Mitsubishi Eclipse

Cross 4 4WD Auto

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, front
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, front
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, side
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, rear
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, rear
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, rear
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, interior
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, interior
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, front
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, front
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4, side

THE best of both worlds, in the eyes of most SUV buyers, is a crossover with the looks and height of a mudlugging 4x4 but the driving quality and refinement of a conventional saloon car.

Well, one of the best efforts at dishing up such a recipe comes from Mitsubishi with its Eclipse Cross, a mid-size SUV aimed at taking on established leaders such as the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Audi Q3 and Ford Kuga.

With a single engine choice of 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol, the firm which is now part of the Nissan-Renault alliance, is clearly reacting to the swing away from diesel although an oil-burner is still on the cards for high-mileage users later in the year.

Perhaps more surprisingly, in view of Mitsubishi's success with the hybrid Outlander PHEV, there is no part-electric alternative definitely in the pipeline.

Little doubt over the Eclipse's looks which are both fresh and striking with a distinctly wedge shaped profile and a split rear screen. Not only is it far more up-to-date than the Outlander in appearance but its more rigid structure allows a quieter ride and better handling.

The newly designed 1.5-litre, petrol engine pushes out a creditable 163bhp which results in a top speed of around 125mph and nifty acceleration of 0-62mph in under 10 seconds. All this in smooth, unflustered fashion.

This model came with optional CVT automatic gearbox which while taking the strain out of tedious in-town driving isn't the most intuitive of transmissions. Although the Eclipse is commendably quiet mechanically, the gearbox does little to contribute to the refinement because it always feels on the verge of changing up a gear as the revs rise.

This apart, it's an easy SUV to drive with light controls, excellent visibility and plenty of creature comforts such as leather trimmed seating, seven-inch touchscreen incorporating sat nav, heated seats and climate control. The cabin design is less adventurous than the exterior but is easy enough to live with - well placed, solidly made switchgear and fairly sombre decor.

There's ample room up front and sufficient headroom and enough space for three in the rear. The 448 litre boot, however, is less generously proportioned than some rivals, notably the 3008 and SEAT Ateca, and the platform is set relatively high. Rear seat splits and fold and the backrests can be adjusted for rake.

A glass panoramic roof - standard on the top version - brightens and lifts the interior, though inevitably it marginally reduces headroom.

SUV owners accustomed to the economy of diesel-engined models may be a tad disappointed with the Eclipse's thirst for petrol. My average of 32mpg is some way short of official figure.

With intelligent four-wheel-drive fitted as standard, it lives up to its manufacturer's heritage in providing go-anywhere capability. Ground clearance is a generous 183mm and up to 45 per cent of torque can be directed to the rear wheels making it a competent offroader.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 4 4WD Auto

Price: £27,915

Mechanical:163bhp, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 125mph

0-62mph: 9.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 36.7

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions:175g/km

Bik rating: 36%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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