The compact SUV market was red-hot last year and rife with a multitude of competitors and Mitsubishi has reacted with a new, sporty exterior redesign for its Eclipse Cross 2022 that is eye-catching and a favorite in any industry beauty contest.
After bypassing major changes in 2021 – the third year after being introduced in the US – Mitsubishi has given the five-passenger, four-door Eclipse Cross SUV a sleeker, more sculpted look with a rising beltline and reconfiqured front and rear fascia, and looked impressive with classic Red Diamond paint.
The spacious interior also received a makeover with comfortable, adjustable front seats, a new 8.0-inch dashboard touchscreen inched closer to the driver for easier access.
It came loaded with technology features like standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration that provides navigation links for TomTom mapping and traffic information GPS.
A touchpad controller utilizes knobs for audio. The dimpled black plastic materials didn’t look cheap and there is brushed aluminum for a simple and clean appearance. A heads-up-display is readable in bright sunlight with sunglasses on.
We test drove top trim SEL 1.5T S-AWC, above ES, LE and SE trims, with seven options costing $4,480, including $3,095 for the Touring Package/Exterior and $190 for a Welcome Package including a touch-up paint pen.
S-AWC means Super All-Wheel Control and it showed up in the handling (front-wheel drive is on some trims) which was responsive and controlled. The ride on 18-inch wheels included a newly tuned suspension system that handled big bumps well but also registered continuous road feedback, like a sports sedan.
Driver safety aids are strong, helping earn the Eclipse Cross a top government crash safety rating. However, the rear cross traffic alert was not loud enough with the radio turned on.
The turbo-engine feels sluggish and mileage was poor, especially given the low horsepower. An 8-step sport mode lets drivers shift manually and helps holds rpms longer.
The nicely sized cabin lacks knick-knack spaces with only cupholders, map pockets, a two-tier glove dept and tray under climate controls and outlets. Mitsubishi claims it is the first manufacturer to provide Diamond Premium Care – a deodorizing and disinfectant spray to protect against viruses and bacteria.
The generously sized cargo area has a couple storage cubicles and contains a compact spare tire. Rear seats fold easily.
Towing limit is 1,500 pounds and it has a strong 10,000 mile/10-year limited powertrain warranty. Eclipse Cross is assembled in Japan and China.
At a Glance
LIKES: Handling, spacious cabin/cargo areas, versatility, looks, price
DISLIKES: Underpowered engine, ride, miles per gallon
BOTTOM LINE: Comfort and good looks, not a speedster or fuel sipper
Fact File: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5 S-AWC
1.5-liter, DOHC, 4-cylinder, direct injection
152-hp @ 5,500 rpm
184-lbs.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
Continuously Variable w/8-speed sport mode
25-mpg city/26 hwy
15.8-gallon tank, regular
0-60 in 8.6 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.