2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC Review - In a Word: Weird

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T SEL S-AWC Fast Facts

1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (152 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 184 lb-ft @ 2,000-3,500 rpm)
Continuously-variable automatic transmission with 8 "steps", all-wheel drive
25 city / 26 highway / 25 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)
9.6 city, 8.9 highway, 9.3 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$28,595 (U.S) / $36,298 (Canada)
As Tested
$32,125 (U.S.) / $38,598 (Canada)
Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $2,000 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2020 mitsubishi eclipse cross sel 1 5t s awc review in a word weird

Mitsubishi burned a lot of what little street cred it had left by taking the name of a once-beloved affordable sports coupe and plunking it onto yet another crossover.

The good news, if there is any, is that the crossover that now bears the nameplate is more than a little quirky.

The bad news – it’s not an affordable, fun-to-drive sports coupe.

Not to mention that the brand may soon be history, at least on these shores.

The least weird thing about the Eclipse Cross is that the driving experience is mostly unremarkable, especially in urban environs. It’s neither fast nor slow, but the 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder has enough guts for undramatic commuting. The steering feels relatively connected to the road, with appropriate weighting, and the ride is about par for a vehicle in this class. The continuously-variable automatic, which has “steps” meant to mimic a conventional automatic, is relatively inoffensive, as CVTs go.

[Get a price quote for the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross here!]

If it were safe to close your eyes while driving, you might think you were wheeling any old crossover. The driving experience is mostly normal, although the mode selector for all-wheel drive is a rarity.

It’s the rest that’s weird.

Let’s start with the styling. While not all that weird up front, it quickly gets quirky. The front view is pretty standard for a crossover – boxy and angular hood area with large fog lamp openings and a big lower fascia below the grille. Not quite attractive, but not ugly, either.

From the side, the view looks sloped and stanced, an appropriate attempt by the brand to give some sport to a crossover bearing a hallowed nameplate. Out back, though, it goes off the rails.

The rear haunches are unnecessarily bulbous, even accounting for the fact that the wheels are placed near the edges. The light bar bisects the rear glass, the taillights spike out, and a curving spoiler awkwardly frames it all.

Inside, the story isn’t much better. Fonts used in the gauge cluster and infotainment system are outdated, and the infotainment screen looks like a TomTom that got stuck to the dash. A Lexus-like touchpad sits aft and starboard of the gear shift, and there’s a reason only Lexus and Mitsu use these things. The buttons are laid out logically enough, but look weird – as if the design team thought they’d need to try extra hard to overcome Mitsubishi’s bad reputation of late. Material quality and build quality was better than what I’ve encountered on every Outlander I’ve ever driven, although the bar here is set low.

The entire experience just screams out that you either don’t know/care about cars and took the best deal you could find, or you have just enough money for a crossover in this class but not enough to drop a few grand more on something better.

Of course, Mitsubishi would argue that the Eclipse Cross offers value for the money, and the features list does bolster the brand’s case, even if Mitsubishi lists some features that are so mundane they’d might not make the sticker on other vehicles.

Standard items on my SEL test unit included fog lamps, LED lighting front and rear, paddle shifters, chrome grille accents, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, leather seats, tilt/telescope steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, multiple-view camera, head-up display, keyless entry and starting, dual-zone climate control, blind-spot warning with lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning.

Options included a package that added a sunroof, premium audio, forward-collision mitigation with high-speed braking capability with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with HomeLink, and roof rails. A tonneau cover and carpeted floor mats rounded out the list.

So yeah, the features list is class-competitive. And the $32K sticker price isn’t terrible. There’s value here, perhaps. The Eclipse Cross at least has that going for it, which is nice.

Quirky, odd design is one thing – some people prefer that. And while the materials don’t feel class-competitive, necessarily, they’re still an improvement over what’s offered in other models in the lineup.

Yet, the Eclipse Cross just doesn’t quite feel good enough to justify a purchase to save dollars, unless one has no choice.

Mitsubishi had the chance to make something interesting here and got part of the way there. That’s no way to honor the Eclipse name.

But it is consistent with the band’s recent M.O.

There may be a time when Mitsubishi once again builds interesting cars at a value price. If that time doesn’t come soon, the brand won’t be in this market much longer.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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2 of 12 comments
  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Jun 29, 2020

    The rear styling, the tacked on screen and "stepped" CVT are all individual deal breakers for me. I don't get why you would use a stepped algorithm on a CVT. Just let it do its thing for economy like it is supposed to do. Otherwise drop a proper auto in and be done with it. No mention if it has engine noise piped in. That would be a complete list, though that isn't as bad as the other three and could probably live with it.

  • Akear Akear on Jul 08, 2020

    It is one of the most interesting looking SUV's on the market. I do like Mitsubishi new grill theme. It even looks good on the mirage.

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies. https://x.com/WallStreetApes/status/1729212326237327708?s=20
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.