The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is an all-new compact crossover. Coming from any other company, that may not be such big news, but Mitsubishi has been languishing in an automotive backwater for a while, trying to make a living with old vehicles like the Outlander. To come out with something fresh, then, is a promising sign.
Naturally, any car company that wants to sell stuff needs a competitive crossover, preferably not too big. The new Eclipse Cross enters a field dominated by the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, princes of the realm with high marks in everything from initial assembly to resale values.
Space-wise, the Eclipse Cross doesn’t compare so well to those rivals. But someone looking at buying a subcompact crossover while bemoaning the smaller cabin might be tempted to step up to this vehicle’s still-affordable level. And they’ll have the company’s generous 10-year/100,00-mile powertrain warranty to help them sleep easy at night.
Although the Eclipse Cross is a fresh model, it features the usual proposition with Mitsubishi vehicles. It depends on how many compromises in quality a buyer is prepared to make in the quest for lower initial pricing and levels of equipment.
What’s New for 2018?
The Eclipse Cross is completely new for this model year.
What We Like
It’s a new Mitsubishi for the right segment at the right time; interior design; warranty
What We Don’t
Some advanced driver aids are only available as options in the top trim; does anyone apart from car-company accountants like drone-prone, slow-reacting CVTs?
Propulsion comes from a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making 152 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque using regular unleaded gasoline. This connects to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The basic ES trim level has front-wheel drive as standard, but the rest of the range has all-wheel drive.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption for the front-drive ES at 26 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving. The all-wheel-drive ES achieves 25 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.
The other trim levels (with all-wheel drive) return 25 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 5-seater compact crossover is available in ES, LE S-AWC, SE S-AWC and SEL S-AWC trim levels.
The ES ($24,290) starts off with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights/taillights, fog lights, heated side mirrors, a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way adjustable front passenger seat (manual adjustment), tilt-telescopic steering-wheel adjustment, cruise control, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, a slide/recline rear seat with 60/40-split/fold function, a 7-in infotainment touchscreen, AM/FM radio, a 4-speaker audio setup, Bluetooth, a USB port and two 12-volt outlets. All-wheel drive (called S-AWC) is an extra $600.
The LE S-AWC ($25,890) adds 18-in alloy wheels, an infotainment system touchpad controller, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, voice control and two USB ports.
The SE S-AWC ($27,390) brings automatic on/off headlights, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry/ignition, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, illuminated vanity mirrors, a 6-speaker audio setup, a rear center armrest, an electronic parking brake, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a few cosmetic additions.
This trim level is also where Mitsubishi Connect kicks in. It’s a subscription service for remote locking/unlocking, parent-imposed restrictions, automatic collision notification and several other features. A free 24-month trial is provided.
The SEL S-AWC ($28,890) tops the range with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the CVT, LED headlights, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather seating surfaces, a multiview camera system and a head-up display.
This trim level is also eligible for a Touring package ($2,500), which includes a power dual-pane panoramic sunroof, black roof rails, automatic high beams, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a garage door opener, a heated steering wheel, heated seats, a 710-watt/9-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio-system upgrade, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation and lane-departure warning.
All trim levels can be fitted with a towing package, extra cosmetic details and LED cabin lighting.
Cargo space behind the rear seats is 22.6 cu ft. Folding them down increases volume to 48.9 cu ft. The optional panoramic sunroof and the upgraded audio system’s subwoofer reduce those figures slightly to 22.1 and 48.8 cubic feet, respectively.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes, traction/stability control, hill-start assistance and seven airbags (front, front side, side curtain and driver-knee).
The Eclipse Cross has yet to be crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). At the moment, it also has an incomplete score from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but it has taken top marks (Good) for the moderate front-overlap test and side-impact protection.
Behind the Wheel
Even though there are some hard plastics around and rear headroom is comprised by the sloping roof, the Eclipse Cross has a generally pleasant interior.
A tight turning circle contributes to easy maneuvering, even if steering feel from the electric system is virtually nonexistent. Ride quality is on the unrefined side, and the Eclipse Cross leans in quick corners. At higher speeds, road noise intrudes into the cabin. That may not be much of a problem, though, because this modestly powered engine runs out of motivation in the upper reaches of its rev range.
The all-wheel-drive system comes with Snow and Gravel modes.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Honda CR-V — A top choice, and exceptionally roomy. Its base model has a smaller infotainment screen than the Eclipse Cross’s, but its base engine is much larger.
2018 Ford Escape — A solid player with commendable driving manners.
2018 Kia Sportage — Becomes ever more attractive with each generation, while still offering a great equipment-to-price ratio.
2018 Hyundai Tucson — Like the Kia, keenly priced with good equipment levels and great warranties.
2018 Mazda CX-5 — Another top choice. Excellent interior and an engaging driving experience.
2018 Subaru Forester — All-wheel drive is standard, and there’s a choice of punchy engines.
2018 Toyota RAV4 — Yet another winner in this class. Spacious, refined and with many safety features as standard.
Our choice would be the SE S-AWC, because it offers plenty of amenities, including blind spot monitoring and all-wheel drive. But one of its many rivals might ultimately sway our decision.