There was a time when Mitsubishi was one of the hottest emerging brands in the U.S. market. Today, it’s little more than an automotive afterthought — for those who even recognize the name. But don’t count it out.
By the time the new model year comes along every Mitsubishi model will either be all-new or have undergone a significant refresh. This includes the 2022 Eclipse Cross.
Launched in late 2017, it picked up more than the once-popular Mitsubishi coupe pulled from the market at the end of the 2012 model year. The name was meant to suggest this is a vehicle emphasizing the “sport” in sport-utility vehicle.
The initial model was, to put it charitably, a bit weird looking, with a quirky split glass tailgate and other awkward details. It was short on power, offered too little cargo space and simply fell off the radar.
The 2022 Eclipse Cross gets more than the normal mid-cycle “refresh” and, as a result, has a lot more going for it. That starts with a surprisingly affordable base price of $24,590. It adds nearly half a foot in overall length helping shortfalls like cargo space. The turbocharged inline-4 engine offers reasonable power and the crossover proved reasonably nimble during my half day behind the wheel.
Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” design language is, no question, distinctive. But it hasn’t quite come together until now. The 2022 Eclipse Cross is a big improvement. It helps that the crossover adds another 5.5 inches in total length — 4 inches of that at the back end.
The overall shape retains the steeply raked angles of the original 2018 model, starting with the creased grille flowing into a crisply angular hood. The entire nose, including slimmer new running lights, wraps into the front quarter panels.
The coupe-like roofline flows into rear glass that is as steeply raked as the windshield. Mitsubishi wisely abandoned the much-maligned split glass from the original Eclipse Cross. It also dropped the crossbar taillights in factor of individual, 3D lamps.
The added length primarily benefits the cargo compartment which rows by about 11%, or 1.5 cubic feet.
As with the exterior, the cabin gets a rather significant update for 2022. There’s a larger, 8-inch touchscreen on all models pulled closer to the driver. Since that makes it easier to reach, the touchpad on the center console has been eliminated. But Mitsubishi did bring back knobs for both volume and tuning.
While Mitsubishi likes to talk about “boosted road performance,” it isn’t getting that from under the hood. The 2022 Eclipse Cross retains the original 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The 1.5-liter package makes an acceptable, but decidedly not segment-leading 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
Front- and all-wheel-drive versions are available, both pairing the turbo-4 to a CVT gearbox.
Fuel economy for the AWD model we drove is rated by the EPA at 25 mpg city, 26 highway and 25 combined. The base, front-drive 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross ES comes in at 26/29/27. The numbers are relatively middle of the pack.
Technology and Safety
All versions of the 2022 Eclipse Cross now come with a standard, 8-inch touchscreen-operated infotainment system. There will be available Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and in-dash navigation.
The Eclipse Cross also gets a handful of advanced driver assistance technology on all models. That includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency and lane-departure warning. Other technology is available or standard, depending upon trim level.
The turbo-4 provides reasonable acceleration but a bit more power would be welcome. It takes almost 9 seconds to launch the Eclipse Cross from 0 to 60 mph. The good news is the CVT mimics a traditional step-gear transmission under hard acceleration. In less aggressive driving it is all but transparent.
During the course of a nearly three-hour drive, I took the 2022 Eclipse Cross out to some of my favorite roads through Hell, Michigan. From the standpoint of chassis dynamics, the SUV delivers. Its steering offers a reasonable level of feedback and the Eclipse Cross stayed firmly planted, even while maneuvering aggressive turns on some truly awful pavement.
If there’s anything to complain about with the suspension it’s the rather harsh thump it sends up to the steering wheel and seats when you hit potholes, bumps and pavement cracks.
With new sheet metal, a completely redesigned back end and nearly a half-foot of added length, the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross delivers a big improvement from a visual standpoint. The added cargo and revised interior are further selling points.
The powertrain is acceptable, but certainly not a segment leader. But, in terms of handling and steering, the Eclipse Cross does deliver a fun and sporty ride.
Whether the midcycle update is enough to gain the Eclipse Cross attention in a crowded market remains to be seen but the 2022 update does make a good first impression.