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2019 Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWD – A Total Eclipse Of The Car

2019 Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWD – A Total Eclipse Of The Car

Fanboys cringe. Last year, Mitsubishi revived the Eclipse moniker and hung it on a crossover. Perhaps in an effort to capture the market of folks who drove the sporty-looking coupe during their youth, and now need a back seat to haul their progeny. But why would Mitsu introduce yet another mid-sized cross over into a crowded segment when they already offer the Outlander Sport?

Chances are we all knew someone who drove the old Eclipse, or at least there was one on the high school parking lot. It had a coffee-can exhaust and ill-fitting, primer-colored body kit and peeling tint. “I’m gonna get a turbo kit with my birthday money, or maybe a 4G63 swap” the pimpled the adolescent owner would say before over-revving it while slipping his much-abused clutch lest he stall the engine while trying to look dope. He would pull away leaving only a stain from the many leaks and the smell of burned clutch. With few exceptions, these cars were neither very fast nor very furious.

 

INTERIOR

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Inside the Eclipse Cross, a seven-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash controls the nav and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible stereo. Audiophiles will appreciate the 710 watt, nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system replete with a ten-inch subwoofer in the back. Just like high school!

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Even with the leather appointments in the SEL trim level, there’s a certain plasticy feel to the cabin. But it’s hard to find anything wrong with the fit and finish though. It has a modern design that’s well executed and logically laid out. Interior room is good, and cargo room, while not the best in class, is adequate. Front and rear heated seats are a treat in the cold weather and the driver has the option to turn on the heated wheel.

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In the console, there’s a touchpad that looks like it was lifted directly out of a Lexus product. “So what,” you might say, “Lexus is nice, I want nice things.” It’s meant to mimic the way we easily swipe around between apps on our devices. But the layout falls tragically short of that mark. It’s practically impossible to use while driving, and really needs to go the way of Beta tapes and eight-track cassettes. One only hopes it doesn’t spread like a virus to other manufacturers.

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EXTERIOR

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The Eclipse cross looks good. It uses design elements that immediately establish that it’s from the Mitsu livery. It also seamlessly incorporates features from other marques. Thankfully, Mitsu hasn’t given in to the jumbo badge fad found on so many other cars.

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It has a blocky, contemporary aesthetic that is cohesive from bumper to bumper. More than one person commented on the wheels during the week I tested this car. And for good reason. The 18-inch alloys are an especially dashing design.

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All-wheel drive means that you won’t worry if things get a little slick out. This Eclipse cross was up-fitted with the option Mitsubishi roof rack rails. It’s a $380 option that not only looks the part, but it adds some functionality to this ride.

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THE DRIVE

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The 1.5-liter power plant under the hood churns out 152 horsepower, which is then dispersed to all for wheels via an eight-speed CVT automatic. This gets the car up to sixty in a not-so-swift eight seconds and change. As for the ride, it’s a little noisy and you can sense some top-heaviness in the corners. However, it’s surprisingly good off-road. I didn’t put it through any mud or snow, but in the rutted and gravely terrain of the photoshoot location, it scrambled around without missing a lick.

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Now, this may only be an issue with this particular car, but the sunroof emitted a whistle at freeway speeds which forced me to keep the moon roof portion closed. Sometimes the press fleet cars get their fair share of abuse and age prematurely. I keep this in mind when I drive them. But when I checked the odometer at the end of my test it read 450 miles. Of which, close to 200 were mine.

Basically, this car breached the womb of the Mistu plant and slid into my driveway on a slick of its own amnion juices. That is to say, it was rather new. To have this sort of issue this early in the game leads me to believe these problems will only multiply or get worse. Of course, if you buy one a repair would probably be covered under warranty.

 

THE DIRT

This is not a bad car. However, it falls victim to the Mitsubishi  “more stuff is better” mentality. It has too many trinkets and gimmicks. Rather than a flip-up HUD screen or a sub-woofer, even though they’re fun, let’s have a sunroof that doesn’t whistle, or some more horsepower, or some more sound deadening. A long list of features looks good next to a bargain price looks good on a window sticker, but tightening up the basics would go a long way toward making this a better driving experience.

The Eclipse cross starts at $23,595, which is on the inexpensive side for a five-seater crossover. For an Eclipse Cross dolled up like this test car, one can expect to shell out just north of $30,000. This is still less than comparably equipped competitors. Mitsubishi appears to have faith in their latest offering too. They’re standing behind it with a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. That’s about as good as warranties get. But we don’t drive warranties, do we? So, it really comes down to the feeling this car gives owners. My advice: Test drive it and then the comparable Nissan and Mazda to see for yourself.
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2018 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC – How Does it Stack Up?

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC – How Does it Stack Up?

Previous experience with Mitsubishi products may have tainted my perception of the brand for the worse. Not that they’re terrible cars, or that I’ve heard rumor that they are unreliable. No, it’s just that they feel a bit gimmicky, as if they’re angling to grab the attention of young buyers more interested in disco lights and subwoofers than a quality driving experience. Has Mitsubishi changed their tune for 2018?

INTERIOR

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photo cred: mitsubishicars.com

First impressions upon climbing behind the wheel might be, “wow, there’s an awful lot of plastic used inside this car.” The dash lacks a little design continuity from one side to the other, but how often do you sit and meditate on your dash? Set in the dash is a seven inch touch screen infotainment interface that features Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Relative to other infotainment options, Carplay is a dream to operate, which is a plus for the Outlander. The Rockford Fosgate stereo pushes 710-watts through nine speakers including a subwoofer in the rear cargo area. The sub seems like a holdover gimic from a time when Mitsu angling for the young and hip, but audiophiles may appreciate it.

The second and third row seats lay flat for an open cargo space. Pull the handle to fold the second row down and the seat bottom leaps forward on springs. It’s a small joy to behold. This is technically a seven seater, but the third row seats are not really a viable option for adults. The interior does feel a little chintzier than other crossovers in its class, but if you have a load of kids and their friends tearing it apart, maybe you’ll mourn the stained upholstery and sticky cup holders a little less

EXTERIOR

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photo cred: mitsubishicars.com

The body was updated in 2015. This wasn’t an all out makeover, but more of a gentle massage. It holds up though, and definitely looks better than the over-bite aesthetic pre-2012 predecessor. It looks a little dated today, but mostly because it’s not chasing current trends. For example, it has reasonably sized brand marques on the grille and liftgate rather than the jumbo logos found on lots of other brands.

DRIVE

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photo cred: mitsubishicars.com

The 224 horsepower V6 in the GT S-AWD is enough to deliver adequate acceleration. However, the six speed auto transmission does feel a little indecisive at times. The adaptive cruise control could be smoother, but it hardly merits mention. Steering feel is above average for a crossover but is a bit let down by the marshmallowy suspension that allows pretty noticeable body roll.  Honestly though, if you’re looking for a vehicle to carve up windy roads, you’re probably not shopping for crossovers in this price range.

The GT touring package features cross traffic alert and bird’s eye view which makes negotiating parking lots a breeze. Inside the cabin it is quiet and comfortable at highway speeds.

THE DIRT

When you consider the the price to seating ratio, the Outlander seems like a lot of car for the money. When you begin racking up the optional extras, the deal seems even sweeter. And if going green is your thing, Mitsubishi offers a plug-in hybrid version of the Outlander. Relative to its smaller sibling, the Outlander Sport, this vehicle feels a little more grown up, which is a move in the right direction for Mitsubishi. It’s a three row SUV starting under $24k, keep that in mind and you won’t be disappointed.