Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed 2WD

Experience tells us that the best test of a new vehicle is to take it out and drive it as the manufacturer intended.

In the instance of the new-to-market Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross compact SUV, a day driving an Exceed two-wheel-drive model around Hobart’s outer environs and nearby Bruny Island fitted the bill nicely, being typical of a drive that a couple or young family might make on a long weekend.

But, first, take a read of the story behind the story.

The 1.5-litre MIVEC direct-injection turbo petrol four-cylinder is not especially powerful, but it punches above the sum of its 110kW instantly, with only light throttle application needed.

The Eclipse Cross was a delight to drive around Hobart town, and proved just as adept scaling the 40km climb from the CBD to the top of the imposing Mt Wellington (pictured), thanks to a broad torque spread that produces its best at just 1800rpm. Unlike some CVTs, the eight-step unit in the Eclipse Cross feels less ‘artificial’ and more like a conventional automatic transmission.

On the roads around Bruny Island, the ride quality proved impressively supple – particularly for 18-inch wheels – over a variety of surfaces. NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) was largely well-contained, the exception being on ubiquitous coarse chip bitumen which produced the usual tyre ‘roar’ that is the case with most cars.

Towards Coal Point, the road morphed into a succession of twists and turns, dips and dives, allowing the Eclipse’s handling prowess to be examined closely. We can report it turns in incisively, grips well and corners with minimal body roll for an SUV of its size. Understeer can be induced, but only from overdriving. A little more steering feel would be nice, but we say that about many cars with electric power assist.

Highway cruising at a legal 110km/h on the way back to Hobart afforded the opportunity to reflect on the Eclipse Cross’ comfort levels. The seats, finished in leather, with powered adjustment for the driver, supported and cossetted in equal measure.

The cabin offers good space and airiness and presents as one of Mitsubishi’s more stylish outcomes. Connectivity is comprehensive, as is safety.

In summary, we think the Eclipse Cross puts up a compelling argument as the best SUV in Mitsubishi’s extensive SUV range.