The name "Mitsubishi Eclipse" refers to two vehicles. One is a sporty front-wheel-drive coupe produced from 1989 and 2011 made popular by brothers Vin and Paul of Fast and Furious. The other is a five-seat crossover that made its debut half a decade after the coupe went out of production.
Fans of the older Eclipse can be split into two categories. First is a group of skilled tuners who loved the first two generations. Their 4G63T 4 cylinder engine could be tuned to infinity and beyond, capable of embarrassing performance machines with three times its displacement.
Then there is the other, much more vocal group. They largely ignored the car when it was around, but went up in arms when Mitsubishi decided to reuse the nameplate on the surprisingly exciting five-seat crossover.
To be fair to the latter group, the new Eclipse Cross doesn't even share the same postcode as the classic enthusiast darling. But from a business perspective, the new car ironically follows the same footsteps as the original coupe.
The new Eclipse Cross is an affordable yet desirable car that ticks all the boxes of current market trends. And if the sales numbers are to be believed, the new Eclipse is doing a better job at being a car than the old one.
Mitsubishi has recently given the Cross its mid-life facelift, so we got our hands on one to see what's new.
A bolder face
Mitsubishi's Dynamic Shield design philosophy of adding a "wedge" in front of their cars has largely been controversial and generally yielded mixed results.
However, while the "Wedge-y" front end of the Xpander resembles an alien spacecraft, the lines of the updated Cross are positively Cyberpunk. It can seamlessly fit in the videogame's streets of Night City and, with a coat of red and black paint, could easily be Arasaka's counterpart to the Militech Ragnar.
Being a fan of the franchise, which, for the uninitiated, is not limited to that one game, I quite like it.
The mid-life touch-up of the Cross incorporated quite a few changes. The front is now even sharper, featuring larger DRLs with integrated turn signals and new automatic LED headlamps mounted in now-vacant indicator housing.
The rear two-piece glass hatch has been replaced with a more conventional single piece design that sadly ditched the attention-grabbing light bar.
The changes added 5.5 inches to the Eclipse Cross's total length, equating to a 0.8 cubic-foot bump in rear cargo capacity.
The mechanicals of the car remain mostly unchanged, with the turbo four-cylinder sending 152 HP and 250 Nm of torque to the front wheels. The slightly tweaked suspension still sits on the 18-inch alloys, which lift the car 180mm off the ground.
All in all, the updated Eclipse Cross builds upon the distinctive look of its predecessors as well as improving on its practicality.
Much with the exterior, the interior of the Cross has been extensively renovated and is now a much nicer place to be in.
Front seats are powered and heated, with their occupants given two USB ports and a single 12-volt socket for charging needs. The driver gets his own 4.2-inch LCD Multi-information display, as well as a Head-Up Display that shows a multitude of information.
The rear-seat passengers have a single 12-volt socket to share but are given adjustable rear seats and a center armrest with dedicated cupholders. The panoramic sunroof has been divided into two parts, with separate sunshade controls for the front and rear seats.
The old 4.1-inch infotainment is gone, replaced by a 6.1-inch QVGA touch panel with phone connectivity. For audio, the Cross comes with its own proprietary "Mitsubishi Power Sound System", replacing the old Rockford Fosgate system of the outgoing model.
The rear illuminated cargo deck has 23.4 cubic-foot of cargo space, which can be increased to 50.1 by dropping the rear seats. A full alloy size spare can be found underneath.
The driving experience
For its size, the behind-the-wheel experience of the Eclipse Cross is surprisingly exciting. The turbocharged 1.5 litre 4B40 has little to no turbo lag and responds well to throttle input. Hitting triple-digit on this car is an effortless endeavour, and the efficient power delivery makes the journey feel a lot quicker than its official 0-100 of 11.1 seconds.
The INVECS-III CVT provides great low to mid-range power and features paddle shifters with eight simulated gears. Being a CVT, the ever consistent CVT drone is also there.
The tweaked MacPherson strut/ Multi-link coil spring suspension setup actually does a decent job in mitigating body roll, keeping the car somewhat level in some spirited corners.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a practical crossover with a feature-rich interior and unique styling. The facelift gives the car a distinctive Cyberpunk look, making it almost impossible to mistake for something else. The interior is well built, well-lit, spacious, and comes with enough charging ports to keep the entire family busy on long road trips.
The suspension is well blanched between comfort and sport, and the acceleration is quick enough to validate your sudden need for speed.
All in all, If you are a fan of near-future science fiction and are looking for a practical family wagon that is not a chore to drive, the Cross might be just what you are looking for.