Let’s begin this with a disclaimer – it’s at all times a raffle to tear on a automobile one has but to drive. I might find yourself consuming these phrases sometime if I drive the Eclipse Cross and prefer it. Which, in fact, is totally attainable.
Nonetheless, I don’t really feel it’s completely unfair to evaluate a automobile primarily based on observations gleaned from an auto present show, in addition to from the on-paper specs. Not as long as you disclose, as I did simply now, that the evaluation is topic to additional examination. Hell, if it was unfair, auto journalists would have one much less sort of story to jot down after every present.
As I write this, it’s been solely a couple of day since I used to be on the present ground in Los Angeles, and I’m nonetheless making an attempt to kind via my emotions in regards to the most-important unveilings. The Subaru Ascent is bland however will promote like proverbial hotcakes, the three-row Lexus RX brought about me a little bit of eye-roll however the two-row LX is intriguing, the Mazda 6 hasn’t modified sufficient however turbo energy sounds good, and I in some way by no means noticed the brand new Corvette ZR1. Additionally, I actually hope Toyota builds the FT-AC idea, and I’m not positive how one can really feel about Nissan and its pumped-up Kicks.
Then there’s the Eclipse Cross. That identify has been identified for a while, and it makes me growly – I don’t just like the Eclipse identify being utilized to a different generic crossover. Sure, the final Eclipse sports activities automobile was unhealthy (a harbinger of issues to come back, it seems) and positive, from a enterprise perspective it is sensible, however I don’t have to love it. I get that Mitsu owns the identify and is aware of it has cachet with patrons over a sure age (not coincidentally, a lot of whom now have households and a necessity for a crossover), so it is sensible, however I nonetheless have the appropriate to be grumpy about it.
Complaints in regards to the identify apart, I used to be nonetheless curious. Possibly it wouldn’t suck! Possibly us auto critics had been pre-judging unfairly primarily based on the model’s current struggles and previous historical past of automobiles that both underwhelm (Lancer) or do only one factor properly (Evo). Possibly we’re too harsh on the Mirage, which isn’t nice, however appeals to those that can’t afford a lot else, thus fulfilling its mission.
Mitsubishi’s current monitor report isn’t good, however struggling corporations can flip themselves round. Hyundai did it, so did Kia. So did Mazda. The entire Detroit automakers have had durations of darkish days adopted by eras of energy, save maybe the perpetually troubled Chrysler (now FCA), which at all times appears to hold on via the energy of 1 or two manufacturers propping up the remainder of the corporate.
It takes time, positive, however it often begins with one mannequin. And whereas Mitsu’s present crossover choices, the Outlander and Outlander Sport, are removed from the most effective buys within the class, they aren’t with out some first rate qualities. So maybe the Eclipse Cross might mark the beginning of a turnaround.
After I arrived on the Mitsubishi sales space shortly after the disclosing (a couple of minutes late, because of the Jeep Wrangler insanity taking place close by), I initially had a optimistic response – the outside styling, whereas becoming the crossover mildew to a T, was better-looking within the flesh than I anticipated. Not head-turning, however it appeared just like the designers perceive what works within the crossover market in 2017.
Then the door opened. I didn’t get shut for lengthy – only a fast pop into the cabin to snap a couple of pics – however I might see a touchpad infotainment controller, a la the much-loathed unit that Lexus makes use of. Atop the middle stack sits a tacked-on show display screen of the kind that’s widespread throughout the business. Whereas it’s private choice and never all will agree, I’m not a fan of those chintzy-looking shows. Built-in simply appears to be like higher.
The remainder of the cabin was marred with boring grey and black tones, and didn’t look notably superior over what Mitsubishi at present affords. The format appears to be like logical, not less than, however on first look that’s in regards to the nicest factor I can say.
That’s an issue for a model that’s just lately been form of the forgotten stepchild of the business. A turnaround will take time and a transparent technique. Mitsubishi doesn’t appear to have the latter and it’s unclear how a lot of the previous the mum or dad firm will permit it.
If Mitsubishi was going to comply with within the steps of different manufacturers who’ve gone from afterthoughts to a part of the dialog, a powerful effort on the Eclipse Cross could be a very good begin. To this point, that doesn’t seem like the case.
Credit score the place credit score is due – a fast scan of the press launch signifies that not less than the accessible options are class-competitive, and the Eclipse Cross does begin at an inexpensive $23,295 earlier than D and D. So, as with the Outlander – which additionally begins at about the identical worth – the Eclipse Cross can have enchantment to worth customers.
The factor is, that’s not sufficient. Mitsubishi can proceed to chase worth patrons, and it received’t develop as a model. Sooner or later, the corporate goes to have so as to add different autos to the lineup that enchantment on extra than simply being low cost. That’s how different manufacturers have grown, whilst these manufacturers proceed to supply inexpensive autos in courses the place so doing is sensible.
As an alternative, we get this. A five-seat compact crossover that doesn’t transfer the needle and affords one much less seating row than the Outlander for comparable cash, whereas additionally costing a bit greater than the five-seat Outlander Sport.
I don’t know what Mitsubishi is doing, but when the model actually needs to regain the market place it as soon as held, this doesn’t seem like the appropriate option to do it.
[Images © 2017 Tim Healey/TTAC]