Mitsubishi’s Eclipse Cross crossover will get a new front bumper guard and a refreshed light layout in front while the rear end gets a redesigned hatch and rear glass. The new look follows a design motif Mitsubishi calls Dynamic Shield, which drove the current model when it was first shown at the end of 2017. These are not huge changes but Mitsubishi has to take what it can get for the model, which sold only 19,661 last year, its first full calendar year on the market.
The Eclipse Cross is smaller than a Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue and a little bigger than a Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V. For a sales comparison, consider that the RAV4 sold close to half a million units in the same time frame. So a little styling help will be good for Mitsubishi, which can use all the help it can get.
The rear hatch isn’t just a styling exercise as Mitsubishi says it improves rear visibility, too. Inside, the touchpad on the center console was removed to allow for more storage space, while a new eight-inch smartphone-link display audio (SDA) system with real knobs comes standard. That SDA is now closer to both driver and passenger for ease of use. There is also a new black interior with silver accents and light gray leather seats.
The changes will appear on the 2022 model, which will arrive in U.S. showrooms in the first quarter of 2021, after it goes on sale in Australia and New Zealand.
Powertrains carryover, and while some global markets will get a plug-in hybrid version, Mitsubishi says we in the U.S. will not. We will have to soldier on with the tried-and-true 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injection four, which makes a meaty enough 152 hp and 184 lb ft of torque mated to a CVT transmission. Power goes to all four wheels with Mitsubishi’s All-Wheel Control or Super All-Wheel Control awd, the latter which adds electronic features like active stability control and active yaw control.
Last year was Mitsubishi’s best sales year since 2007, with 121,046 units moved out showroom doors, most of them SUVs. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit the little carmaker hard, with many dealerships closing their doors and many others closing the sales portions and relying on service alone. But sales were up in the third quarter, only 1.5 percent over the same period in 2019 but 49 percent over the previous quarter of 2020. Times are tough at the Diamond Star, and a nicer-looking Eclipse Cross is a bright spot on this year’s calendar.
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