While there are no direct translations for the Japanese philosophy of kodawari, it can be boiled down to an “uncompromising, relentless devotion to one’s art, pursuit, profession, or activity.” While some enthusiasts were unhappy when the legendary Eclipse nameplate was attached to a totally unrelated SUV, the Eclipse Cross has proved to be a popular model for Mitsubishi. Using the philosophy of kodawari, the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is touted as being beautifully unconventional.
In our opinion, this is true in some areas and not in others. The styling is sharp, and the vehicle features an artfully laid-out cabin with standard technology that isn’t on offer in many competing vehicles from other manufacturers. However, the drivetrain continues unchanged from the vehicle’s genesis. There are many other small SUVs for sale today, as it is a very popular type of vehicle just behind the pickup truck, but despite a few flaws, we believe that the 2022 Eclipse Cross is worth your consideration.
Bodystyle: A Hint Of Sport
The front end of the Eclipse Cross is very aggressive, with a large black grille pinched in at either side by thick chrome bars. As is becoming very common with cars in this segment, the daytime running lights and turn signals are where one would expect the headlights to be. Underneath them, and under the chrome accent line, are the actual headlights. This seems reminiscent of the rectangular stacked headlight craze seen in the late 1970s with cars like the 1976 redesign of the Chevy Malibu.
There is a black chin air splitter with a thin line in the body color of the leading edge, providing a sporty vibe to this small SUV. Moving around to the side, one will find dark grey wheel arches no matter the paint color, though thankfully, they do not look out of place. Sculpted lines run along both sides ending in the middle of the car on each panel from either end, giving the wheel arches a slightly flared look and adding some character to what are simply flat panels in many competing vehicles.
The roof slopes downward for a sporty silhouette, ending in a noticeable rear spoiler. The rear end has lost the unique “dual window” found on the first generation, and the taillights no longer run across the full width of the vehicle. The rear end now has a much more conventional design and shouldn’t inspire any ire from the buying public. It also has the side effect of improving rear visibility, which is well worth the small loss of style.
Drivetrain: Nothing To See Here, Folks
Not much to mention here, as buyers are given no choices for the engine or transmission. From the low spec ES trim to the fully-loaded SEL model, they all have a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hooked up to an “8-speed Continuously Variable Transmission.” The transmission lets drivers shift “gears” with eight different ratios to move through with paddles on the steering wheel.
Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control system is also on offer, providing one of the better all-wheel drive systems on the market. While the actual mechanics are not too different from what you will find in other vehicles from this segment, S-AWC fully integrates Active Stability Control, Anti-Lock Braking, and Active Yaw Control. The result is one of the most stable and responsive rides you will find in a small SUV.
Overall, the drivetrain is unchanged from the choices offered for this car five years ago. This is not entirely bad as the combination is a competent choice for a small SUV drivetrain, but it breaks no molds and pushes no boundaries. There’s no need to fix what isn’t broken, I suppose… but how long can Mitsubishi get away with using the same drivetrain in what they report to be a car that is unconventional by nature? Only time will tell.
If the powertrain is not the most exciting, the interior is where the Eclipse Cross comes alive. Contrasting colors seem to be a popular design trend in car interiors, and the Eclipse Cross is no exception. The ever-present colors of grey and black (the two of the most common choices in modern interior car design) are contrasted in their use on the door panels and seats. As an option, one can opt for a Heads Up Display, something that few automakers are offering in their smallest SUVs.
With those features and the inclusion of an 8-inch touchscreen interface for the infotainment system, the cabin remains welcoming and intuitive for the average driver. One feature of note is its use of a regular transmission shift lever that moves forward and back, with no strange dials or crazy shift gates to muddle through. In the back, one can find available heated seat controls and a 12v power outlet on the back of the center console.
Safety: The Big Three
These three technologies are offered in many vehicles regardless of the brand. They are becoming what is expected, the same way while we would find it ridiculous now, that thirty years ago you could buy a car without a passenger-side mirror. These systems on offer are:
Forward Collision Mitigation:
Using advanced sensors, the car monitors the road in front of you, warning you of potential collisions and even automatically applying the brakes to prevent an accident.
Automatic High Beams:
This system will dim your high beams to avoid blinding oncoming traffic when needed.
Lane Departure Warning:
This does exactly what it says on the tin. It will alert you if you begin to drift out of your lane, preventing accidents.
These technologies all come standard on the 2022 Eclipse Cross. There are even more safety features available, such as a multi-view camera system that creates a bird’s eye view of your car to show you everything surrounding it. Drivers can also opt for the Rear Cross Traffic Alert system, which will monitor behind your car as you reverse and alert you to any oncoming vehicles. If you are looking for a safe SUV, then the 2022 Eclipse Cross certainly checks that box and does so at an affordable price.
Sporty Looks and a Reasonable Drive
The small crossover SUV segment may not be the most exciting in the automotive industry, but these versatile vehicles do nearly everything the average driver could desire. While the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross isn’t necessarily going to set the world on fire, it was never meant to. Instead, it focuses on the spirit of kodawari, enhancing the details that really matter to the consumer.
The body is unique enough to stand out from the others in its field with its bold and aggressive styling, and its cabin is a pleasant place to spend your time. The technology included will keep you safe and entertained no matter where you go. The Eclipse Cross does and will do exactly what you need it to, including getting you through the occasional spot of bad weather with the available Super All-Wheel Control system. The 2022 Eclipse Cross will never provide a white-knuckle thrill ride like the legendary Eclipse sports car of old, but that is not what shoppers in this segment are looking for.