Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - July 2, 2018

Mitsubishi has added a third crossover to its lineup, the stylish 2018 Eclipse Cross. It's close in size to the brand's Outlander Sport, offers many of the same features, and costs a little more. Is the Eclipse Cross worth it, or does the venerable Outlander Sport do the same job for less?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Eclipse Cross & Outlander Sport »

What the Eclipse Cross Gets Right

Like the Outlander Sport, the new Eclipse Cross is on the smaller end of the compact crossover class. It can accommodate five passengers reasonably well, but cargo soace (48.9 cubic feet) is closer to a subcompact or hatchback. All-wheel drive is available, along with all the safety and infotainment technology most buyers want.

From a design standpoint, the Eclipse Cross is a breakthrough vehicle for Mitsubishi. The sides feature upper and low creases running parallel to the diagonal line established by the chromed door sills. The liftgate holds a large glass panel with a full-width spoiler across the middle. Most of the rear lighting is artfully embedded the spoiler. The interior layout follows current Mitsubishi design language, but the materials are a cut above what's offered elsewhere, especially the optional leather upholstery with contrasting stitching.

All models come with a turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The 1.5-liter works well with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), providing busts of power exactly when needed. Surprisingly, all-wheel drive comes standard on all models except the base ES, where it's optional at just $600. The Eclipse Cross is EPA-rated at 27 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, or 26 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

What the Outlander Sport Gets Right

The Outlander Sport remains a popular choice for buyers whose chief concern is price. Even when loaded with every upgrade in the book, the Sport stays below $30,000. This year brings some styling updates to the spunky body and a new center console inside. Like the Eclipse Cross, the Sport has room for five, and cargo space is nearly identical at 49.5 cubic feet.

The standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder puts out 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. Buyers have a choice of a five-speed manual or CVT. Most models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which delivers 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque, and comes only the CVT. All-wheel drive is available with both engines, but requires an upgrade to the CVT with the 2.0-liter.

Front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 27 mpg combined with the 2.0-liter engine and CVT, or 25 mpg when equipped with either the manual transmission or the 2.4-liter. With all-wheel drive, the Sport achieves 26 mpg with 2.0-liter and 25 mpg with the 2.4-liter.

Does Newer Mean Better?

The Eclipse Cross offers up-to-the-minute styling and a more inviting interior. We also like how well its engine plays with the CVT. The Outlander Sport isn't as refined or handsome, but it covers all the important bases at an economical price.

Our Verdict: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is the product of fresher thinking and it really shows in the details.

Take a closer look at the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross »

Take a closer look at the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.