Once one of the rising stars of the U.S. automotive market, Mitsubishi has barely qualified for the also-ran category in recent years.
The Japanese automaker’s struggles have been global and it’s even begun pulling out of the UK and other European markets – but, if anything, it promises to redouble its efforts in the U.S., with a “commitment to delivering a full showroom full of new and extensively redesigned vehicles” by the middle of 2021.
One of the most critical of those models will be a makeover of the Eclipse Cross crossover that made its debut in 2017, harkening back to the once-popular Eclipse sports car, albeit now in CUV form. While it will be some months before we get to see the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in all its glory, the automaker has kindly provided a shadowy teaser image. And, with a bit of help from Photoshop, we’ve pulled out some details from the mist.
“The new design draws inspiration from the e-Evolution Concept, emphasizing the strength and dynamics from our SUV heritage, while enhancing the cleanliness and elegance of a coupe-like SUV,” said Seiji Watanabe, division general manager of Design for Mitsubishi Motor Corp. “The Eclipse Cross is the first step toward the next generation of Mitsubishi Design, and there is so much more to come.”
Set to reach U.S. showrooms during the first quarter of next year, the revised image reveals the new Eclipse Cross will come closer to the brand design language Mitsubishi has migrated to since the crossover first appeared in 2017. That starts with revised headlamps, swept back running lights and C-shaped chrome trim flowing into the front quarter panels. The chrome touch is repeated with the strip that accents the raked windshield and coupe-like roofline.
There’s a deeper draw to the rocker panels and the silhouette reveals a much more angular shape to the back end, with taillights that rise high up the hatch.
Though Mitsubishi isn’t saying – or showing – anything about the interior, it would be a reasonable guess that the cabin will undergo a moderate level of updating, as well.
These days, vehicle updates of this level generally are accompanied by the addition of new or improved technology, including the infotainment system. Mitsubishi is confirming that, going forward, “every … vehicle will receive standard Forward Collision Mitigation with Pedestrian Detection.”
While details are sparse, the 2022 Eclipse Cross will fall into the “redesigned” – rather than “all-new,” category – it appears, riding on the same underlying platform in use now. But there very well could be more than cosmetic changes.
Right now, the crossover is offered with a single powertrain, a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder making 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The base package drives the front wheels, though all-wheel drive is available. That package is acceptable, but hardly up to the sort of sporty performance that might come to mind among those familiar with the original Eclipse coupe. We hope to learn later this year if something more peppy might be in the offing, if nothing else than as an option.
Mitsubishi just might surprise us and add an electrified driveline considering the company’s increasing focus on that technology as part of its duties as a member of the global Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
Indeed, in the news release accompanying this photo, the company noted that, “An upgraded internal-combustion powertrain and increased all-electric driving range will be added to the Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) in Q4 of 2020.”
The release also noted that an “all-new next generation” version of the Outlander will follow the launch of the updated Eclipse Cross during the second quarter of 2021. And both the Mirage and Mirage G4 will see styling updates, inside and out, early next year, as well.
“As the new generation of Mitsubishi Motors’ vehicles are revealed, we are excited for the future of the brand as a leader in high-quality, top-value, leading-edge technology,” said Yoichi Yokozawa, president and CEO of MMNA. “We are committed to our customers and to our dealer partners in North America, and to delivering a completely updated showroom of vehicles.”