The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC is a crossover that creates its own space in a crowded field.
What is it?
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC, which we will call the Eclipse Cross SEL going forward, is a subcompact crossover that isn’t as large as many of the compact crossovers we know and love like the Mazda CX-5, but is also isn’t as small as many of the other subcompacts on the market. We found it to be an interesting offering by Mitsubishi given the price point.
Pricing and trims
The Eclipse Cross Line has five trims starting at about $24,500 and ending at the price of our tester, $32,310. The least expensive AWD version costs about $26K before any options. At these prices, there is no meaningful discount between the Eclipse Cross and larger compact crossovers. For example, the most expensive 2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring Premium costs about $33,600 with navigation and special paint included.
The Eclipse Cross SEL uses a 1.5-liter turbo and CVT transmission. They work pretty well together. Acceleration is not a problem, but the drivetrain is a bit loud and a bit unrefined. There is some rubber-banding when starting off. By comparison to the Honda CR-V, which also uses a 1.5-liter engine and a CVT, the Eclipse Cross SEL seems a bit less polished. Unlike the larger Outlander SEL, the Eclipse Cross SEL does not feel underpowered in normal driving.
Ride and handling
Like most Mitsubishi crossovers, the new 2018 Eclipse Cross SEL feels a bit bouncy and a bit high-centered. There is more lean in the corners than the CR-V and CX-5 have and quick maneuvers feel a bit unbalanced. It is not really a problem and it is enjoyable to drive the Eclipse Cross SEL, but back to back with a Subaru Forester or Mazda CX-5, the Eclipse Cross SEL seems outclassed in terms of handling. Ride comfort over terrible roads was very good.
The front heated leather seats of the Eclipse Cross SEL are comfortable and easy to adjust with the driver’s side power controls. In back, the seats are comfortable and there is plenty of room for two adults or three kids for normal trips. The Eclipse Cross has 94.6 cubic feet of interior passenger volume. That is much less than the 103 cubic feet both the CR-V and CX-5 have. Interestingly, the Outlander Sport is even bigger with 97.5 cubic feet. The much smaller-looking Subaru Crosstrek has 100.9 cubic feet for passengers. We hope we have given you a good understanding of the size by these comparisons. Parked side by side with a Forester or CX-5, the Eclipse Cross SEL looks about the same size but isn’t.
With just 22.6 feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, and 48.9 with them folded, the Eclipse Cross SEL is again smaller than all of the compact crossovers. The CX-5, for example, has 30.9 / 59.6 cu ft of space. The Crosstrek has 20.8 / 55.3 cu ft. The cargo area is very easy to use with a nice square shape and many cubbies for storage. Under the cargo floor is a compact spare tire and more storage space. The Pontiac Aztec-shaped rear hatch was very practical. (Google an Aztec image if you don’t remember the look).
Infotainment, Features, and Content
We have always loved Mitsubishi’s infotainment systems for their combination of simplicity and features. However, the Eclipse Cross SEL has a few things we need to point out. There is no volume or tuner knob in the car, and that just drives us nucking futs. Instead, there is a touch-pad like the one we have been complaining about in Lexus cars since they invented it. The touch-screen works well and with a knob on either side, like the Outlander SEL we recently tested, would be perfect. The steering wheel controls work well but are not a substitute for a simple knob.
The Rockford Fosgate audio was good and the Eclipse Cross SEL has both Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity. There is a head-up display that works well, but is of the older mechanical screen type. A plastic window rises up when one starts the vehicle and then folds in two ways when it closes. Cool, but if we were shopping for this vehicle we would wonder if that mechanism is going to last 200,000 miles after baking in the sun and then freezing in the winter on top of the all-black dash for the next 15 years.
Our $32,310 SEL trim Eclipse Cross did not have included nav or a power liftgate. For just $1,300 more you can get both in a CX-5 Grand Touring Premium.
Safety & Value
The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has not yet been fully tested by IIHS or NHTSA. However, Mitsubishi has an outstanding reputation for safety. Our tester had active driving aids and automatic emergency braking.
Mitsubishi’s warranty is one of the best in the business. The bumper to bumper limited warranty lasts 5 years or 60K miles and the drivetrain warranty is 7 years or 100K miles. There is no included maintenance with the vehicle. Given the price point of the top-trim SEL in comparison to its peers, the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC seems a bit on the pricey side to us.
The 2018 The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL 1.5T S-AWC is a fun and good-looking subcompact crossover. It has enough space to be a great family vehicle and with its AWD system is a true 4-season, all-road vehicle. Those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary should give this vehicle a test drive to see if they like it as much as we did.