Mitsubishi expands reach in compact SUV sector with Eclipse Cross in Europe and Middle East

 

The arrival of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross gives the automaker three models that can compete for buyers in Europe’s most popular SUV segment.

In terms of size and price, Mitsubishi has placed the Eclipse Cross in the middle of Europe’s compact SUV sector, which accounted for 1.94 million sales last year, according to data from JATO Dynamics. This allows Mitsubishi to position the slightly smaller ASX as a competitor in the small SUV segment, which accounted for 1.34 million sales last year, JATO’s figures show. In Germany, the Eclipse Cross starts at 21,990 euros, while the ASX begins at 16,490 euros, which is below the Opel Mokka small SUV that starts at 18,990 in its home market.

The larger Mitsubishi Outlander has the same starting price as the Eclipse Cross in Germany, but Mitsubishi is confident the Eclipse’s more daring coupe-like styling will help lower the average age of customers. Mitsubishi’s team in the UK estimates the average age of Eclipse Cross buyers will be 40 years old, compared with 45 for the Outlander, managing director Lance Bradley said.

The car is the last global model to be designed and engineered at Mitsubishi before Nissan took over at the end of 2016. The Eclipse Cross is based on a shorter version of the Outlander platform. Subsequent cars are expected to use platforms from the Renault-Nissan alliance. The launch engine is a 161-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline unit with a 2.2-liter diesel following at the end of this year. Mitsubishi has said an electrified version of the car will follow, without being specific on the date or the technology it will use.

The gasoline-powered car is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission.

Entry versions of the car will be front-wheel drive for some markets, for example Germany and Italy, but in the UK all models are four-wheel drive. The UK has chosen to give its variants a relatively high specification.

“We don’t do poverty-spec cars. It’s not what our customers want,” Bradley said. All models in the UK come with a so-called “floating” high-level dashboard screen that can be operated either by touch or via a trackpad near the gear lever. This screen doesn’t offer a satellite navigation option, which means drivers must use mapping apps on their Android or Apple phones mirrored onto the screen. A more conventional 7-inch touchscreen with navigation is offered in other European markets as an alternative to the floating screen.

The Eclipse Cross brings the latest active safety technology, including adaptive cruise control that keeps a set-distance to slower cars ahead, and a collision warning system that’ll brake the car to a stop below 40 kph.

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