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Mitsubishi Motors has had some tough years. The automaker’s been working to turn things around and the efforts have paid off with a 15 percent increase in sales for 2017 compared to 2016. In fact, Mitsubishi was the fastest-growing non-luxury brand in the U.S. last year.


The five-passenger Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a brand new for 2018. It brings the Eclipse name back but this compact crossover has very little in common with the old sport coupe Eclipse.


It comes in four trims: ES, LE, SE and SEL. Starting prices range from $23,295 to $27,895. The ES trim comes with front-wheel-drive, with all-wheel-drive available for an additional $600. AWD is standard on the LE and higher trims.


The new Eclipse Cross has stylish, aggressive looks. The sloping roofline gives it a coupe-like appearance, and there’s a double-tier window in the back.


It’s powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 154 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. It’s fine for driving around town but you’ll want more power for quick acceleration and passing. The engine can drone when pushed. There are paddle shifters on the steering wheel but the CVT can be sluggish to respond. You’ll notice body lean when cornering. The ride is fairly stiff but not uncomfortable. Visibility can be hampered to the rear due to the double-tier window in back.


EPA ratings for my tester are 25 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 25. I got 26 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.


The cabin is pleasant with mostly upscale materials. This is a small crossover so there’s not a ton of leg- and headroom, but average-sized adults will be comfortable. The back seat is best suited to two adults.


The Eclipse Cross comes standard with a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, HD Radio, a four-speaker audio system, steering wheel audio and phone controls, a USB port, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, heated power sideview mirrors, and remote keyless entry. Additional features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual USB ports, a touchpad controller, satellite radio, steering wheel voice controls, a six-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a head-up display, and a multi-view camera.


The infotainment system takes getting used to. My biggest gripe is that there are no physical knobs so simple tasks like adjusting volume have to be done via the touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted controls or by using the laptop mouse-like device in the center console. It does respond quickly to voice commands.


The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes standard with a rearview camera. Other available safety technology includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, forward collision warning with automatic braking, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.


The Eclipse Cross has less room for cargo than many rivals with 22.6 cubic feet behind the second row and 48.9 cubes with the second row folded. At least the rear seats slide and fold 60/40, and there’s also a storage compartment under the cargo floor so you can best utilize the available space.


The good:

Attractive looks that set it apart from the crowd of compact crossovers

Nice materials in the cabin

Decent fuel economy for the class

Starting price is lower than many rivals

Enough ground clearance—8.5 inches—for light off-roading

Lots of standard and available features including driver assistance technologies

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available

10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty plus a 5-year/60,000 mile basic new car warranty.


The not-so-good:

Engine could use more power

Less cargo room than many competitors


Pricing info:

My tester starts at $27,895. The Red diamond paint is $595. The Touring Package is $2,500 and adds a dual-pane power panoramic sunroof, 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with nine speakers, Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, automatic high beams, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink and roof rails. The tonneau cover is $190. Carpeted floor mats and portfolio are $135. Destination fee is $995 bringing the grand total to $32,310.


Bottom line:

Other compact crossovers have better performance and infotainment systems that are more user-friendly, but the 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is worth checking out if you want a reasonably priced, well-equipped small crossover that’s a bit different from the top sellers.

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