2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross First Drive Review | A welcome improvement

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross First Drive Review | A welcome improvement

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We’ve considered the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross a better-than-expected option in a mostly uninspiring vehicular segment ever since it was introduced for the 2018 model year. It’s sized and priced somewhere between subcompact and compact crossovers, making it an in-betweener that may attract some buyers due to its distinctive positioning. And it’s been given a pretty comprehensive refresh for the 2022 model year that erases a few of our complaints and makes it more compelling, especially against subcompact crossover models like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR.

In an odd bit of launch timing that we figure was probably shaken up by a certain global pandemic, there’s no 2021 edition. The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross isn’t a total redesign — it rides on the same platform and is powered by the same engine and transmission as before — but the exterior design has been given a serious makeover while the interior gets some nice ergonomic upgrades that will make it easier to live with on a daily basis.


On the outside, the updates are focused on the very tips of the little crossover. A redesigned front fascia further separates the light clusters into upper LED driving lights and lower stacked headlights and fog lamps. Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield grille design features chrome swooshes that flank a blacked-out diamond-pattern mesh in the center. There’s a definite human-esque look to the face of the Eclipse Cross, and in person the overall appearance is aggressive and interesting.

The rear received an even bigger makeover than the front. Gone is the two-piece rear glass that was bisected by a faux spoiler-shaped panel with full-width taillights, and in its place is a much more conventional hatchback with a larger single-piece window. The 2022 Eclipse Cross is a significant 5.5 inches longer than the 2020 model, and four of those were tacked on the back end. That makes for a bump in cargo capacity to 23.4 cubic feet (up 0.8 over the 2020 version) with the rear seat in place and 50.1 (an increase of 1.2 cubic feet) with the second row folded. It also adds 11% more floor area for long and/or wide items.

While the added space is a welcome improvement, the reconfiguration of the Eclipse Cross’s dashboard and center console may be even more useful. The infotainment screen, which measures 7 inches on the base ES model and 8 inches on everything else, was moved a couple inches closer to the driver. That allowed Mitsubishi to remove the unloved, Lexus-like console-mounted touchpad and instead rely solely on touchscreen inputs, which in turn freed up space for better cupholders.

Models equipped with the larger screen include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a TomTom-based navigation system is also included on SE and SEL trims. A column-mounted flip-up head-up display remains available. We found the interior trim and textures to be of reasonably quality considering the car’s price point. There aren’t any obvious cost-cutting measures to be found, and some options, like a heated steering wheel and rear seats, are unexpected. Another praiseworthy addition for 2022: physical knobs for volume and tuning.

As we mentioned at the outset, the Eclipse Cross is uniquely sized, with a wheelbase that’s longer than a Honda CR-V but a overall length that's shorter. There’s plenty of legroom for four passengers but less headroom than the majority of its competitors. The sliding rear seat is useful for maximizing space for passengers, cargo, or somewhere in between. In the real world, there’s enough room for a couple or small family to enjoy a weekend getaway with all their luggage in tow if they aren't heavy packers.

We’ve never really considered the Eclipse Cross to be particularly sporty, but its 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s 152 horsepower and, more important, 184 pound-feet of torque move the little ‘ute with greater verve than most of the subcompact crossover segment. An immediate, foot-to-the-floor launch is enough to leave all four wheels gripping for traction on loose surfaces as the continuously variable automatic transmission puts the engine in the sweet spot of its mid-range powerband.