AN L.A. TROOPER WITH A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE: 2020 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS
The quest to Los Angeles from Phoenix is a brutal stretch of nothingness. Pure desert oasis as far as the eye can see along Interstate 10. And once in L.A., it’s a driver’s nightmare – driving defensiveness heightens, the roads are disordered, not to mention the traffic. So when we were asked if we could take a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross crossover, we were reluctant – we wanted something with a brute attitude and a dramatic imposition. Little did we know, we were in for a surprise…
The Eclipse Cross is almost frowned upon for taking the name of a classic. Is it too soon to call the Eclipse a classic? Either way, it resembles no similarities to the long, but not forgotten, big spoiler sports car. Considering how nearly every brand is starting to name their crossovers after some 1990’s iconic seller, as if they’re the jock reminiscing their high school glory years, we suppose it’s not a surprise Mitsubishi was to reuse the name at some point. When we sampled the Eclipse Cross a couple years ago – it was okay. But only just, okay. It was okay for what it needed to be – a daily commuter for the city life routine. But while we were city hopping nearly 1000 miles, we didn’t truly know how the Eclipse Cross would do voyaging that many miles of interstate asphalt.
The results were delightful.
Our initial notable impression came within the first 50 miles of our route as we started our stretch to Los Angeles. It is quiet, competent. The chassis is well composed to the road as it provided a comfortable setting within the cabin. Having passengers in the car, they were surprised at how comfortable they were – with the size of the Eclipse Cross hitting the compact crossover segment, the interior didn’t feel so small.
Starting at $22,845 there are four available trim levels – each one offers all-wheel drive for $1600 more. Our top trimmed SEL saw just below the thirty grand mark at $28,595, adding in the $395 for the special Pearl White paint and $2100 for the Touring Package which included the dual pane panoramic sunroof, Rockford Fosgate sound system, Adaptive Cruse with Forward Collision Mitigation, Heated Steering Wheel, and heated rear seats – our tester was just over $32,520. Not so bad for being heavily equipped.
The only major drawback wasn’t really a drawback at all – the standard 1.5-liter turbocharged engine was adequate performance for the task. Producing 152-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, the E.C. wasn’t exactly quick; however, once its turbo let loose, there was some fun behind the wheel, especially if we used the column mounted paddle shifters to control the inattentive CVT transmission. The CVT is really what let the whole car down – when it comes to turbocharged engines, a CVT just doesn’t pair well and with the E.C. it feel like we’re fight against the transmission to sustain optimal power.
Once we reached L.A. we discovered how much of a joy this little crossover is to drive. Being the fact the city is full of curvature roads and hills, the Eclipse Cross is rather a fun little ute to toss around. The steering is nicely controllable with a heavy balance behind its handling. The chassis felt nimble in the corners and maintained decent body control. As the roads weren’t exactly peachy, the suspension here isolated out many of the roads imperfection.
Inside, the Eclipse Cross is handsome – the execution works well with taste use of finishes throughout. The pop-up center infotainment display is relatively easy to use – the touch pad is a bit tricky at times but just take a little getting use to. Navigation is no longer offered as it features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connective. And thanks to the top trimmed SEL, there’s a 360-degree birds eye view display when backing up.
If we had to nitpick, the power adjustable driver seat was limited in its motions – we felt like we were seating way too high and wished the seat could go lower. The heads-up display is a neat offering, but to a taller driver renders useless as we can’t see it – good thing its can slide down into the dash and be tucked away. Lastly, no volume knob – this is an important key element to controlling the radio functionality – the touch screen interface made it nearly impractical for a passenger to use.
After nearly 900 miles behind the wheel, there became a lovable demeanor to the Eclipse Cross. It’s not exactly the cutest crossover on the road with awkward rear styling and faux headlight design. However, considering it averaged 26 mpg combined, drives like a well-oiled machine and comes equipped with nearly every option available on the market – just short of air conditioned seats, this is one delightful surprise that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Model: 2020 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS
Trim: SEL 1.5T S-AWC
Starting Price: $28,745
As Tested: $32,770
Color: PEARL WHITE ($395)
Engine: 1.5-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 152-HORSEPOWER / 184 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: CVT AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: SUPER-ALL WHEEL CONTROL
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 17-CITY / 24-HWY / 20-COMBINED
AS TESTED: 25.9 MPG COMBINED
Fuel Range: 360 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±8.5 SECONDS