Traded Its Funky Uniqueness For Practicality
Mitsubishi brought the Eclipse name back to their lineup for 2018. Not as the small sporty 2-door that many of us remember fondly, but as yet another small crossover known as the Eclipse Cross. In the 4-years since, it has slowly but surely built up some momentum in the crowded small crossover field. So, let’s see if updates for 2022 will ramp things up even more for the Eclipse Cross!
While we weren’t fully onboard with Mitsubishi sacrificing the Eclipse name at the altar of crossover SUVs, we did acknowledge in our original Road Test that it did carry on the Eclipse tradition of delivering a lot of bang for the buck, and was probably exactly what Mitsubishi needed to stay relevant. Updates for 2022 make an even better case.
Exterior changes are a bit more comprehensive than the typical mid-cycle fascia redo. Up front, there’s a revised hood, as well as a whole new face with reshaped bumper, grille, and headlights; while high-mounted daytime running lights look very sleek, and add a modern flavor.
The transformation in back is even more extreme, with an entirely new hatch that looks more traditional SUV than the previous hatchback shape with split glass. Combined with the new fascia, it adds more than 5-inches onto the overall length of the Eclipse Cross, and provides almost 2 cubic-ft. of additional storage space inside, without altering the wheelbase itself; now 23.4 cubic-ft. of room in back, expanding to 50.1 with the rear seatbacks folded.
Inside this compact 5-seater, all but base ES trim get a new 8-inch touchscreen Display Audio System. Not only does this thankfully eliminate the console-mounted touchpad controller, but the screen is now 2-inches closer to the driver; plus, it gets both volume and tuning knobs as well as the ability to add TomTom navigation. Safety features get upgraded too, with Forward Collision Mitigation and Lane Departure Warning now standard on all trims. SE and above add Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist.
Front seats are quite comfortable; and while rear seat space is a little adult tight, it’s adequate for the kiddos. Top SEL trim gets silver and high-gloss black trim, heated front seats, and even a multi-view camera system.
About the only thing that hasn’t changed is the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine under the hood. It still puts out a modest 152-horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque, working through a CVT to power the front wheels. Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive is optional with all trims.
An aggressive throttle helps to make it a bit torquier than what we’d expect from a tiny 1.5-liter; and has the Eclipse Cross feeling quite sporty. But the very soft suspension doesn’t quite live up to it when you throw some curves into the mix. Despite an overhaul that includes larger rear shocks, more rigid sub-frame connections, and upgraded springs, there’s still a lot of body roll when cornering. Especially when pushed to its limits in our handling course.
Though even with the soft rolly-poley feel, there was decent grip through the cones, as Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel-Control not only shuffles power rearward when necessary, but diverts it side-to-side as well; and it also uses selective braking to minimize understeer. And steering was quite direct, with surprisingly good feel.
That initial torque-iness you feel at launch quickly dissipates, with acceleration taking on a more lackluster feel as speeds increase; 60 miles-per-hour took a lengthy 8.6–seconds to achieve. Continuously variable transmissions rarely make for an exciting time at the track. So, despite simulated shifts as well as quieter engine droning than most, it makes for a slow 16.8-second ¼-mile, ending at 80 miles-per-hour. That soft suspension contributes to moderate nose dive on hard braking, but stops from 60 averaged an excellent 103–feet.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings with all-wheel-drive are 25-City, 26-Highway, and 25-Combined. We saw a great 26.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing starts at just $24,940, just a few hundred dollars more than when it debuted for 2018. All-wheel-drive is a $1,600 option; top SEL comes in at $28,940.
The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross may have lost a little bit of its funky uniqueness. It’s now clearly more mainstream than before. And, while that could potentially be disappointing to some, it’s usually the key to long term success. Adding more capability and increasing functionality are also sure to help make it the success it deserves to be as well.
Engine: 1.5L 4-cylinder turbo
Torque: 184 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
1/4 Mile: 16.8 seconds at 80 mph
60-0 Stopping Distance: 103 feet
EPA: 25 City / 26 Highway / 25 Combined