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.

Explore the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Range

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.

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.