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Our Eclipse Cross SUV: the Moody family test

Published: 08 January 2019

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

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.

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