Stellar Eclipse launched

This social media thing is a fascinating, if frustrating, beast we humans have created for ourselves in which, for the life of me, I fail to understand why the overwhelmingly ignorant are generally the first respondents to posts about new cars I drive with asinine comments that are often also completely off topic.

Take the ‘dude’ who private messaged me to ask if Mitsubishi named the Eclipse such because it was powered by the sun. Dude! WTF!

No, it is not powered by the sun. It is, in fact, given life by a 2,0-litre MIVEC DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine that uses ECI-Multi Point Fuel Injection with an output of 110 kW at 6 000 r/min and 198 Nm of torque at 4 200 r/min.

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Coupled to this engine, the INVECS-III CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with its 6-step Sports Mode delivers effortless acceleration from any speed, slick gear changes and a smooth ride. The driver can also control the shift steps via the Paddle Shifts behind the steering wheel. Keeping the engine at optimum performance at all times, the CVT enhances fuel efficiency.

All this is possible due to a new modified torque converter & damper assembly, changes in final gear ratios and software.

The all-new Eclipse Cross CVT will be available in 4×2 and all-wheel drive (AWD). I drove only the 4×2 on the launch event but came away impressed with the CVT that did not whine its way to finding a gear and made positive moves both up and down the range.

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Equally, ride comfort and road-holding were both good on the tar and doing some low flying on dirt roads – where, mercifully, the standard traction control allows a good dose of sideways before stepping in.

The latest arrival in the Mitsubishi Motors South Africa stable expands the local product offering to six distinctive models in the range (ASX, Outlander, Pajero, Pajero Sport, Triton and now the Eclipse Cross).

“Eclipse Cross, which surpassed the global sales milestone of 80 000 units since its international launch 12 months ago, boasts a coupé-like exterior and is perceived more modern, distinctive, dynamic, advanced and sportier than most of its competitors,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.

“The three primary product attributes of the all-new Eclipse Cross are stimulating design, confidence-inspiring driving and human connectivity.”

Winning a host of international awards, including the prestigious Good Design award for Design Excellence and Design Innovation, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was named the Automotive Researchers’ & Journalists’ Conference of Japan “RJC Car of the Year 2019”.

No, it is not powered by the sun – but the design-speak rationale says: “Like the ring of sunlight from behind the moon in a full eclipse, the sharply sculpted character line makes the Eclipse Cross appear as if the body was carved from a single block of metal.”

Auto design-speak, like wine-speak, involves stringing a horde of adjectives together without necessarily saying anything – however, in this instance I would leave it at the Eclipse Cross is a handsome beast, although the jury is still out on the combo rear light bar cum spoiler that splits the rear window.

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While driving it is not distracting to the driver and still allows good rearward visibility, it is a love it or hate it kind of feature.

Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) is the integration of the vehicle dynamics control system with the controls of each component around the all-wheel drive system, offering the driver additional safety and comfortable driving.

S-AWC aids driving safety through the electronically-controlled AWD System, which distributes driving torque as required. This leads to ultimate longitudinal driving force distribution while the Active Yaw Control (AYC) ensures excellent lateral driving force distribution. This allows additional steering assistance on any terrain.

If the driver unintentionally brakes or accelerates too much in a normal turn in slippery conditions, the system helps the driver to maintain control safely with usual steering inputs.

On the inside the Eclipse Cross offers bolstered seats giving the driver relaxed support and the standard Heads Up Display (HUD) conveys relevant vehicle information in full colour above the instrument cluster for easy viewing. The image brightness and display height can be adjusted to suit driver preference and time of day.

Standard fare includes tilt and telescopic steering wheel, multi-function leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control. bluetooth with hands-free voice control, paddle shifts, power windows (front and rear), driver window auto up/down function, automatic air-conditioning with rear passenger vent duct, leather seats, slide and tilt-adjustable rear seats with 60/40 split. electrically adjustable driver seat, heated front seats and accessory sockets and USB ports.

The new model has seven crash bags, including driver and front passenger, side and curtain crash bags and a driver knee unit.

Both versions have RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) Body Construction, ISOFIX Child Seat Anchors, Anti-lock Braking System, AYC (Active Yaw Control), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), BAS (Brake Assist System), HAS (Hill Start Assist System), ASTC (Active Stability and Traction Control) and a Keyless Operating System.

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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.

Mitsubishi claims fuel consumption of 7,9 l/100 km (combined cycle) for the 4×2 – we averaged (on the computer in the car) 11,2 l/100 km on the launch run.

The introduction of Eclipse Cross as part of Mitsubishi Motors’ compact SUV range in South Africa has created the opportunity for the company to realign the ASX range with the introduction of two new derivatives – the ASX ES M/T and an ES 6-speed CVT derivative – with its retail prices at R359 995 and R379 995 respectively.

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Pricing:
Eclipse Cross 2.0L CVT 4×2 R399 995
Eclipse Cross 2.0L CVT AWD R449 995

Both models are covered by Mitsubishi’s Manufacturer’s Warranty of 3 years or 100 000 km, a 5-year / 90 000 km Service Plan and a 5-year / unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance. Service intervals are every 15 000 km.

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