There are only five vehicles in Mitsubishi’s Canadian line-up, but they’ll all be changing in the next few months. We’ve already seen the redesigns of the little Mirage and the top-selling RVR compact SUV, as well as a new powertrain for the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid. Now, the Japanese company has released details of the next edition of the Eclipse Cross crossover that will come to showrooms this winter, and then there’ll be a new generation of the larger Outlander SUV in the spring.
“We’re small, but we can win the market,” says Juyu Jeon, President of Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. “This is not a sprint – this is a marathon.”
This is not just optimistic talk. Last year was Mitsubishi’s top-selling year in Canada with more than 25,000 vehicles delivered, and it was the third year in a row of record sales. This pandemic year, sales were down by 30 per cent to the end of September, but many buyers have been waiting for the updated vehicles to arrive in showrooms.
There will be new vehicles, too, as Mitsubishi moves toward greater electrification of its fleet. The company target is for 50 per cent of its global sales to be electrified vehicles by 2030. Mitsubishi is part of an alliance with Nissan and Renault, and the three companies share electrification technology.
“The Outlander PHEV is Canada’s number-one-selling plug-in SUV,” says Jeon. “So it’s a no-brainer how we’re going to embrace our strengths further.”
The Eclipse Cross is not electrified, and its 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is unchanged from the current model. It produces a modest 152 horsepower and 184 lbs.-ft. of torque, connected to an eight-step continuously variable transmission.
Most important, it’s been bringing many new drivers to the brand, which is a huge goal for all auto makers. Jeon says more than 70 per cent of buyers of the current Eclipse Cross came from owning other brands of vehicle. “While we’re talking about the evolution of the lineup,” he says, “ultimately, what we’re talking about is the evolution of the brand.”
The vehicle is now 140 mm longer than before, with longer overhangs at the front and especially the rear. This provides more space inside the cabin, including an extra 23 litres of cargo area behind the second row of seats that bumps it to 663 litres.
The signature of the new Eclipse Cross will be its thin strips of LED daytime running lights at the front, combined with chrome strips around the grille and placed over the oval headlights and fog lamps. The rear window will no longer be split horizontally by a strip of red brake lights, and the tail lights will more closely mimic the front.
The drivetrain is still all-wheel drive as standard, but Mitsubishi says the handling is improved by retuned springs at the front and rear, with a thicker and stiffer cross-member, while comfort and quietness is improved with rubber bushings fitted to the connection points of the cross-member.
More obviously important to most drivers are the various assistance technologies that come as standard, including forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection. There are four trim levels, and each trim offers more safety technology than its previous equivalent, including adaptive cruise control that operates all the way down to a standstill, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and a heads-up display.
Price is now increased across the trim levels. The basic ES trim lists at $28,598, which is a $300 increase from before, with an 8-inch (up from 7-inch) central display as standard, and full connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The SE trim, which is expected to be the most popular version of the model, has an MSRP of $31,218, which is up from the $30,298 of the previous edition’s SE trim. It has a heated steering wheel, LED fog lamps and dual climate control.
An SEL trim with more technology lists for $34,218, while the top of the line GT includes satellite TomTom navigation, an upgraded sound system and a panoramic roof for $36,998, an increase of $700 from the loaded previous edition.
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