Aces up the sleeve of the all-new 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross include its handsome good looks, a competent engine, and a strong value proposition. But these attributes are offset by a lackluster interior, finicky infotainment system, and the limited availability of advanced safety features.

Best Value

Pricing for 2018 Eclipse Cross starts at $24,425 for a front-wheel-drive base ES model and travels up from there to $32,310 for an all-wheel-drive SEL equipped with the optional Touring Package and outfitted with Red Diamond paint, floor mats, and a cargo cover.

Standard fare includes the usual power features plus a rearview camera, fog lights, LED running lights and taillights, heated outside mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels. With a single engine and transmission, we'd skip the base ES and the slightly better LE and opt for the SE with standard all-wheel drive, exterior chrome touches, better seat fabric, a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless push-button start, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, an electronic parking brake, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist.

Adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning are only offered as an option on the top SEL model.

  • Model: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SE
  • Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 152 hp / 184 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 25 City / 26 Hwy
  • Options: Carpeted Floor Mats and Portfolio ($135, mandatory), Tonneau Cover ($190, mandatory)
  • Base Price: $27,715 (including a $995 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price: $27,715

Performance

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Eclipse Cross features a smooth and controlled ride and predictable handling. There's enough suspension compliance that irregular pavement and large bumps are absorbed with ease. The engine – a 1.5-liter turbo-four new to Mitsubishi – is equally impressive, at least on the low end, with peak twist available at just 1,800 rpm and continuing to 4,500 rpm. The steering is also sharp, nicely weighted, and quick without being jumpy, with weight building nicely and a decent amount of feedback through the wheel. Fuel economy, at an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway, and 25 combined for the all-wheel-drive model, is decent for the class, although hardly spectacular.

The Eclipse Cross steps off the line smartly thanks to plenty of low-end torque from the turbo-four. But the initial acceleration quickly tapers off, resulting in a zero-to-60 mph time of nearly 10 seconds. The blame falls squarely on a CVT transmission programmed for fuel efficiency rather than performance. The CVT also hesitates at passing speeds, cancelling out any advantage the turbo gives to the engine's overall lack of power. Likewise, the brake pedal requires a delicate touch as the brakes show a tendency to grab, and grab early.

Style

Based in part on the Outlander and Outlander Sport, the Eclipse Cross looks like neither, but aims to bring a sophisticated look to the mass-market small crossover class. Its shape largely accomplishes this mission with a handsome design and coupe-like roofline – making a number of competitors look boring and drab by comparison.

It's wrapped around an interior that, for cost considerations, is less daring. The dashboard is dominated by a seven-inch display – a simple touch panel display audio system on the base ES and thin display audio system with touchpad controller for the rest of the lineup. First row seating is comfortable, while the cargo area boasts 22.6 cubic feet behind the back row and 48.9 cubic feet with the back row folded – both above average for the class. The sliding second row can slip fore and aft up to eight inches for more cargo space or better rear seat leg room, while the rear seatback reclines up to 16 degrees for more comfort.

On the flip side, the Eclipse Cross is really a four-seater; three adults will find accommodations extremely tight in the thinly-padded second row seats – a situation that's exacerbated for tall riders on models equipped with the panoramic sunroof. Another confounding feature is the choice of both a touchscreen and touchpad on most models, which is an unnecessary and unintuitive redundancy for a system that's already saddled with confusing menus and a finicky multi-touch gesture interface.

Topping things off is an interior rife with hard plastics and dour upholstery, that – outside of models equipped with a sunroof – feels more like a cave and features poor sightlines out of the rear quarter (courtesy of a steeply-raked C-pillar) and in back (where the rear spoiler neatly splits the rear window in half).

The Best and Worst Things

Kudos to Mitsubishi for offering a small crossover with handsome looks and a compelling value proposition.

A lackluster interior is no surprise in this segment, but a finicky infotainment system and narrow availability of advanced safety features will limit the Eclipse Cross's appeal.

Right For? Wrong For?

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Slick styling, a turbo-four, and a strong value proposition should attract value-oriented buyers.

The 152 horsepower and fun-sucking CVT will have enthusiast crossover buyers looking elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross offers handsome looks, decent fuel economy, and a strong value proposition, but a plebian interior, finicky infotainment system, and limited availability of advanced safety features keep it from being a top contender in its class.