Say what you will about Mitsubishi, but this company is slowly but surely making improvements across the board. However, many of the automaker’s products still have room for improvement and — despite its streamlined looks, easier-to-use tech and zippy engine — the 2022 Eclipse Cross continues to fall behind more well-rounded compact SUVs.
The 2022 Eclipse Cross is 5.5 inches longer than before with a more aggressively styled front fascia. The upper LEDs function as daytime running lights and the dimples below house the headlights and fog lights. The solid lightbar that spanned the rear of the old version is gone, replaced by two separate taillights. I actually preferred the older design, but the new taillights are pretty distinctive and give the compact crossover some presence on the road.
The Eclipse Cross keeps the same 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 engine as before, pushing out 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The low-end torque makes the Eclipse Cross feel pretty peppy off the line and there is a surprising amount of mid-range punch. A continuously variable transmission doesn’t necessarily do this engine any favors, however — it’s a little loud under pressure, though I suppose that’s par for the course with most CVTs.
New suspension parts are fitted for 2022, partly to accommodate the Eclipse Cross’ longer overall length, but also to improve upon the previous model’s predilection for body roll. The retuned shocks and springs do a better job, sure, but the Eclipse Cross is still a little too roly-poly for my taste. This thing really leans in turns, which doesn’t inspire much in the way of driver confidence. Weirdly, the Eclipse Cross’ steering manages to be both quick and sloppy at the same time, making it a little difficult to keep the crossover centered during a turn. Combined with the body roll, this Mitsubishi isn’t really fun to drive.
The most fuel-efficient Eclipse Cross is EPA-estimated to return 26 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. My loaded SEL AWD tester knocks those numbers down to 25, 26 and 25, respectively. That’s better than an equivalent Hyundai Tucson but still falls below other compact CUVs.
Inside, the Eclipse Cross’ technology gets a bump with a newly available 8-inch screen with embedded navigation. Frankly, I think Mitsubishi could have left a native nav system on the table since all but the lowest trims getand for easy access to Google Maps and Waze. Mitsubishi at least makes its navigation a bit more special by incorporating What3words tech, which divides the entire world into 3-meter squares and assigns three words to each square. One of my favorite places to eat is at “steepest, baffled, witless.”
The multimedia screen is positioned two inches closer to the driver and is now operated solely by touch. Earlier models had a touchpad that was a total pain in the neck to use, so I’m all about this improved functionality. The screen responds pretty quickly to inputs and the icons are nice and large. Mitsubishi’s flimsy little head-up display screen carries over, however, which is something I’d probably just forgo.
Forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning are standard on all 2022 Eclipse Cross trims. LE models and above get automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers, while the upper two trims get blind-spot warning, lane-change assist and rear-cross traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is reserved for the highest SEL trim only. These are great features, sure, but the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 offer many of these as standard across the board. Mitsubishi really ought to do the same.
Inside, the SEL trim’s new grey leather goes a long way toward making this cabin more inviting. Even so, the Eclipse Cross’ interior is nothing to write home about, but there are a few nice amenities sprinkled throughout. Heck, the top SEL trim even has heated rear seats.
Cargo space is improved for the 2022 model thanks to its larger footprint. There’s now 50.1 cubic feet of space, or 23.4 cubes with the second row upright. Unfortunately, that’s still far below what you get from Honda, Mazda and Toyota.
The Eclipse Cross starts below $25,000, but my SEL tester is optioned to the hilt — with $1,600 for all-wheel drive — and comes to $34,075 including $1,195 for destination. While I can give the lousy steering, floaty suspension and lackluster a pass for $25K, it’s tough to justify this mid-$30K price when I could get much nicer options like a Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 or Toyota RAV4.
The refreshed Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross takes a step forward for 2022, yet it still plays in the back of a highly competitive class of crossovers. It’s a good value, don’t get me wrong, but as they say: You get what you pay for.