By Sala Masindane
The influx of SUVs has been so much so that it is sometimes difficult and tricky to choose one. Where other offerings sometimes lack character in terms of looks, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has other ideas. The Japanese manufacture was not be shy to push the envelope with bold designs when it comes to the Eclipse. The refreshing SUV slots in above the Mitsubishi ASX in the Mitsubishi line-up.
It’s no secret that the rear spoiler with a brake light gets tongues wagging and the attention of those who care to talk about it. We like it and commend the Mitsubishi designers for it. Daring design is always welcome. It is all complimented by the sloping roofline which is coupe like. While the rear steals the limelight, the front is not be ignored with a chrome grille and LED daytime running lights.
What is like inside?
This is where the designers went for a safer route in design and a practical cabin. The materials are soft-touch, and the touchscreen is the same infotainment as the one in the Datsun Go. We imagine your eyebrows are rising but that should not be case as it does not necessarily imply that it looks or feels cheap. It far from that actually. It’s a group design benefit that is designed to strike the middle ground. Anyways, it has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility through the various USB ports. There’s also Bluetooth connectivity for those without smartphones. The system is easy to use and can also be controlled on the multifunctional leather steering wheel. Other features include push start and stop, front and rear park distance control and a reverse camera
There are heated leather seats across the car with the rear seats having the functionality to slide forward and be reclined. Of course, this being a coupe style vehicle, the rear head room is compromised. Being 1.8-metres tall, I had my head fractionally touching the ceiling. Legroom is however good. The one drawback for us is the luggage space that stands at 378-litres when the seats are not folded which is critical in this segment. Thankfully that space has been taken up by the full-size spare wheel and that comes in handy in most South African roads.
Drive and Performance
Powering the compact SUV is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine which sees it pushing out 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. This paired with a six-step CVT transmission that would frustrate most petrol heads. That said, the CVT transmission is no bother if the car is not rushed. The other benefit of this transmission is fuel consumption – we managed a good return of 7.6l/100km which is better than the claimed 7.7l/100km. The setup is made even better with the addition of a turbo powered engine in the range. There was no need to use the paddle shifters or the Sports mode. The engine is at home with both city and highway driving. Despite the Eclipse feeling heavier than its rivals on twisty roads, it always feels reassuringly planted. It also won’t win you any robot-to-robot races, but the performance is good with a relatively comfortable ride on or off the road.
The Eclipse might not be everyone’s cup of tea by design standards along with the limited load bay space. However, for a starting price of R469,995 there is a whole host of standard features you get. The Mitsubishi reliability and quality are also a plus. The competitors possibly have a (practicality) edge over the Eclipse Cross, but it is worth considering.
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