CUV Review: 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

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Jul 162019

2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Like the celestial phenomenon for which it’s named, the Mitsubishi Eclipse has appeared and disappeared over time. It emerged as a sport coupe in 1989 but left in 2012. Last year, however, it re-emerged to join the growing crossover utility vehicle (CUV) segment as the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Latino Traffic Report recently test drove the 2019 Eclipse Cross SEL S-AWC and while some may miss the sport coupe, others will appreciate the added convenience and versatility of the new CUV.

While Mitsubishi would like the Cross to be known as a “Coupe SUV,” it really leans more toward a CUV in its design. It has a hint of sportiness on the outside with a sculpted form, wedge-shaped profile, and strong beltline. The front fascia reflects the Mitsubishi modern DNA, specifically on the grille, but it stands out at the back with a forward-raked rear window and angular rear gate that some might say looks akin to the Pontiac Aztek’s but much improved and without the polarizing effect. The test model also included the latest trend for two-tone exteriors with a black roof and Pearl White body at an added cost of $295.

LCD color multi-information display.

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo engine with direct injection, 152 horsepower, and 184 lb.–ft. of torque powers all Eclipse Crosses, It’s matched to an eight-speed continuously variable automatic transmission with a Sport mode. All but the base model also come with Mitsubishi’s all-wheel-drive technology or Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC).

The EPA estimated fuel economy for the test model was 25 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. It averaged 19.1 mpg on the test drive.

With six trim levels to choose from, the test SEL model also included the Touring Package, making it a top-of-the-line model. As such, it came equipped with higher-end features and technology, like a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert (also standard on the SE trim), adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, forward collision mitigation, and lane departure warning.

Rear seats folded flat.

All Crosses come with a fold-flat rear seat that exposes 48.9 cubic feet of cargo room, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, a seven-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, and an Eco indicator in the LCD color multi-information display within the gauge cluster.

Standard features on the top-of-the-line test model included paddle shifters, leather seats with orange accent stitching, a multiview backup camera, and a head-up display that reflected driving information on a plastic flap above the dash. The Touring package ($2,500) added a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel and rear seats, and the Rockford Fosgate premium audio sound system. Interaction with the infotainment system included a touch pad on the center console that appeared to be inspired by Lexus, but setting presets for FM and XM satellite radio (standard at this level) was a little clunky.

Still, the Cross was fun to drive and efficient at its purposes of scooting around town, with passengers and/or cargo, and along curves if necessary.

Pricing for the 2019 Mitsubishi Cross starts at $24,690. The as-tested price came to $33,305.

Sí: The new styling is modern and on trend, plus the added convenience with a CUV is always appreciated

No: Fuel economy, especially with a turbo engine and on the highway, is subpar. Also, not the best “new car” smell.

Long-term Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

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Feb 272015

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage ES

In the auto industry, more and more good things are coming in small packages. The newest addition comes from Mitsubishi with its all-new sub-compact, the 2014 Mirage.

I attended the launch last year in Canada but later was given the chance for an extended test over three months.

The little five-door hatchback offers seating for five plus the versatility of fold flat seats for added cargo room. The biggest selling point for this little cutie, however, is its fuel economy. It made the “Greenest Vehicles List” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and achieved an amazing 74.1 miles per gallon (mpg) in a driver challenge held by Mitsubishi. The potential fuel savings in a non-hybrid vehicle carries great appeal.

The Mirage and a field of Texas Paint Brush wildflowers.

The Mirage and a field of Texas Paint Brush wildflowers.

The Automotive Science Group (ASG) named the Mirage the 2014 “Best All-Around Performance Award” winner—the organization’s highest award—along with the 2014 “Best Environmental Performance Award” in the mini-compact class for the 2014 model year. Most recently, the Mirage was also named “the most affordable vehicle shoppers can buy” by

The ASG’s analysis, “found the Mirage to hold the smallest environmental footprint, not only in its class, but also of any conventionally powered model year 2014 automobile available in the North American market.”

Powered by a three-cylinder 1.2-liter engine, the Mirage should earn an EPA estimated 37 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 44 mpg on the highway with the optional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The Mirage ES that I drove came with the CVT and on a road trip to San Antonio, it reached an average 45.8 mpg. I beat that record later while driving around town when it reached 50.1 mpg.2014-04-20 mirage-hwy

The standard five-speed manual should earn an EPA estimated city/highway mpg of 34/42. A manual is always a plus with these leetle cars. The 1.2-liter produces a modest 74 horses with 72 lb.–ft. of torque and with the CVT, it’s loud and struggles sometimes to accelerate. I did appreciate the standard ECO light indicator that helps encourage fuel-efficient driving. My total accrued mileage came to 2839.3 and in that time I spent $183.85 on gasoline, or 53.49 gallons.

The test model did include the optional navigation system ($900) that comes with a back-up camera and a touch screen display. Even on a little car, extra visibility, especially parked between SUVs in a parking lot, comes in handy.

Purple cloth seats.

Purple cloth seats.

The navigation system does trump the mode button on the steering wheel so that it only turns the radio on and off and does not scroll through the radio preset groups, e.g. FM 1, FM 2, and AM, and it replaces the volume and tuning knobs with up and down toggles on the touch screen. This threw me for such a loop that I took it to the local dealership, Roger Beasely Mitsubishi, to make sure it wasn’t broken. Great service, by the way, from service department manager James Henson and mechanic Roy Medillon.

While the interior is rather plain, aside from the purple cloth seats, the touch screen for radio controls on the fully loaded version was refreshingly intuitive and simple to use. XM radio, however, was not included nor is it available and more than once, the navigation system took me on routes that I knew to be incorrect.

Other idiosyncrasies included a push start button located on the left side of the steering wheel, no vanity mirror on the front passenger side, and a light adjuster for the instrument cluster that was counter intuitive.

Backup camera.

Backup camera.

The Mirage is well equipped with safety features including traction control active stability control, airbags including knee protection, and keyless entry with panic alarm.

For a first-time car buyer, the Mirage has great appeal as an affordable, fuel-efficient compact with versatility. The rear seats folded easily and offered 47 cubic feet of cargo room. Without the seats deployed, there’s still 17.2 cubic feet of space to hold grocery bags.

Mitsubishi goes back to basics with the Mirage, and while it is a bit plain, the fuel savings, affordability, and nice list of standard and available features, were mighty impressive.

Pricing for the 2014 Mirage starts at $13,790 but the as-tested price Mirage ES, considered fully loaded, was $16,890.

Long-term Review: 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT S-AWC

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Jan 072015

2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GTThe 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander and I first met at the launch in Bend, Oregon last year. We got much better acquainted last winter when it was delivered to me in October at the start of a three-month loan. The elegant crossover impressed me with its versatility and technology.

The all-new Outlander is the only compact crossover in its class to offer seven-passenger available seating. While I don’t normally have a lot of passengers to haul, I took full advantage of this at Christmas when I joined my family in Bryan, Texas. My fifteen-year-old, 5’11”nephew made a beeline for the back seat, seeking the most private area of the vehicle. Admittedly, he had to sit at an angle to fit comfortably.

2013-10-23 18.10.44The particular model I drove, the Outlander GT S-AWC, is the top-of-the-line model, which meant I got to try cool upgrades like Super All-Wheel-Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system, a bigger engine, and Rockford-Fosgate premium sound system, CD player included!

We don’t normally get much snow but this has been an unusually cold winter in Texas so I engaged the S-AWC in icy wet conditions just to feel a little more secure on the road. It also continued to save fuel by allowing the vehicle to function as a two-wheel-drive. Sensors will instantaneously reactivate 4WD when deemed necessary (poor road or weather conditions, etc.).

Powered by the 3.0-liter 24-valve V6 engine with 224 horses and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, the Outlander’s fuel economy is pretty impressive. A 2.4-liter four cylinder matched to a continuously variable transmission is the base powertrain.

The EPA estimated fuel economy for this model should come in at 20 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. While I accumulated more than 2,600 miles overall, most were in the city, but I did take two road trips, one to Dallas and the other, as mentioned, to Bryan. Fuel economy varied. The onboard fuel economy calculator that resets after each restart, recorded average mpg of 18–28.5, generally hovering between 24–26 mpg. My total gasoline bill came to $200.

2014 Outlander Eco Mode.

2014 Outlander Eco Mode.

The ECO-mode button, standard on all models, seemed to enhance fuel economy and it reportedly reduces emissions by slightly lowering engine power on initial acceleration as well as the airflow volume of the air conditioning.

Certain design features of note include the Klingon-esque grille that adds to the gas saving aerodynamics of the front fascia and intricately configured rear taillamps. The test Outlander was also a beautiful shade of dark blue, specifically, Cosmic Blue.

Navigation has been less friendly than I would like. Admittedly, part of that was attributed to operator error—I misread the address/intersection function as one word—but I’ve used several navigation systems, most recently in the Infiniti Q60, and had no trouble. Heading to Dallas, it produced a longer route than MapQuest.

2013-12-07 18.40.28The interior could use more accent lighting, especially under the center dash, and the entertainment displays were hard to read during the day. However, the entertainment system was also one of the easiest to use for programming radio and satellite stations. The display allowed you to choose between FM1 and FM2 by touching the screen rather than scrolling to find them as most system do.

Testing a vehicle over the holidays offered many cargo carrying opportunities and the Outlander’s 63.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the two rear rows of seats folded flat was put to good use. I successfully loaded two Christmas trees, Christmas gifts, and two dollies to help a friend with a move.

Getting the second row to fold flat, however, was less intuitive than other systems. The headrests had to be removed and then the 60/40-split second-row seat had to be released by pushing down it to lift up so that the seat back could fold flat. Confused? So was I but in the end, I managed.2013-12-25 13.08.56

The compact crossover segment has been a boon for automakers, attracting young families with the promise of versatility and fuel economy. Over the last three months, the Outlander has come through on the above as well as safety, winning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick.

The test model came well-equipped with optional equipment like a lane change warning system that was a little hypersensitive but a nice feature on a road trip, plus the collision impact warning system promoted in the Outlander commercials. It really works—I tested it at the launch in Portland. I would still like to see a blind sport warning system and while a back-up camera is helpful, I prefer a parking sensor, especially at night.

Overall, the Outlander was a treat to drive and good value.  The base price on the 2014 Outlander is $23,820 with destination fees. The test model started at $28,620 but with extra equipment, the as-tested price came to $34,720.