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

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]

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  • 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.

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?