Mitsubishi is debuting its first all-new model in several years, but the company has mined its past for the new small crossover’s name: Eclipse Cross. No, it doesn’t share anything beyond the badge with the long-running Eclipse sports coupe that, at times, bolstered Mitsubishi’s reputation for performance before disappearing in 2012. Instead, the Eclipse Cross is a decidedly non-performance-oriented small SUV sized similarly to the new Jeep Compass and the Subaru Crosstrek.
The new Eclipse Cross shares its 105.1-inch wheelbase with both the current Outlander Sport and Outlander crossovers, although the new model’s 173.4-inch length fits neatly between the two. Mitsubishi says that the next Sport will shrink a bit and the next Outlander will grow, better spacing out the three, but for now there’s plenty of overlap among the models.
Unless you need the Outlander’s third-row seat, the Eclipse Cross appears to be the pick of the Mitsubishi litter thanks to its mostly attractive design, upgraded interior, and all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The direct-injected turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four will be the only engine option in the United States (Europeans get a diesel as well), mated to a standard continuously variable automatic transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive. Horsepower and torque numbers aren’t available yet, but Mitsubishi has said that it will be more powerful than the current 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that makes 166 horsepower in the Outlander. So no, it won’t be a revival of the Eclipse GSX you remember from the 1990s.
The Eclipse Cross uses the company’s “dynamic shield” grille design; it reminds us a bit of a slightly toned-down Lexus NX. A wedge-shaped profile features a character line that rises to the distinctive rear end. Back there, the styling is less successful, with the bisected rear window and chunky aesthetic evoking memories of the much-maligned Pontiac Aztek design.
On the inside, Mitsubishi seems to have taken a page from Lexus’s book, with a new touchpad controller that’s nearly identical to that luxury brand’s Remote Touch Interface, albeit without the mouselike controller. We’re not fans of that system, so we hope the Eclipse Cross can improve upon its operation. A head-up display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are available, and the interior design looks to be decidedly more modern than those in Mitsu’s aging current offerings.
The 2018 Eclipse Cross is slated to arrive in Europe this fall, with U.S. sales beginning in early 2018. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it should fall somewhere between the $20,690 Outlander Sport and the $24,390 Outlander.