By on February 19, 2019

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross front quarter

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four (152 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 184 lb-ft. @ 2000 rpm)

Continuously variable transmission, all-wheel drive

25 city / 26 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

9.6 city / 8.9 highway / 9.3 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

24.2 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $29,190 US / $38,250 CAD

As Tested: $32,310 / $38,250 CAD

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $1,951 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That adage, from George Santayana, has a less well-known corollary that I just made up: “Those who do remember the past are doomed to watch idly while our memories are sold out to create something much, much worse.”

Take the 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross seen here. When Mitsubishi dusted off a beloved sports car nameplate to slap on YET ANOTHER CROSSOVER, enthusiasts everywhere started screaming. Their memories of late-night cruising and loud exhausts were being trampled by another jacked-up hatchback with no sporting pretense.

Yes, I was one of those enthusiasts hating the name. But then I drove the car, and I recalled that the target Eclipse Cross buyer probably doesn’t remember that not-too-distant past where the stylish Diamond Star coupes ruled the streets, and they’ll simply buy on merit, not memories.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross profile

The styling is polarizing, to be certain. I don’t hate it, but it will never be ranked among the most beautiful of designs. Then again, what crossover will? The steep rake to the roofline makes the Eclipse Cross unique, which is usually a good thing in a crowded marketplace. For the first time in ages, Mitsubishi might be able to sell cars with styling.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross front

I did get a flashback to the Honda CRX I nearly bought in college when looking through the rear view mirror — the rear glass is divided into two pieces, and the cross beam does obstruct vision a bit. Of course, millions of Prius owners haven’t had a problem with this split glass over the years (though they all seem oddly oblivious to any vehicles behind them while in the left lane…).

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rear

Mitsubishi offers a smartphone app for the Eclipse Cross called Mitsubishi Connect. With the touch of a phone screen, a user can remotely start the car to adjust climate settings, turn the headlamps on or off from a distance (great for finding your car in a dark parking garage), and remotely lock or unlock the doors. This last feature was unusually useful for me, as my daughter had left her backpack in the car in our driveway one day, and texted me frantically to come and retrieve it. I was down the street, and I didn’t need to walk back within range of the car — I could simply open the app and let her in.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross App Screenshot

The size of this crossover is a little odd when trying to compare it to the competition. Overall length is closer to subcompacts like Toyota’s C-HR and Honda’s HR-V, but the wheelbase is closer to the larger RAV4 and CR-V. Passenger volume similarly falls between the range. I felt that I had plenty of room up front, and legroom in the rear was excellent for the class — however, rear headroom is unsurprisingly cramped by the sloping roofline. Passengers south of six feet should be fine, but your author, six-fourish and long of torso, had to cant his head in the second row.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross interior

Mileage is a disappointment. Rated highway and city mileage is basically identical at 25 city, 26 highway; I was very close at 24.2. I’d like to think a smaller crossover should manage its thirst a bit better.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rear seats

As for driving the Eclipse Cross, it’s pleasantly surprising. Other than some engine noise under hard acceleration, the cabin is quiet. Handling is composed, with lively steering making the drive fun (for a crossover). Longish highway drives were comfortable, with good stability in crosswinds, and minimal road noise.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross front seats

Do take a gander at the side mirror switch, located on the interior door handle. I’m OK with the power mirror controls themselves, but the button to fold the mirrors should not be in such a prominent location. I found myself inadvertently bumping the button while driving, then realizing moments later that the mirrors had folded. This happened several times before I realized my mistake. I really shouldn’t drive before coffee, but some mornings are more hectic than others. Anyhow, beware of this rogue button.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross window fold switch

Looking at the sticker price of this tester, it seems a bit high. However, recall that cars delivered to journalists tend to be loaded with nearly every possible option, and this Eclipse Cross SEL is no exception. This same powertrain combo, save all-wheel drive, is available at around $24k. Were I to sign a note for my own, I’d opt for the SE S-AWC trim, which loses the power driver’s seat, leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and a few other bits — but still includes the Mitsubishi Connect phone app — for $28,065 delivered. I’d pick the bronze metallic (yes, I see you waving your hand, Sajeev) and I’d be happy.

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross center stack

What bothers me is the original Eclipse, at least for the first two generations, was an inexpensive, reasonably reliable (as long as you don’t anger the thrust bearing) coupe that appealed both to enthusiasts and to those just looking for a bit of style. For the enthusiasts, turbo and AWD were the order of the day. For the everyday driver, the Eclipse was available with more efficient, less powerful engines that appealed to younger drivers (and their parents) who didn’t want or need all the boost.

[Get new and used Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross pricing here!]

I’m purposely ignoring the third generation of Eclipse here, which was only slightly more appealing than a secondhand toilet.

I’ve not been thrilled with the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup, and I’ve said so on these pages. I’m honestly surprised that I haven’t yet been cut off — but I’m glad that they haven’t. Because this Eclipse Cross does something surprising: it goes beyond the name and delivers a legitimately good car.

Mind you, I’m still pissed about the name.

But once you buy a car, how often do you look at the badge?

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rear quarter

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn, screenshot of bronze metallic Eclipse Cross courtesy Mitsubishi]

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40 Comments on “2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC Review – It’s Safe to Stare...”

  • avatar

    For $32K you can do so much better then this. I’ve also read that their 4WD is terrible, so unless that’s changed I’d get almost anything else in it’s class

  • avatar

    With apologies to J. Geils et al.

    My blood runs cold
    my memory has just been sold
    that ain’t an Eclipse of old…

  • avatar

    I no longer prioritize Japaneseness so I’d Sportage instead of this.

  • avatar

    I don’t totally understand what this does that the two Outlanders don’t also do. I mean you get the weird rear end that hurts utility/visibility and you get the turbo engine that isn’t any faster than the 2.4L.

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re gonna get a Mitsu at least get something kind of unique like the plugin hybrid Outlander.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree but that’s a ton more money. Although maybe not so much once you’ve figured in the tax credits and gas savings.

        Still, I see this more as a competitor to the baby Lexus SUV: similar if not better looking styling, trackpad infotainment, etc., only it’s presumably a lot cheaper to buy and feed the Mitsu.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing they are watching Jeep closely. There is alot of overlap in the Cherokee Compass and Renegade but each sell quite well. I think this was planned as a replacement for the outlander sport, but that sells so well and is cheap that I think they decided to go with both. The big issue seems to be that the Eclipse needs a better engine.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t buy one, but looks are much better than Ecosport, Soul, Encore/Trax, CH-R.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, stylistically this actually works well. But good lord that engine: mediocre power, poor mpg, where’s the supposed win? Mitsubishi must be stuck using some thoroughly old tech in this thing. I suspect it’s using port injection and thus can’t cool the combustion chamber anywhere as well and is stuck at much lower boost levels than something like a CRV with a similar 1.5T.

      • 0 avatar

        IIRC this puppy is a little longer and a lot wider than some subcompact CUVs, so you end up with almost as much room and almost as much thirst as a compact. Seems reasonable, honestly. CUVs in general aren’t as fuel efficient as one would hope. Rumor has it Mitsubishi is going to PHEV this one, just as it did the Outlander; THAT could be a compelling rig.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re right, it looks neat. But $32,000 for a tiny, slow vehicle that gets crappy mileage?

      (Shakes head…)

  • avatar

    If you’re feeling nostalgic, you could put a fartcan on it, paint it flat black with rattle cans, and stick a tiny hood scoop and fender vents on it. Oh, and don’t forget the windshield washer nozzles with the blue LEDs.

  • avatar
    John R

    “But then I drove the car, and I recalled that the target Eclipse Cross buyer probably doesn’t remember that not-too-distant past where the stylish Diamond Star coupes ruled the streets, and they’ll simply buy on merit, not memories.”

    Then why even bother using the name??

  • avatar

    “the target Eclipse Cross buyer probably doesn’t remember that not-too-distant past where the stylish Diamond Star coupes ruled the streets”

    Nobody remembers that, because that never happened.

    (Loud exhausts and late night cruising?

    Yeah, the people I curse every time they drive by my house pretending that their car that sounds like it’s broken is Really Impressive.

    No love, me.)

  • avatar

    So, last week’s mini crossover was the Mazda CX-3. This week’s is this Eclipse-whatever.

    Both feature stickers in the thirty-large range. Both are dogs. Both are tiny but get crappy mileage. Both cost over thirty large.

    A pattern emerges.

    I’ll say it again: automakers, if you have to make these things, then so be it. But make one that’s quick, OK? If Hyundai can, you can too.

    On the bright side, anyone who’s stoned enough to drop fifty grand on a “Cadillac” XT4 should probably check this car out too. It’s not much smaller, not much slower, and costs a ton less. Consider it an intervention.

  • avatar

    Maybe the folks at Mitsubishi figured that nearly all the old Eclipses are long gone by now, so it would be safe to recycle the name.

    Re the rear window: why in the world would you compromise rear visibility if it isn’t absolutely necessary? Japanese styling had become excessive overstyling. Maybe we’ll get lucky when the pendulum finally starts to swing back the other way.

  • avatar

    Up next? A nine-seat BOF SUV, called the 3000 GT.

  • avatar

    “how often do you look at the badge?”

    Every single day when I get in it. I wouldn’t like to be reminded of my third tier status for $28,065 [!].

  • avatar

    If there’s any reliability in these, they might be a decent buy in 3 years when they hit the lease disposal auction at pennies on the dollar.

    • 0 avatar

      Given the typical owner profile of most Mitsubishis (namely their maintenance habits) and what’s under the hood, not great. I’ve heard of 1.4T Cruzes starting to crap out now under similar circumstances.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s really bad, because on the Chevy the first two oil changes are free and the dealer (at least mine) hounds you via phone and email at every maintenance interval … I assume they read the OLM via the phone even if OnStar is not subscribed.

  • avatar

    I saw CVT and stopped reading.

  • avatar

    Goodness, is that a trackpad to the right of the shifter? They choose to copy one feature from Lexus, and that’s the one they went with? I can’t imagine a worse way to manipulate the infotainment screen.

    Also, that’s a very odd placement for the start/stop button. Is that so your passenger can be engaged in the driving process?

  • avatar

    Hey Chris I’s love to know you motive for putting ” (though they all seem oddly oblivious to any vehicles behind them while in the left lane…).” in this essay. Stereotyping much?

  • avatar

    And you guys bitch the Buick Encore is overpriced?

  • avatar

    I see why now nobody respects Mitsubishi anymore. If they would do this to Eclipse Coupe I can’t stand the thought of what they would do to the Montero if they ever bring it back

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