Up next:

Seven months in a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: should you buy one?

Published: 05 June 2019

 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross long-termer
 We live with the new Mitsu crossover
 Regular updates on daily SUV life

Month 7 living with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: the verdict after half a year

Just prior to the Eclipse Cross leaving at the end of its seven-month spell it blotted its perfect copybook by having the temerity to get a slow puncture.

So slow in fact that the first time the tyre pressure warning bonged, I filled all four tyres and it went quiet for about 10 days. Then it bonged again, and again, and again, as the slow puncture became a medium-speed one.

Not handily at all, the realisation that this was a bit more serious than I’d thought happened at 2pm the day before I was to take the family on a 300-mile trip. I tried to get a new tyre from Kwik Fit, for whom ‘kwik’ was in fact four days, while other tyre fitters were no better.

I rang my local Mitsubishi dealer, Close of Peterborough, who said bring it in straight away, they would find a spare mechanic, and would either repair it, or take one off their demo car. Two-and-half hours later, they had removed the small nail and mended the tyre, and even given the car a full valet too. Brilliant service.

This sums up running a Mitsubishi. The cars aren’t as slick as some others, but if you want solid reliability (you really can’t blame the car for that puncture), ruggedness and no frills, as well as quick service and problem-solving spirit from dealers, then they really deliver.

The things people would struggle to live with on our car would be the CVT gearbox, weird rear styling and poor fuel consumption. I would opt for the manual to cure two of those ills, and did opt for a healthy layer of mud to mitigate the other one.

In the mildly annoying camp would be the endless alarms. Even the boot gives off a beep when you open it. Usually only those that are powered do this, but the gas-strutted manual bootlid on the Eclipse Cross does too. 

Eclipse Cross interior and infotainment

I came away impressed by the chassis, which allows the Eclipse Cross to be surprisingly nimble, and the traction from the four-wheel-drive system. I drove the car through a Lincolnshire winter, and it was only once it went back and the next car spent half its time with the traction-control light blinking that I realised what little fuss the Mitsubishi made of those roads. 

The simplicity of the infotainment (even if it looks like Sir Clive Sinclair designed it before he was a Sir), amazingly bright headlights that scare even the most suicidal deer away, rear seats that move into all sorts of yogic positions and a workmanlike, tough cabin, and the Eclipse Cross is a crossover for those who need their family daily driver to do more beefy work than just the shopping or school run.

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price £28,165
As tested £28,705
Engine 1499cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 161bhp @ 5500rpm, 184lb ft @ 1800rpm  Transmission CVT with manual mode, all-wheel drive
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph, 159g/km CO2
Miles this month 1459
Total 5971
Our mpg 30.2 
Official mpg 40.4
Fuel this month £218.76
Extra costs None

Count the cost: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross depreciation

Cost new £28,705
Private sale £21,260
Part-exchange £20,270
Cost per mile 18.7p
Cost per mile including depreciation £1.65


Month 6 of our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross long-term test review: we're visiting the petrol station too often

I do wonder about the demonisation of diesel and how all these drivers switching to petrol-engined cars are going to feel in a couple of years. Because if they’re anything like me, they are likely to be heartily sick of the sight of petrol stations and the sound of their cars bonging refuel warnings at them. They’ll be pining for the days of that rattly old diesel which did 600 miles between fill-ups.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross fuel range: you can't go far before needing to refuel

The Eclipse Cross only has a turbocharged 1.5-litre engine and I drive it pretty gently. But it barely manages 30mpg and the tank is only 60 litres. I am forever creeping about on fumes to the nearest garage.

With my last two long-term test cars, I could bear dreadful fuel consumption, because they were an AMG and a Bentley and the cost justified the glory. But this is a family runabout.

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price £28,165
As tested £28,705
Engine 1499cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 161bhp @ 5500rpm, 184lb ft @ 1800rpm  Transmission CVT with manual mode, all-wheel drive
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph, 159g/km CO2
Miles this month 1209
Total 4512
Our mpg 30.4
Official mpg 40.4
Fuel this month £218.76
Extra costs None


Month 5 living with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: school run rallycross

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: the CAR magazine long-term test review

Because of the sad life I have led over the past few months, the Eclipse has been subjected to the daily school run and not much else, which means a panicked eight-mile cross-country race against time, shouting at kids because it took half an hour to find a left shoe and a tie, or shouting internally at myself because I've forgotten the time and they're stood at the gates in the rain.

This focused, repeated use has helped give me a greater understanding of the brown bomber's performance and handling qualities. In defiance of my modest expectations, it's actually pretty good for a crossover. I had a Jaguar E-Pace for a bit and the Eclipse Cross rides much better than that, and the Mitsubishi's body control is at least as good as the Jag's.

In fact, it's something of a dark, muddy horse in this regard. Clearly it's no Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition, but you can hustle along surprisingly quickly, principally because once you turn in, it tends to roll a little at first and then settle, which gives you quite a lot of confidence. Add in the fact there's a decent amount of steering communication and accuracy, and all-wheel drive giving decent traction on even the grimiest of surfaces, and it's in danger of being fun.

Except, that is, when the gearbox gets in the way. On those days when said shoe or tie is found quickly, you can potter happily enough, in the gearbox's preferred relaxed mood. The 'steps' in the CVT work well enough. It's also okay when shoe/tie refuse to appear, and you're on it like Tommi, because the top of the rev range acts like a backstop and changes are snappy. In the middle, though, it's dreadful, mooing and wailing like a dying walrus as revs rise and fall. I tried using the paddles, but these have no discernible effect other than to torture the poor walrus still further.

The moral of the tale, then, is be full bore or be boring. And leave your bloody school shoes by the front door when you take them off.

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price £28,165
As tested £28,705
Engine 1499cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 161bhp @ 5500rpm, 184lb ft @ 1800rpm 
Transmission CVT with manual mode, all-wheel drive
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph, 159g/km CO2 
Miles this month 906
Total 3303
Our mpg 30.7
Official mpg 40.4
Fuel this month £173.64
Extra costs None


Month 4 of our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross long-term test review: simple infotainment wins

Speak to any car manufacturer and they all say that communicatainment, or whatever it’s currently called, is about the most important thing in selling a car these days. 

The wheels could be square, the seats cardboard boxes and the dynamics resemble those of a garden shed, but as long as the driver can retweet an influencer’s instacaption by just waving their hand at the dashboard, the car will fly out of showrooms. Odd, then, that most cars have systems that are crap.

The Mitsubishi has an infotainment touchscreen and touchpad system that at first glance looks like that infernally fretful effort Lexus foists on customers, and the graphics would be underwhelming on a Texas Speak & Spell.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross infotainment

However, when you start using it, something weird happens. It works beautifully. The touchpad is precise and moves across each clearly marked, logically presented section with an accurate buzz and click.

If you want to operate the screen by touch, you can rest your hand on a little ledge, which means you’re not piloting your finger in to land on an ever-moving target – so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road, as you do with so many prettier but much less practical systems.

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price £28,165
As tested £28,705
Engine 1499cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 161bhp @ 5500rpm, 184lb ft @ 1800rpm
Transmission CVT with manual mode, all-wheel drive
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph, 159g/km CO2
Miles this month 897
Total 2397
Our mpg 31.8
Official mpg 40.4
Fuel this month £169.27
Extra costs None


Month 3 living with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: baptism of fire

A test of any Moody family vehicle is its ability to haul sprogs and dogs to Cornwall and back and while there to act as a mobile dustbin, changing room and storage for bits of dead crab.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross on holiday

The sliding rear seats and fake boot floor reveal handy recesses where clothes and shoes can be stored on the 300-mile trip, safe from bored dogs, and the cabin is made from tough plastic that can stand quite a beating. One issue: the fuel economy is getting worse...

By Steve Moody

Logbook: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price £28,165  
As tested £28,705
Engine 1499cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 161bhp @ 5500rpm, 184lb ft @ 1800rpm
Transmission CVT with manual mode, all-wheel drive
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph, 159g/km CO2
Miles this month 1248
Total 2200
Our mpg 32.4
Official mpg 40.4 
Fuel this month £228.06
Extra costs None


Month 2 living with a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: it's all in the details

One month into our long-term test and it's time to delve into some of our initial thoughts. These details have already caught our eye:

That back end

It’s fair to say the Eclipse Cross’s rear aesthetic has caused controversy, drawing comments ranging from a ‘modern Pontiac Aztek-esque monstrosity’ to ‘very cool – I like it’. Personally, I’m not a great fan – it looks like a coupe was dropped on a dinghy – and the narrow track doesn’t do the thing any visual favours either. But I can live with it.

Why no sat-nav? 

Sat-nav not available on the Eclipse Cross, even as an option. It's smartphones all the way folks

Inexplicably, the Eclipse Cross doesn’t have navigation, even as an option (Apple CarPlay or Android Auto steps in instead), yet bizarrely it will tell me my longitude and latitude. Very helpful if I’m deep off Cape Horn on the Southern Ocean, but not a lot of use when I’m trying to find Nuneaton – which, sadly, is the more likely scenario.

Covering bases

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross load cover in the boot

How odd that such a seemingly irrelevant thing could be so useful. In the Mitsubishi there are no fewer than five positions for the boot cover, depending on where the rear seats are positioned or the size of cargo you want to cover, or even the option to just store it unobtrusively out of the way. Sounds trivial, but it’s tremendously handy.

Sitting comfortably

Steve Moody in the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross interior

It’s a proven scientific fact that 89.32 per cent of Japanese cars have a crap driving position. Fortunately, the Eclipse Cross falls into the 10.68 per cent that don’t. I actually fit very comfortably into it, with all limbs arranged correctly, although softer cushions and additional lumbar support wouldn’t go amiss for those longer trips.

Logbook: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Price £28,165  
As tested £28,705
Engine 1499cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 161bhp @ 5500rpm, 184lb ft @ 1800rpm  Transmission CVT with manual mode, all-wheel drive
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 124mph, 159g/km CO2  Miles this month 864
Total 1231  
Our mpg 34.8  
Official mpg 40.4
Fuel this month £144.29
Extra costs None

By Steve Moody


Month 1 of our Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross long-term test review: the start of the test

Steve Moody and the CAR magazine Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Are you bored by the unending, unimaginative ubiquity of driveways filled with crossovers near where you live? Qashqais, Kugas, Tiguans, all doing the same beige, John Lewis-y job in their own safe, predictable way? If so, then perhaps the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is the antidote. We’re going to find out by running one over the next few months, and I’d wager one thing: it will not be dull.

The Eclipse Cross, right from its slightly odd name, and onwards through design and drivetrain, challenges a sector predicated on conservatism. This might be a good thing. But then, in this safe space, where doing family tasks unobtrusively is a key requirement, maybe it’s not.

Mitsubishi’s new mid-size SUV is available in three trim levels, 2, 3 and 4 (wither 1?), and we’ve opted for the top-spec 4. Even this garlanded model retails at less than £30,000, and is stuffed so full of kit that the only accessory available other the £540 metallic paint we’ve chosen (and more of which later) is the – brace yourself – ‘classic mats’. 

On this 4 comes leather trim, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, panoramic roof, LED headlamps, parking cameras with 360º view, blind spot warning, auto cruise control, Apple CarPlay and a premium sound system by some people called Rockford Fosgate, who sound like a ’70s supergroup (name not music quality, I should add).

In the spirit of adventure, I ticked the box for the new 161bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, doing its thing in concert with four-wheel drive and, I gulped at this a bit, a CVT gearbox (below).

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross CVT gearbox

Never in the history of automotive technology have I hated a thing more than CVT gearboxes and their hysterical whiny tantrums, and I include Vauxhall Signum indicators, and the Vauxhall Signum, in that list. So this was something of a leap of faith. The CVT in the Eclipse Cross is stepped, which will apparently give the impression of a proper auto gearbox. The first half mile was undertaken with a wince and gritted teeth, but initial impressions are favourable and it seems to be behaving itself and acting more like an auto than an irritant. Phew.

But even before properly putting the Eclipse Cross to the test, it already has an advantage over all that other bland stuff in this sector, and that’s authenticity. Mitsubishi makes four-wheel drives that are tough and designed to do the job, and where we live, in a valley in the middle of nowhere surrounding by farmers and mud, this seems like the right fit.

And with such a fit in mind, I opted for a brown one (known in official circles as New Bronze) reasoning that for half the year everything round me is brown, so why not the car? This has elicited numerous responses ranging from admiration to repugnance, and – from Ben Pulman – a raised eyebrow and  an ‘are you quite sure?’ reminiscent of Roger Moore at his most quizzical.

But I am, so there. Brown is the new black. Whether the rest of the car stacks up to months of family and country rough and tumble, though, remains to be seen.

More long-term tests by CAR magazine

By Steve Moody

Contributing editor, adventurer, ideas pitcher, failed grower-upper

Comments