Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross long-term test review: report 1

Mitsubishi has plenty of experience with SUVs, but can its latest effort, the Eclipse Cross, go toe-to-toe with the class leaders? Our junior photographer has four months to find out...

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross parked on a dramatic landscape

The car Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5 3 2WD Run by Max Edleston, junior photographer

Why it’s here To prove that Mitsubishi can fight among the best in the hotly contested family SUV class

Needs to Be comfortable and economical for long trips and function as a photographer’s mobile office when needed

Price £23,495 Price as tested £24,295 Mileage 3506 Official economy 40.4mpg (WLTP) Test economy 32.4mpg Options fitted Red Diamond paint (£800) Contract hire £283.14 per month Insurance group 19 Typical insurance quote £580 per year

22 July 2019 – The Eclipse Cross joins our fleet

When someone says the word ‘Mitsubishi’ to me, I immediately get flashbacks of sitting in my living room playing Need For Speed Underground on my PlayStation 2 in the early 2000s. Racing my bright blue Mitsubishi Lancer around the streets of whatever urban metropolis the game was based around, I felt like the proverbial bee’s knees. 

And as my love for racing games grew, so too did my love of the Mitsubishi brand, and subsequently I’d create more bright blue Mitsubishis, such as the Evo VIII and Evo X performance saloons, and of course the Eclipse coupé, too. I was fascinated by their looks, sound and performance. And when Mr Clarkson praised the Evo VIII on Top Gear some years later, I was completely sold.

Fast-forward about 15 years and I’ve grown up and left my dreams of loud, raucous Mitsubishi-badged racers behind me. But that doesn’t mean I need to forget about the brand altogether in my search for family-friendly motoring, because Mitsubishi also makes SUVs, and its newest, the Eclipse Cross, looks sorely tempting.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross side

With a historic name and funky looks, it turned my head when shopping for my next company car, even amid such company as the Skoda Karoq and Nissan Qashqai. How, I wondered, would a modern Mitsubishi compare with my childhood memories? Would it hold the same excitement that so captivated me in my younger years? Time to find out.

And so here we are, my new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. It’s significantly more expensive than the Suzuki Vitara I had previously, with an on-the-road price of £23,495 compared with the Suzuki’s £19,799, but is also from the class above, being a family SUV rather than a small one. So with its extra space, increased performance (for I have a 161bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine here, over the 1.0-litre engine of my Vitara) and higher-quality interior, the Eclipse Cross should be a perfect fit for the lifestyle of a roving What Car? photographer.

First, to the engine, and during our first few miles together, it certainly seems pokey enough to cope with both the urban cut-and-thrust and faster roads. But what ended up impressing me especially about my old Vitara was its fuel economy, so I will interested to see how the larger Eclipse Cross compares. Because when you’re setting off at 5am for a full day of driving and snapping, the last thing you want is to be forever pulling over for more petrol. The official figures suggest I should be seeing upwards of 40mpg on most journeys, but so far I have yet to surpass 33mpg.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rear

Certainly, the Eclipse Cross’ styling has been turning heads. You simply can't fail to miss it, with its sharp-looking front and unusually jagged rear. I have to admit I found the latter a little jarring when the car first arrived, but I’m warming to it with every day that passes. I wonder whether it will grow to become one of my favourite features over the coming months.

My Eclipse Cross isn’t wanting for kit, either, because in mid-range 3 trim it's already filled to the brim with the kind of kit I’d usually expect to pay extra for. Heated seats, keyless entry, parking sensors – they’re all present here. In fact, looking at Mitsubishi’s online configurator, there are only a few options you can choose from. One of those is a paint upgrade, and even though the Red Diamond of my car is the most expensive choice, at £800, I already think it’s worth it. Certainly, one of the many things I’ve learned since becoming a What Car? photographer is that brightly coloured cars stand out so much more, whether on a page or on a screen. 

In my company, the Eclipse Cross is in for a life of variation, where no two days will be the same. And I’ll be looking to see if, at the end of it all, this SUV is worthy of a name that meant so much to a small boy sitting in front of his PlayStation all those years ago.

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