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Mitsubishi ruffles feathers with the Eclipse Cross

Despite its famous successes in the gruelling Paris-Dakar races, Mitsubishi Motors has failed to ignite the local sales charts due to a limited model range and a relatively small dealership footprint.

Since its separation from Mercedes–Benz, the marque, which boasts excellent vehicles such as the Pajero and the Outlander, has been battling to garner greater sales success. This is despite the fact that it is among the best-selling vehicles in its home country, Japan, and also in the rugged Australasian continent.

Considered locally as an eccentric and often misunderstood niche manufacturer, the brand boasts ranges such as the now truly aging Pajero, the swanky Pajero Sport, and the highly-capable Triton bakkie, with the little ASX and Outlander representing the cross-over categories.

So the launch of what must be considered one of the best looking cars out of the Japanese stable is bound to raise a few eyebrows in the local market, since the brand is desperately in need of a range that will not only bring feet into the dealerships, but also provide an alternative to the highly–established brands.

Enter the defiant all-new Eclipse Cross which offers a bold and unique four-door coupé approach, fusing stylish design and functionality for folks who would like an alternative to the likes of Nissan’s original funky Juke, Toyota’s brave CR-H and Hyundai’s superb Kona.

The all-new Eclipse Cross Continuously Variable Transmission will be available in 4x2 and all-wheel drive (AWD), both with a six-speed CVT gearbox with Sports Mode coupled to Mitsubishi’s 2.0-litre MIVEC petrol engine.

Outstanding stability

Mitsubishi’s unique Super All-Wheel Control ensures outstanding stability in challenging road and driving conditions, ensuring excellent ride and handling characteristics.

A touch-screen radio comes standard, while as an optional extra, connecting your mobile device to a 7” touchscreen provides excellent connectivity. The screen extends or retracts when the ignition is turned on or off. Nice touch, Mitsubishi!

The new model has an impressive array of passive and active safety features, including seven airbags, driver and front passenger side and curtain airbags, and a driver knee airbag, which provides an extra level of protection when the driver might need it most.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is available in the two-wheel or front-wheel drive version and the AWD model.

The 2.0-litre MIVEC DOHC 16-valve four–cylinder engine uses ECI-Multi Point Fuel Injection with an output of 110kW @ 6 000rpm and 198Nm of torque at 4 200rpm.

Smooth ride

Coupled to this engine, the INVECS-III CVT with its six-step Sports Mode delivers effortless acceleration from any speed, slick gear changes and a smooth ride. In the AWD version, the driver can choose the AUTO, SNOW or GRAVEL drive mode depending on road conditions to enhance accuracy, straight-line stability and manoeuvrability on slippery surfaces.

The CVT with six-step Sports ssMode contributes to the 2.0l MIVEC engine’s outstanding fuel consumption of 7.9l/100 km (combined cycle) for the 4x2 and 8.1l/100km for the AWD derivative.*

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross enters its segment quite competitively:

Eclipse Cross 2.0L CVT 4x2 – R399 995.

Eclipse Cross 2.0L CVT AWD – R449 995.

Both models are covered by Mitsubishi’s Manufacturer’s Warranty of three years or 100 000km, a five-year/90 000km service plan and five-year/unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance. Service intervals are every 15 000 km.

So, if you are looking for something somewhat left of centre, something that is not a shrinking violet, then you are advised to take the Eclipse Cross for a test drive. You will be pleasantly surprised. Given the reputation for hardy drivetrains, the Eclipse should hold its value too.

*Figures supplied by Mitsubishi (SA).

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