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2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Quick Spin: Looks Better, Works Better

mitsubishi-eclipse-cross-2022--01-angle--front.jpg 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

Mitsubishi has been quietly operating on the sidelines of the American market for the past several years, suffering from a lack of new, exciting, relevant and competitive products. A partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance means that new metal is coming and old metal is getting revised, too. Such is the situation with the awkwardly named Eclipse Cross compact SUV, which is getting some love for the 2022 model year and trying desperately not to be overshadowed by its big brother, the all-new Nissan Rogue-based 2022 Outlander.

The Eclipse Cross needn’t worry, however, as it presents a size and flavor very different from the bigger Outlander that works hard to be worthy of attention, sporting new revisions that make it more user-friendly and a bit more upscale

Related: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Review: From Outcast to Outstanding

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2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross LE
10,353 mi.
$28,998
Great Deal | $1,124 under
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2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SE
13,521 mi.
$26,200 $300 price drop
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Fixing the Awkwardness

The biggest gripe about the prior Eclipse Cross was related to its styling, featuring a bisected rear window that made rear visibility a challenge. The styling updates for 2022 have done away with that: Though the Eclipse Cross still features some distinctive lines from stem to stern, the rear hatchback has been replaced by a single-window conventional design that makes for a much cleaner view out the back and a more cohesive, attractive look overall. That new hatch also allowed Mitsubishi to increase interior cargo room by approximately 1 cubic foot, to 23.4 cubic feet with the second-row seatbacks upright and 50.1 cubic feet with them folded. 

The front end also gets some changes, bringing Mitsubishi’s new familial “Dynamic Shield” grille to the Eclipse Cross, and I have to say it works. Parked next to the more upright, formal-looking Outlander at a recent drive event, it was obvious that Mitsu stylists were aiming for a sportier look to the smaller SUV versus the long-roof, traditional shape of the bigger model. The new Eclipse Cross is a little more than 5 inches longer than the old one, but that’s all bumper and styling — the wheelbase and bones of the Eclipse Cross haven’t changed from the outgoing model. 

(Mostly) Fixing the Cheapness

Other areas of attention include the cabin, which gets an additional color choice on the top SEL trim level and selective materials upgrades. My test car had very respectable fabric inside, and combined with the nicer dash materials, it felt better than Mitsubishi’s previous efforts for sure. Not everything is of a newfound quality, as some of the switches and stalks still feel flimsy and fragile, but overall it feels competitive with the rest of the market’s offerings.

The biggest and most obvious change comes from the multimedia system. It features an optional 8-inch touchscreen, now mounted 2 inches closer to the driver, which has eliminated the touchpad between the front seats. The company has also brought back legit knobs for volume and tuning, ditching the prior generation system’s touch-sensitive sliders that nobody liked. A new navigation format comes with this system, and all of it looks modern, easy to use and far friendlier than before. 

In fact, there’s a lot of equipment in this interior that you might not expect in a vehicle in this class, such as heated seats and steering wheel, and even a head-up display that projects information onto an articulated panel atop the dash. If you’re a taller driver, this HUD will be largely useless, as its position does not sufficiently adjust to be fully visible to tall folk. This is partly the fault of the slightly unusual high-riding seating position, which doesn’t allow the driver’s seat to sufficiently descend for taller drivers. Combine it with a steering wheel that’s not quite centered on the driver (it’s inboard just a tick), and the whole seating position feels like it’s not entirely designed for American-sized customers. It’s not uncomfortable, just a little unusual.

Sporty Looking … 

The sheet metal and interior saw most of the attention for the 2022 Eclipse Cross, but there have been some refinements under the skin. The powertrain isn’t one of those areas, however, with all versions of the Eclipse Cross powered by an untouched turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine pumping out a hard-working 152 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is mated to what Mitsubishi calls an “eight-speed continuously variable transmission,” which is a little odd, as CVTs don’t have gears and, thus, “speeds.” The company has tuned in artificial shift points to create the illusion of a stepped transmission, given how most people think a CVT just feels unnatural. The overall effect is that the Eclipse Cross feels only adequately powered and certainly not overpowered — the sporty looks of it do not translate into sporty performance. The Eclipse Cross is on the slow side, and the transmission feels like a rubber band with slow responsiveness.

The brakes are strong, bringing things to a halt with a firm pedal, excellent feel and progressive action. Steering feel is largely numb, highly boosted and not tuned toward aggressive driving. The suspension did receive revisions for 2022, with new shocks and springs retuned to maintain what Mitsubishi calls a “comfortable and confident” driving feel. That’s perhaps the best way to describe the experience: Ride quality is good, it doesn’t feel bouncy or erratic in its behavior, and it seems well suited to its mission as a commuter and urban runabout.

Pricing and Trims

There are four possible trim levels for the Eclipse Cross, though Mitsubishi tends to lump its options into packages, so picking the options you want means you’ll be picking the trim you want. It starts with the well-equipped ES at $24,590 (all prices include destination) for front-wheel-drive (Mitsubishi’s all-wheel drive, called Super All-Wheel Control, can be added to any trim level for $1,600). The base model includes items like 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels, automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen, four-speaker audio system and standard forward collision mitigation with lane departure warning.

From there, you can go to the LE trim for $25,940 that adds 18-inch wheels, heated front seats and mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, LED foglights, the 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. 

The SE is next up for $27,340 and adds an eight-way power driver’s seat, synthetic suede seating, keyless entry with push-button start, a six-speaker audio system and additional safety features like blind spot warning, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high beams. Add in a power panoramic moonroof for another $1,000. 

The top SEL trim is $28,590 and adds paddle shifters, a heated steering wheel, black headliner and pillars, a power front passenger seat, multiview camera system and leather seats. Add to that the SEL Touring Package for $2,100 and get slightly different exterior color combinations, heated rear seats, an eight-speaker premium audio system, head-up display, panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming mirror and adaptive cruise control.

The changes to Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross for 2022 have demonstrably improved the beast. It’s acceptably powered, calm and confident, it looks better than it did before, it works better than it did before, and it features fully updated, modern electronics to keep it competitive. It seems to represent a newfound impetus at Mitsubishi to once again be a part of the mainstream — and combined with the influx of money, attention and future equipment being brought by Nissan, provides more viable entries into the crowded compact SUV field.

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