The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is named after a sport compact coupe, which was iconic to some and a sad reminder of its brand's slide into irrelevance to most others. That "Eclipse" is now attached to a compact SUV will likely cheese off the former and cause the latter to sarcastically mutter, "Yup, that seems about right." Mitsubishi's marketers would say it shares the old Eclipse's "reputation for driving dynamics and technology." Do with that what you will. For now, though, let's put aside what it's called. Well, beyond the fact it's comically long to say and difficult to type (I started calling it the Eagle Talon Cross for those reasons). Because really, the name straps a whole load of baggage to a mostly clean-slate vehicle that in concept is actually a smart move by a brand trying to climb back to relevance. In size, it straddles the line between B- and C-segment compact SUVs. In shape and style, it's set apart from the more utilitarian entries of both. Under the hood, it provides torque-rich turbocharged grunt in contrast to meek naturally aspirated rivals. The ample ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive (on most trims) take a page from the Subaru playbook that's been moving the chains so well. As we discovered when we compared its specs to those of vaguely similar SUVs, the Eclipse Cross is far more intriguing and potentially competitive than originally thought. Perhaps it's unfair to the car itself, but besides all that baggage attached to its name, it's also saddled with the expectations of recent Mitsubishi products that have been uncompetitive, dull or just plain bad. (The i-Miev is the worst and most embarrassing car I've ever driven, and I've driven a Yugo.) In short, the Eclipse Cross warrants a clean-slate appraisal. Sure, it shares its wheelbase with Mitsubishi's two Outlander SUVs and certainly other components as well, but in appearance, touch and driving feel, the Eclipse Cross is profoundly different. This is immediately obvious in the cabin that's far more contemporary in appearance. If you think it looks a bit like the Lexus NX interior, you certainly wouldn't be alone, right down to its touchpad tech interface (more on that later). Materials quality is also strong, and not just in comparison to its brand mates, but to the compact SUV segment as a whole. Dash and door trim, metal-look accents, the available leather upholstery and the various switchgear are generally a step above what you might find in the subcompact SUV segment that in size and price sits just below the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (ugh, it's the MEC from here on out). The engine is also unique to the MEC: a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 152 horsepower. That's a bit more than most of those subcompacts, but crucially, its 184 pound-feet of torque blows them out of the tepid water by at least 40 lb-ft. This results in acceleration that feels distinctly gutsier around town than its sluggish competitors. Its comparable horsepower and heftier …
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|MPG||26 City / 29 Hwy|
|Transmission||8-spd CVT w/OD|
|Power||152 @ 5500 rpm|
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