 1.5-litre, turbo-petrol 4-cyl
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: 5 stars
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 165
  • FOR: Space, cosseting ride, easy to drive, practical.
  • AGAINST: Numb steering, spacesaver, rear vision restrictions, no blind-spot monitoring.