2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross first drive review: Subtly better
Say what you want about Mitsubishi, but this company is slowly but surely making improvements across the board. However, many of the automaker’s products still have room for improvement, and despite its streamlined looks, easier-to-use technology and snappy engine, the Eclipse Cross 2022 continues to lag behind more complete compact SUVs.
The Eclipse Cross 2022 is 5.5 inches longer than before with a more aggressive style front fascia. The upper LEDs function as daytime running lights and the dimples below house the headlights and fog lights. The solid light bar that ran through the rear of the old version is gone, replaced by two separate taillights. I actually preferred the older design, but the new taillights are quite distinctive and give the compact crossover some road presence.
The Eclipse Cross retains the same 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 engine as before, pushing out 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The low-end pair makes the Eclipse Cross quite lively from the line, and there’s a surprising amount of mid-range punch. A continuously variable transmission doesn’t necessarily do this engine a favor, however – it’s a little noisy under pressure, although I suppose that’s normal for most CVTs.
New suspension parts are fitted for 2022, in part to accommodate the Eclipse Cross’s increased overall length, but also to enhance the predecessor’s predilection for roll. The retuned shocks and springs do a better job, sure, but the Eclipse Cross is still a little too roly-poly for my taste. This thing really leans when cornering, which doesn’t inspire much in terms of driver confidence. Oddly enough, the Eclipse Cross’s steering manages to be both fast and sloppy at the same time, making it a bit difficult to keep the crossover centered when cornering. Combined with the body roll, this Mitsubishi isn’t really fun to drive.
The most fuel-efficient Eclipse Cross is estimated by the EPA to return 26 miles per gallon in the city, 29mpg on the highway, and 27mpg combined. My loaded SEL AWD tester knocks those numbers down to 25, 26, and 25, respectively. It’s better than a Hyundai Tucson equivalent, but still falls short of other compact CUVs.
Inside, Eclipse Cross technology takes a bump with a newly available 8-inch screen with built-in navigation. Frankly, I think Mitsubishi could have left a native navigation system on the table as all but the lowest trims getis for easy access to Google Maps and Waze. At least Mitsubishi makes its navigation a little more special by incorporating What3words technology, which divides the whole world into 3-meter squares and assigns three words to each square. One of my favorite places to eat is at the “steepest, bewildered, stupid”.
The multimedia screen is positioned two inches closer to the driver and is now operated solely by touch. Previous models had a touchpad which was a real pain in the neck to use, so I like this improved feature. The screen responds fairly quickly to inputs and the icons are nice and big. Mitsubishi’s small and fragile head-up screen continues, however, which is something I would probably give up.
Frontal collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning are standard on all Eclipse Cross 2022 trims. LE and higher models have automatic high beam and rain sensitive wipers, while the top two trims get a corner warning blind, a lane change assistant and a rear cross traffic warning. Adaptive cruise control is reserved for the highest SEL setting only. These are great features, sure, but the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 offer many as standard across the board. Mitsubishi should really do the same.
Inside, the new gray SEL trim leather goes a long way in making this cabin more inviting. Even so, the interior of the Eclipse Cross is nothing to write home about, but there are some nice amenities scattered all over the place. Heck, the top SEL upholstery even has heated rear seats.
Cargo space is improved for the 2022 model due to its larger footprint. There is now 50.1 cubic feet of space, or 23.4 cubic with the second row upright. Unfortunately, it’s still far below what you get from Honda, Mazda, and Toyota.
The Eclipse Cross starts at $ 25,000, but my SEL tester is optional all the way – with $ 1,600 for all-wheel drive – and comes in at $ 34,075, including $ 1,195 per destination. While I can give poor steering, floating suspension, and lackluster ride for $ 25,000, it’s hard to justify this $ 30,000 median price when I could get much nicer options like a Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, or Toyota RAV4.
The revamped Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross takes a step forward for 2022, yet still plays at the rear of a highly competitive crossover class. It’s good value, don’t get me wrong, but as they say – you get what you pay for.