In the market for a lifestyle SUV or double cab? Here is one great option…

WHAT IS IT?

Mitsubishi is famous for the Pajero, which was sadly discontinued in 2021. But they do make a few other really good cars, including the recently facelifted compact SUV Eclipse Cross, with the turbo option.

WHY THIS?

The compact SUV market is overwhelming in its variety, with buyers often just going for the brand they know or the design they think is the most attractive. The Eclipse Cross scores good points in both categories, backed by a reputable manufacturer and with a sporty look that stands out.

OUTSIDE

The Eclipse Cross is stylish and makes a bold statement on the road, to the extent that I was actually stopped and asked about it a couple of times during my test week – that doesn't happen as much as you'd think it might.

The front is all about the swooping LED headlights, big LED fog lights and a large black grille with chrome accents. Bold body lines on the sides run into a shapely rear with LED taillights. Ground clearance is 140mm, which is more crossover height than a true SUV. Black and silver 18-inch alloy rims finish off a handsome design.

INSIDE

You can immediately tell that the Eclipse Cross is made in Japan and not in a 'Japanese' factory elsewhere – it has a sense of quality and high standards that are impossible to fake. The design, however, lacks flair and imagination – a Peugeot 3008 this is most certainly not!

The functional interior contains a semi-digital instrument cluster with an adjustable head-up display and a multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters. There's an 8-inch touchscreen display with all requisite connectivity, two USB slots, heated and electrically powered front seats, leather upholstery and more. Safety equipment includes seven airbags (that's a lot), stability control, ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution, and front and rear park distance control with a reversing camera. There is generous storage and space in the cabin and the boot.

THE DRIVE

Yes, the Eclipse Cross comes with the option of a turbocharged engine, but it is 1.5-litre in capacity. Total power output is a middling 110kW, and peak torque is 250Nm, and we achieved an average fuel consumption of 7.7L/100km. The engine has lovely, readily available torque over a wide rev range, but the CVT gearbox has to be endured more than embraced.

Where this car eclipses the competition is ride quality: Mitsubishi has done a great job here with a well-sprung suspension that really delivers the goods on all surfaces.

FINAL WORD

There are so many crossover options these days, most of which are more popular than those from Mitsubishi. Instead of letting that put you off, embrace the fact that you can have something a little different that is still beautifully made and has a well-known badge on it.

GO GET IT

Priced from R459,995 for the non-turbo 2.0 GLS model and R499,995 for the 1.5T GLS model, the Eclipse Cross isn't a cheap vehicle, but that doesn't mean it's not good value. Both models come standard with a 3-year/100,000km warranty, a 5-year/90,000km service plan and 5-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance. Service intervals are set at 15,000km.

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