Text by Kevin C. Limjoco; Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

THE MITSUBISHI Eclipse name is back — but it is not a hot sporting coupé. Instead it has become a very comfortable utilitarian compact crossover. Which begs the question of why use the Eclipse name? I trust that Mitsubishi, at its simplest, wanted to use the name for good recall purposes. Anyhow, our good-looking Bronze Metallic Eclipse Cross SE test model turned out to be a very competent and overachieving five-seat crossover that I reckon would be competitive in our Philippine market.

In North America, the Eclipse Cross is positioned between their Outlander models. The chassis is quite good — It uses a Mitsubishi GS “Project Global” platform that is used in the award-winning seven-seat Xpander, the ASX, the Lancer Evolution X (shocked?), the Jeep Compass, and the upcoming Peugeot 4008, just to name a few. Unlike in the Xpander, though, the Eclipse Cross uses an independent multi-link rear suspension, appropriately larger all-disc brakes (11.6-in vented disc in front and 11.9-in discs at the rear), a turbocharged version of the 1.5-liter engine with 152 bhp and 184 lb-ft of torque (0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds with a top speed of 190 km/h, 25 mpg City & 26 mpg Highway), and when the S-AWC is engaged, has AWD capability for all-weather driving confidence.

On-road ride comfort is actually remarkable and it was very fuel-efficient. Even if the modest engine felt labored at full throttle, it worked very well under normal driving conditions. When the roads get tighter, however, the soft dampers do yield to a lot of body roll, but its forgivable. The standard wheel setup was good too; it rides on low-rolling resistance Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus P225/55R-18 97H tires on handsome-looking alloy rims.

It’s actually a lot of vehicle for the money and is a very good value. Acceleration is competent enough; it will outrun a Subaru Crosstrek and a Mazda CX-3 with a quieter and more spacious cabin. The infotainment system was sufficient with its seven-inch touchscreen but it lacked the oomph found in other Mitsubishi vehicles and it is managed by an inconsistent touchpad controller. For its affordable price, it does have blind-spot monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, a comprehensive safety suite of electronic nannies, and a proximity key with push-button start.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has a lot of potential and if it is packaged more competitively in the right market it could be a dark horse hit.