ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS
Mitsubishi has a strong heritage in producing four wheel drive and SUV models and would you believe their first four wheel drive was introduced way back in 1936? Right now, they have an attractive SUV range which has been swelled by the arrival of the new Eclipse Cross, a thoroughly modern mode of transport which bristles with technology. Currently one engine is offered, a very bright and responsive 1.5 litre petrol, with no plans at present to include a diesel engine. For Mitsubishi, it is very much wait and see what direction the market takes regarding diesel power.
The Eclipse Cross will be joined by yet another SUV later this year, but that is another story which I will leave for now.
Three trim levels are offered, simple, 2, 3 and 4 and as way of introduction a First Edition, with only 250 produced.
What makes the new Mitsubishi stand out from its competitors and there are many. For me a strong point is the coupe-like styling, very clever in that this in no way takes away from the passenger and cargo space offered.
I would describe it as a bold look in the world if SUVs and another highlight is the two glass tailgate. When it comes to load carrying capacity, as a yardstick four golf bags can be transported, this is something very important to the Japanese and the Eclipse Cross is built in Japan.
Another feature which will be welcomed by many is a panoramic sunroof, very useful to brighten up those too many gloomy days that we have to suffer. Available on trim level 4. The cabin is driver focused and for the driver it has a distinct cockpit feel, something which I, along with many others, enjoy.
On the road; and I had the opportunity to drive both a two wheel drive version and a four wheel drive, the latter gets my vote.
Noted earlier the new petrol engine, quite a performer with an out put of 163PS. The CVT version which features eight speeds is the equal match and I enjoyed a very rewarding drive over some demanding roads in Derbyshire including the famed Snake Pass.
Rest to 62mph (100kph) comes up in 10.3 seconds with the manual transmission and the CVT knocks a full second of that figure and top speed – 127mph (204kph). With a rigid chassis, the ride is just a trifle on the hard side, but in no way harsh and with disc brakes fitted all round, stopping power is good.
In this age of technology, for many it is not enough to leave it at home or the office, it has to be mobile and this new Mitsubishi is right up there, Apple Car Play and Android Auto with all the services they offer.
Now for something different, as there is no Satnav system as we have come to know. Instead for their new SUV, Mitsubishi ask you to rely on your Smartphone and for navigation purposes, it is surprisingly effective. I did get to use it and if I have had more time I might have become something of an expert. Using Siri you simply tell the system where you want to go and hey presto. Perhaps one little problem, you must have a Smartphone; I am told that more than eighty percent of the population have such. Another smart feature is a touch pad controller; once you experience this it makes a lot of sense, just another nice touch in this value for money SUV.
Which brings me to the all important subject of cost and in this respect Eclipse Cross stacks up very well against the competition. Price range, £21,275 (€23,998)- £27,900(€31,470) with the First addition listed at £29,750.( €33,556). N.I. In the R.O.I., the Eclipse Cross starts from €27,900
Summing up from the company that gave us twelve Dakar Rally wins and five WRC victories, the new Eclipse Cross is a winner in my book. I applaud the styling, technology and of course value for money in its class.