Geneva motor show: Mitsubishi plots comeback with Eclipse SUV

Qashqai-sized rival will arrive here in time for 181-plate registrations

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV

The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV

 

Mitsubishi badly needs a comeback car. In spite of critical plaudits for its Outlander plugin hybrid, the Japanese car company is still reeling from a scandal which saw it admit to fudging its fuel economy figures. Not quite VW’s diesel-gate, but enough to undermine Mitsubishi’s value to the point where it was bought out by rival Renault-Nissan.

This, the Eclipse Cross, is the car which Mitsubishi hopes will begin turning its fortunes around. It’s a Qashqai-sized crossover (which must have caused some awkward conversations with its new owners) based on a shortened and chopped Outlander platform.

Engines will initially consist of a 1.5-litre turbo petrol and the existing 2.2-litre diesel from the Outlander. Although Mitsubishi hasn’t confirmed it yet, it’s all but certain that the Eclipse will get a plugin hybrid drivetrain too at some point. Four-wheel drive, based on the system used in the old rally-bred Lancer Evo will also be offered, and Mitsubishi is making claims that it has radically improved steering feel and response compared to its current models.

Outlander looks

In design terms, it’s draws familiar styling cues from the current Outlander, and there’s more than a touch of last-gen Honda Civic about the rear. Inside is where you’ll find real improvements compared to the current Mitsubishi range — cabin quality, layout and design have all taken a big step forward, which was sorely needed. There’s even an Audi-style touchpad controller for the infotainment system, which will come with Apple CarPlay.

Mitsubishi Ireland has confirmed that the Eclipse Cross will arrive here in time for January 2018 with the 1.5 turbo petrol arriving first, and the 2.2 diesel following after. Pricing won’t be confirmed till closer to the launch date, but that gives Mitsubishi a full ten months to struggle on with its current, ageing range. The brand’s sales are down by a third so far this year in Ireland, so that comeback better come quick.