Mitsubishi plays Qashqai: meet the new 2018 Eclipse Cross

Published: 10 March 2017

► First pictures of Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
► Spearheads rebranding as SUV specialist
► Sits between ASX and Outlander

Here’s our first look at the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, a new mid-size SUV to take on the Kugas and Qashqais of this world. It’s made its official debut at the 2017 Geneva motor show, and goes on sale in the UK early in 2018.

More importantly, as previously reported in CAR, it’s the first of five new SUVs planned for 2021 as part of Mitsubishi’s new positioning as an SUV specialist.

In size it’s positioned between the compact ASX crossover and the big seven-seater Outlander. Pricing and UK specifications are still being decided – we’ll find out later in 2017.

What do we know about the Eclipse Cross?

It’s a C-segment SUV, with an electronically-controlled 4wd system designed to juggle the level of torque sent to the rear wheels depending on driving conditions and road surface. Mitsubishi calls it Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC), and it includes active yaw control (made famous in the Lancer Evo), albeit activated by the braking system in this particular car. 

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

There are two engine choices at launch. A new 1.5-litre direct-injection turbo petrol is mated to an equally new CVT transmission with an eight-speed manual override. 

Mitsubishi says that the company’s existing 2.2-litre common-rail turbodiesel has been modified specifically for the Eclipse Cross and is paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Mitsubishi claims the addition of a front three-point tower brace and the use of structural bonding, in particular at the rear of the bodyshell, has increased body rigidity. This has enabled more precise suspension tuning, resulting in handling and stability gains. 

Any electronic gizmos?

The Eclipse Cross is fitted with the Smartphone Link Display Audio system, which supports Apple Car Play and Android Auto, operated through the centre console’s touchpad controller. A head-up display is another feature – whether it’ll be standard on all models, or just higher trim levels, is still TBC.

We had a play with the touchpad inside the car on the showstand at Geneva – it feels like a cross between the scribe function on certain high-end BMWs and Audis and the mouse-style controller in Lexus models – only far easier to use than the latter. It’s intuitive to get the hang of, and on first impressions feels like it’ll be possible to use without taking your eyes from the road. 

See the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: unveiled at the 2017 Geneva motor show

Okay, tell me more about Mitsubishi’s wider plans

Last year, Mitsubishi’s incoming design boss Tsunehiro Kunimoto told CAR of his plans to establish a stronger design identity, as previewed by the eX concept which offered a taster of the B-segment SUV set to duke it out with the Juke in 2019. Kunimoto has impeccable form in this arena, having played a key role in the hugely successful Juke while at Nissan. The Eclipse Cross is the first production car Kunimoto-san has had a hand in from start to finish.

Next up is the larger Outlander replacement that follows in 2018. By our reckoning, that leaves two more SUVs to come in the following two years. Clearly, they will be busy at Mitsubishi for a while.

Click here for our full A-Z of all the important new cars at the show.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

By Martin Tilbrook

Contributor to CAR, winner of Phil Llewellin award for budding writers

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