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2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: New Car Review

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross moves into its second year, offering buyers a compact crossover with reasonable pricing. Fortunately, it’s also been given a contemporary design that is arguably at least as pleasing as most of this class.

Speaking of rivals, the Eclipse Cross competes in 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. 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.

The Eclipse Cross 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 2019?

After making its debut last year, the only real difference in the Eclipse Cross for 2019 is that the window switch panels of the second-from-lowest LE trim are now gloss black.

What We Like

It’s a fresh Mitsubishi for the right segment at the right time; interior design; warranty

What We Don’t

Some advanced driver aids are only available as an option in the top trim; does anyone apart from car company accountants like drone-prone, slow-reacting CVTs?

How Much?

$24,590–$29,190

Fuel Economy

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 employs 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 city, 29 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. 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 and Options

The 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 5-seater compact crossover is available in ES, LE S-AWC, SE S-AWC and SEL S-AWC trim levels.

ES ($24,590) starts off with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights/taillights, fog lights, heated side mirrors, 6-way adjustable driver’s seat/4-way adjustable front passenger seat (manual adjustment), tilt-telescopic steering wheel adjustment, cruise control, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, rearview camera, slide/recline rear seat with 60/40-split/fold function, 7-in infotainment touchscreen, AM/FM radio, 4-speaker audio setup, Bluetooth, USB port and two 12-volt outlets. All-wheel drive (called S-AWC) is an extra $600.

LE S-AWC ($26,190) adds 18-in alloy wheels, infotainment system touchpad controller, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, voice control and two USB ports.

SE S-AWC ($27,690) brings automatic on/off headlights, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry/ignition, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, illuminated vanity mirrors, 6-speaker audio setup, rear center armrest, 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.

SEL S-AWC ($29,190) tops the range with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the CVT, LED headlights, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather seating surfaces, multi-view camera system and a head-up display.

This trim level is also eligible for a Touring package ($2,500) that includes a powered dual-pane panoramic sunroof, black roof rails, automatic high beams, self-dimming rearview mirror, garage door opener, heated steering wheel, heated seats, 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 (maximum towing capability is 1,500 pounds), 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 reduces those figures slightly to 22.1 and 48.8 cu ft. respectively.

Safety

Standard safety kit includes anti-lock brakes, traction/stability control, hill-start assistance and seven airbags (front, front side, side curtain and driver’s knees).

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 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 compromised somewhat 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 non-existent. Ride quality is on the unrefined side, and the Eclipse Cross leans when going through quick corners. At higher speeds, road noise intrudes into the cabin. That may not be much 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

2019 Honda CR-V — A top choice and exceptionally roomy. Its base model has a smaller infotainment screen than the Eclipse Cross, but its standard engine is much bigger.

2019 Ford Escape — A solid player with commendable driving manners.

2019 Kia Sportage — Becomes ever more attractive with each generation, while still offering a great equipment-to-price ratio.

2019 Hyundai Tucson — Like the Kia, keenly priced with good equipment levels and great warranties. Updated for 2019.

2019 Jeep Cherokee — Offers a V6 for extra towing abilities and comes with Jeep-appropriate off-roading talent. Also updated for 2019.

2019 Mazda CX-5 — Another top choice. Excellent interior and an engaging driving experience. And yet another Eclipse Cross rival that’s been updated for 2019.

2019 Subaru Forester — All-wheel drive is standard. An all-new generation of this perennial favorite debuts for 2019.

2019 Toyota RAV4 — Another winner in this class. Spacious, refined and with many safety features as standard. The RAV4 has also received a substantial revision for 2019.

Used Acura RDX — Space, luxury and impeccable build quality. A certified pre-owned (CPO) model will have a reassuring warranty.

Autotrader’s Advice

Apologies for trotting out the well-worn "you get what you pay for" cliché, but any savings an Eclipse Cross buyer might make at the outset could well be negated come resale time, when competitors like the Honda HR-V can command higher figures. For those years in between, this could be an amenable form of personal transportation, but not necessarily a hugely enjoyable one. The SE trim has a decent amount of equipment for the price, including all-wheel drive and blind spot monitoring, so if we were set on buying an Eclipse Cross, that would be our ideal choice. However, this class is rich with alternatives.

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