Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD 2018 review

We spent a week behind the wheel of the top-shelf Exceed version of this not-quite-small, not-quite-medium size SUV.
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Mitsubishi wants to step up its image in the SUV space and the Eclipse Cross is a pointer to the brand's future, with distinctive styling and clever space-efficiency.

If tea leaf reading was an Olympic sport, Mitsubishi would be at the top step of the podium with an olive wreath on its head and a gold medal around its neck.

Best part of 10 years ago, while many carmakers were still umming and ahhing about the whole SUV ‘thing’, it went all in on SUVs and light commercials, correctly predicting the world’s growing love affair with high-riding family wagons and multi-purpose utes.

And in 2016, Carlos Ghosn, head of the then Nissan Renault Alliance, and a handy crystal ball gazer himself, made the decision to acquire a controlling stake in the company.

That provided the newest member of the Nissan Renault Mitsubishi Alliance with the cash flow to explore new ideas and expand its product line-up.

Which also meant Thunderbirds were go for a segment-busting model that had been on the boil for some time. Prefaced by 2013’s XR-PHEV Concept, and 2015’s imaginatively named XR-PHEV II Concept, that car is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross you see here; launched locally in late 2017.

  • Mitsubishi's 2013 XR-PHEV Concept. Mitsubishi's 2013 XR-PHEV Concept.
  • Mitsubishi's 2015 XR-PHEV II Concept. Mitsubishi's 2015 XR-PHEV II Concept.

We spent a week with the top-spec Exceed AWD to see how well it manages to straddle two of the hottest segments in the Australian new car market – small and medium SUVs.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2018: EXCEED (AWD)
Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.7L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$28,990

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

A shrinking violet this car is not. Put the XR-PHEV concept cars next to the production Eclipse Cross and their close evolutionary relationship is clear.

Specifically, the aggressive ‘Dynamic Shield’ nose treatment, complete with angry, angular headlights and jagged chrome highlights outlining gigantic apertures for the fog lights and indicators.

Then there’s the dramatically chiselled trench running from the middle of the front door, in parallel with the lower edge of the side windows towards the rear, balanced by a distinct character line below it.

That deepening channel turns the corner at the rear of the car where it meets with a suitably asymmetric and complex light cluster, which in turn connects with a raised bridge dividing dual rear windows, housing an extended tail and stoplight bar (with a roof spoiler above, and a faux diffuser below). Suffice it to say there’s a lot going on.

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)

Climb inside and although things are more conventional, pointy surrounds still extend from each side of the air vents in the centre stack, and bright metallic-finish elements that define the upper and lower sections of the dash morph into flying buttresses that sweep down to form the edge of the lower console.

A 7.0-inch media screen stands proud on the dashtop, and a small two-piece hood forms a Star Wars-ey cover for the instrument binnacle. Each to their own of course, but overall, it feels like an arm wrestle between curves and angles ended in stalemate.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

At just over 4.4m long, 1.8m wide and close to 1.7m high, the Eclipse Cross does indeed rub shoulders with the largest ‘small’ SUVs and creep up on the key dimensions of more diminutive ‘medium’ models.

Worth noting, though, that it sits on the same platform as its smaller ASX sibling, with which it shares a 2670mm wheelbase. So, what’s the point? Why the bigger body on a relatively compact wheelbase?

The big difference is the Eclipse Cross borrows a sliding rear seat mechanism from the larger Outlander, offering a 200mm choice between maximum rear legroom and additional cargo space.

Mitsubishi gets the efficiency of using the same underpinnings for two models, while giving the larger car the flexibility to take advantage of its greater overall length.

The sliding function works in concert with eight reclining steps for the backrest (from 16 to 32 degrees), which also splits and folds 60/40, so you can have max legroom on one side and max boot space on the other. Smart.

There’s plenty of room up front with a medium-size glove box supplemented by a large covered bin between the front seats, as well generous door pockets with dedicated space for full-size bottles. You’ll also find a 12-volt outlet and two USB ports.

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit: James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit: James Cleary)

Even with the rear seat set as far forward as it will go, head and legroom in the back (for this 183cm tester) is good. Three grown-ups across the rear is also do-able for more than short stints, although there are no adjustable air vents for rear seat passengers.

Rear storage options are modest, with a pair of small cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest joined by map pockets on the front seatbacks and bottle holders in the doors.

As mentioned, cargo volume varies in line with the position of the rear seat, offering a modest 341 litres with the back seat in its rear position, and a healthier 448 litres in its forward location. In the latter mode our three-piece hard suitcase set (35, 68 and 105 litres) or the carsguide pram were swallowed without fuss. Folding the rear seat completely opens up a claimed 1122 litres of space.

Worth noting the lack of tie down hooks in the boot, although the standard cargo blind can be located in various positions, depending on the load being carried. Plus, (black) roof rails are standard.

The spare tyre is a space-saver, and if you’re keen on hooking up a boat or van the AWD Eclipse Crosstowing capacity is a hefty 1600kg for a braked trailer and 750kg unbraked.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

At $38,500 (before on-road costs) the Exceed AWD sits at the top of the three-tier Eclipse Cross line-up. And in the same way it manages to span the physical space between small and medium SUVs, it pulls off a similar trick in terms of price and features.

At that ‘just-under-$40k’ price point the Exceed lives up to its name by meeting or just tipping over the dollars required for the flagship versions of key small SUV players like the Mazda CX-3 Akari AWD, and Subaru XV 2.0iS

But you’re weighing in around mid-range of the medium SUV pack, in line with the likes of the Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport, Nissan X-Trail ST-L AWD and Toyota RAV4 GXL.

The standard equipment list is lengthy, including 18-inch alloy rims, LED headlights (with auto-levelling), LED DRLs, front fog lights, privacy glass, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, dual-zone climate control air, electric ‘panoramic’ sunroof, keyless entry and start, head-up display, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, partial leather trim, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat (with heating for both front seats), a 7.0-inch media touchscreen managing the ‘Smartphone Link Display Audio’ system (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity), and six-speaker audio (including digital radio).

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)

There are seven colours to choose from, with white the only no-cost choice. Any of five metallic and pearl finishes will set you back $590, and the single premium colour ‘Brilliant Red’ costs a not insignificant $890.

There’s also a heap of safety spec and tech we’ll look at in the safety section below.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD is powered by an all-new, all-alloy 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine featuring direct and multi-point injection to optimise charge density and fuel-efficiency.

It also uses Mitsubishi’s ‘MIVEC’ variable valve timing (inlet and exhaust) and boasts an integrated cylinder head and exhaust manifold design, as well as a resin intake manifold which reduces weight and incoming air temperature.

It produces a not too hot, not too cold 110kW at 5500rpm and 250Nm from 2000-3500rpm. Drive goes to all four wheels, firstly via a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) featuring a ‘Step Up Shift’ system that allows manual changes via column-mounted paddles through eight pre-set ratios.

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)

Then, Mitsubishi’s ‘Super All Wheel Control’ (S-AWC) is an electronically controlled 4WD system using a viscous centre diff to manage torque distribution between the front and rear axles. It also ropes in the ASC and ABS systems to fine tune drive delivery left to right, with ‘Active Yaw Control’ (AYC) bringing the brakes into play to help keep things under control in quick corners (especially on loose surfaces).

How much fuel does it consume?   6/10

Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 7.7L/100km, with the Eclipse Cross emitting 174g/km of CO2 in the process.

We couldn’t match that, recording a relatively thirsty 10.7L/100km (at the bowser) over exactly 322km of city, suburban and freeway running.

The 1.5-litre turbo runs happily on standard 91 RON unleaded, and you’ll need 60 litres of it to fill the tank.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

When asked to jump on the scales the Eclipse Cross Exceed registers 1555kg, which is around 200kg more than an AWD Mazda CX-3, and only 10 kegs less than a similarly specified CX-5

So, no featherweight, but acceleration is still brisk enough with maximum torque available from just 2000rpm, although the ever-flaring CVT does its best to knock the edge off. Even in manual mode changes are slurred and slow.

And here’s an essential tip. Only press the ‘Eco’ button if you’ve been advised by your doctor to under no circumstances allow your body to produce adrenalin. It instantly softens the throttle, amplifies the CVT’s dampening behaviour and sucks out your will to live.

Sadly, one thing that’s unquestionably light is the electronically assisted steering. Great for parking, but as speeds rise, while the car points accurately, weight and road feel don’t join the party in any meaningful way.

Suspension is strut front, multi-link rear and ride quality is good. Noise levels are low, the seats are relatively firm but proved comfortable on longer runs, and despite the busy styling, ergonomics have been well thought through and the Eclipse Cross is easy to operate (with one exception, which we’ll get to).

  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary) 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD. (image credit:James Cleary)

Standard 18-inch alloy rims are shod with 225/55 Toyo Proxes R44 rubber, a ‘low energy loss’ tyre that’s quiet and undoubtedly fuel economy-focused, but despite the on-board S-AWC and AYC tech, putting the Eclipse Cross under pressure in quick cornering highlights limitations in terms of outright grip. Nothing dramatic. The car remains predictable and composed. Just don’t expect F1-style levels of adhesion.

Brakes are discs all around, ventilated at the front, and stopping power is progressive and consistent.

The S-AWC system offers ‘Snow’ and ‘Gravel’ modes , but during this test we stayed firmly on the bitumen with ‘Auto’ selected. If you are heading off-highway however, it’s worth noting the Exceed’s 183mm ground clearance, 18.8 degree entry angle, and 29.2 degree departure angle.

Random niggles? That raised element cutting the rear window in two is just as annoying as you’d expect it to be. It’s a pain in the Toyota Prius, as it was in early Honda CR-Xs, and remains so in this car. Honestly, who signed that off? The faux carbon elements around the cabin aren’t fooling anybody, and the touch-pad controller for the media system is laggy and unwieldly (the ergonomic exception mentioned earlier).

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   10/10

The Eclipse Cross Exceed is loaded with active and passive safety technology. It sailed through ANCAP safety assessment in December last year, qualifying for a maximum five-star rating.

Active safety runs to AEB (which Mitsubishi refers to as ‘Forward Collision Mitigation’), adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, ASC, traction control, ABS, EBD, EBA, ‘Emergency Stop Signal Function’, hill start assist, and auto high beam.

There are three top-tether child restraint anchor points, with ISOFIX mounts on the two outer rear positions.

The Eclipse Cross Exceed’s ‘Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System’ also comes into play when the driver hits the accelerator by mistake when stationary or at speeds up to 10km/h, reducing the chance and severity of hitting anything four metres in front or behind the car.

There’s also a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and Mitsubishi’s ‘Multi Around Monitor’ giving a bird’s-eye-view for slow speed manoeuvres. Impressive for a car at this price-point. 

But if all that still isn’t enough to avoid a crash you’re protected by driver and front passenger head and side airbags, as well as full-length curtain airbags, and knee bag for the driver.

There are three top-tether child restraint anchor points, with ISOFIX mounts on the two outer rear positions.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Mitsubishi offers a five-year/100,000km warranty, and a five-year perforation warranty. And under the ‘Diamond Advantage’ banner the brand bundles that warranty with four years roadside assist and three years capped price servicing.

Recommended maintenance interval for the Eclipse Cross Exceed AWD is 12 months/15,000km, with service pricing lining up as $300 for the first year, and $400 for the second and third.

Verdict

The Eclipse Cross Exceed is evidence of Mitsubishi’s drive towards more distinctive, youthful designs, and there’s no doubt it stands out from the small and medium SUV crowd. It’s space-efficient, well specified for the dollars, and spot-on in terms of active and passive safety. But the high-tech drivetrain delivers only modest performance without the fuel economy gains you’d expect in return, and some dynamic shortcomings (overly light steering, average cornering grip) counterbalance positives like a quiet, comfortable ride, and great brakes.

Comment call to action: Is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Exceed your kind of family SUV? Tell us in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$24,888
Based on 620 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$19,575
Highest Price
$38,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ES (2WD) 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $19,990 – 29,888 2018 Mitsubishi ECLIPSE CROSS 2018 ES (2WD) Pricing and Specs
ES SPORT EDITION 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $23,950 – 28,490 2018 Mitsubishi ECLIPSE CROSS 2018 ES SPORT EDITION Pricing and Specs
EXCEED (2WD) 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $27,336 – 36,990 2018 Mitsubishi ECLIPSE CROSS 2018 EXCEED (2WD) Pricing and Specs
EXCEED (AWD) 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $28,990 – 38,990 2018 Mitsubishi ECLIPSE CROSS 2018 EXCEED (AWD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design7
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption6
Driving7
Safety10
Ownership7
James Cleary
Deputy Editor

Share