Ahead of its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Mitsubishi has lifted the curtain on a new compact crossover with a familiar — but now confusing — name.
Yes, the 2018 Eclipse Cross bastardizes the memory of that sporty coupe your 18-year-old co-worker once owned, but the name is the least of anyone’s concerns right now. Shoehorned into the lineup to give Mitsubishi a new player in a scorching-hot segment, the Eclipse Cross sports styling that can charitably be described as controversial.
Greeting the Eclipse Cross buyer is a Transformers-like face that bears Mitsubishi’s signature “Dynamic Shield” design language, which could shield the brand from sales — at least, from some CUV shoppers. Then again, this face isn’t entirely new, and aggressive, gaping front fascias have become the norm in the industry.
More interesting is the model’s steeply raked rear window, giving the vehicle that all-important coupe-like profile, as well a deeply etched character line that intercepts the taillights and saves its flanks from the blandness seen on other CUVs. The automaker clearly isn’t worried about polarizing styling. With the Outlander Sport soon to be punted down the size ladder, the compact Eclipse Sport aims for immediate recognition, be it good or bad. Want a generic crossover? Head for a Journey or Rogue. Mitsubishi’s going it’s own way.
Whether or not it has gone too far in that direction remains to be seen. The Eclipse Sport’s rear end earned one mention of the vilified and (in some circles) revered Pontiac Aztek in TTAC’s morning Slack chat. Much like that General Motors conveyance, this crossover’s rear glass isn’t happy existing as just a single pane. However, unlike Walter White’s pre-prosperity ride, Mitsubishi has seen fit to extend the raised taillamps along the length of that horizontal split. Well, almost. When lit, the two lamps reach for each other, but never touch.
Mitsubishi describes the taillights has possessing “almost cubist styling,” — a bold claim, as few automakers want their creations associated with Picasso. Speaking of glass, there’s much to be found up top. A panoramic sunroof allows backseat passengers to use the 60/40 split bench’s slide-and-recline function to gaze at the clouds.
The vehicle’s infotainment functions, accessed via a touchpad controller and heads-up display, include connectivity for Apple and Android users. Mitsubishi doesn’t want to be caught lacking in the tech department.
Under the hood, a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four of unspecified power provides the motivation, coupled to a continuously variable transmissions with eight-speed manual mode. The model debuts in Europe with an available 2.2-liter diesel, but don’t expect to see it on these shores. Four-wheel traction is a must, and Mitsubishi’s electronically-controlled system adds brake-activated active yaw control to reign in adventurous body movements.
The automaker plans to roll out the Eclipse Cross in Europe first, starting this fall. After that, Japan and North America are next in line to receive the brand’s polarizing crossover.
[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]