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Review: The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a laid-back SUV with plenty of style

But can it compete in the busy mid-size SUV market?

Image: Max Earey

THE MID-SIZE SUV market is rather crowded but the sharp styling of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross does help it stand out from rivals like the Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai and SEAT Ateca.

Mitsubishi’s new Eclipse Cross starts from €27,900 – higher than those rivals – but it does come well equipped with standard features including 16-inch alloy wheels, LED brake lights, voice control, a reversing camera and plenty of in-car tech.

Apart from being well kitted out, the Eclipse Cross is well designed too with practical space and cubby holes in the cabin. The 448-litre capacity boot can swell to 1,140 litres with the rear seats tumbled.

Again, it doesn’t quite hit the mark of the rivals (the Qashqai is 430 to 1,585 litres, the Tucson is 488 to 1,478 litres and the Ateca is 510 to 1,604 litres) but it does have a nice wide opening and an almost flat loading bay with the rear seats folded.

Source: Max Earey

Where it does trump the competition, in my opinion, is in the style stakes. The front end looks sharp and the defined wheel arches give the car a purposeful look. The deep cut in the side draws your eye up to the lovely sloping roofline.

Thankfully, that sloping roof doesn’t impinge too much on rear head room. The rear window is bisected by a body line, much like the eighth-generation Honda Civic, but this design element doesn’t impact on rearward visibility too much.

Source: Max Earey

Inside, the car has a contemporary feel and look to it with a decent amount of soft touch materials and harder, more durable plastics where they are needed. This is, after all, a family car built to last. It is so well screwed together that you get the feel that it will last for years to come. That’s what I love about Japanese cars.

Source: Mitsubishi

Other touches that make the car practical are the large wing mirrors, doors that cover the sills so you don’t get your trousers dirty and a good high-rise driving position with a commanding view of the road ahead.

Space is also decent for all passengers even those in the back although those using the middle rear seat might feel a little squashed.

Source: Max Earey

The Eclipse Cross differs from many of its SUV rivals by offering only a petrol engine. This 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has modest levels of performance (163hp and 250Nm of torque) and features a CVT automatic that sends power to all four wheels.

As with most CVTs, if you approach driving it with a light throttle foot, then you’re in for a smooth and relatively refined ride, but the fuel consumption lags behind what you can achieve from similar diesel engines.

Source: Max Earey

In keeping with its stylish looks, the Eclipse Cross does have more of a sporty setup and feel from its suspension. The ride quality is firm, though not overly so.

It does feature nice steering feel with more feedback than other rivals and along a flowing road makes it more enjoyable to drive. Out of town and on the motorway it does settle down more, with wind noise only picking up at higher speeds.

Long distances are covered in comfort and once you get the handle on the throttle input that CVT is lovely and smooth.

Source: Max Earey

Overall, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is well equipped for the price but of course you can spec it up and add a whole lot of bells and whistles if you wish. It looks great inside and out and will make the school run as well as longer journeys a stylish and relaxed affair.

READ: Summer road trip car checklist >

READ: Review: The Audi RS 4 Avant goes laugh-out-loud quick – but it’s practical too >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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