Mitsubishi’s small SUV carries a one-two punch of petrol and electric power, but does this combination add up to make sense?
- Seamless combination of petrol and electric power
- Newly included vehicle-to-load (V2L) technology can be useful
- Compact SUV sizing with plug-in hybrid power
- Low charging rates through the Type-2 plug
- Although the plug-in hybrid is new, this car is feeling its age
- Expensive in comparison to non-hybrid variants
2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed
Plug-in hybrid vehicles – the automotive equivalent of having your cake and eating it too – are an interesting proposition for Australian buyers.
On the one hand, they make no sense whatsoever. They are expensive and heavy, often have reduced storage space, and the combination of petrol and electric power can leave both feeling compromised.
For others, the numbers can stack up positively. The modest electric driving range could be enough to nullify 95 per cent of your everyday driving, while petrol power kills off any idea of range anxiety. And that higher purchase price can have the real possibility of slashing long-term ownership costs depending on circumstances and driving diligence.
One option in the plug-in hybrid game is this: the 2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV. Combining a frugality-focussed 2.4-litre petrol engine with a 13.8kWh battery and twin electric motors puts a foot in both camps. Mitsubishi claims 55km of electric driving range (more on that later, though) and a claimed combined fuel consumption of 1.9 litres per hundred kilometres (more on that too).
How much does the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross cost in Australia?
Exceed is the most expensive Eclipse Cross variant in the range, coming in at $55,990 before on-road costs.
Within the plug-in hybrid range there is an Eclipse Cross ES, from $47,290, while Aspire cuts the difference from $51,240 both before on-road costs.
Exceed picks up leather-appointed seating over the Aspire variant, along with a head-up display, twin sunroofs overhead, heated front seats and steering wheel, and an electric tailgate. There are some other details, like an electrically-adjustable front passenger seat, LED headlights, native navigation, ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation, black headlining and a map pocket to help justify the increase in asking price.
Adding in a plug-in hybrid powertrain to any vehicle isn’t a cheap venture. Compared to the similar all-wheel-drive Exceed model without the PHEV goodies – which costs $42,990 before on-road costs – you’re spending an additional $13,000 in this case.
This gets you around 40km of real-world EV driving range, the backup of a 2.4-litre petrol engine, and any combination of both. Looking at lower specification grades, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is Australia’s cheapest plug-in hybrid vehicle.
The Eclipse Cross has also recently picked up Vehicle To Load (V2L) capability, which means the high-voltage battery pack can be used to power regular 240-volt household devices (rated up to 1500 watts).
How much space does the Eclipse Cross have inside?
The Eclipse Cross is a small SUV that offers a decent amount of space in the first and second rows. It’s not overly spacious, but is good enough for the segment.
In comparison to other small SUVs, the Eclipse Cross does feel old. While the model dates back to 2017, which is getting on a bit in automotive terms despite a mid-life update in 2020, the platform underneath runs back to 2005 (where it was used on things like the previous-generation Outlander and Lancer).
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It feels old through the switchgear and general layout, which also means it feels familiar and easy to navigate. The centre console is a decent size, and there are two cupholders. However, the rest of the interior feels both practical and dated.
I found the seating position a bit odd and not particularly comfortable. The seat felt relatively high even at its lowest-slung position, and wasn’t commensurably matched by the available adjustment through the steering column.
The second row is big enough for kids in baby seats, but rearward-facing seats and larger adults would be pushing the relationship in the back. There are no air vents in the second row, and close inspection will reveal a raised floor of this plug-in hybrid model, to fit in the plug-in hybrid batteries and wiring underneath.
The boot measures in at 359L, which is okay for the segment, but the non-PHEV models measure 405L here. There is a decent chunk of space in here taken up by the underfloor area that is used for your charging cables. There’s also a tyre sealant goo puncture repair kit, because there isn’t any space for a proper spare wheel.
|2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed|
|Boot volume||359L seats up
626L seats folded
Does the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
Infotainment comes via an 8.0-inch infotainment display that is shared across the entire range. It’s another pointer at the age of the model as well.
While it might be lacking in size these days, it does carry Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, along with native navigation (for this specification grade only) and digital radio. The operating system feels dated and a little clunky, with elements like an audio equaliser.
However, energy nerds can find, and dig into, graphs of information pertaining to fuel and energy consumption, presumably as they aim to stretch every measure of efficiency its maximum.
The multifunction display in front of the driver gives the driver access to some basic readouts, and an idea of power flow between wheels, battery pack, and engine. But it’s basic.
There’s also a head-up display that can save you from accidentally going over the speed limit while driving. Unlike the more integrated examples of this technology (which can display directly onto the windscreen), this unit includes a small semi-transparent screen that flips out of the instrument cluster and is where the display is projected.
Is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross a safe car?
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross picked up a five-star ANCAP safety rating back in 2017 when the model first launched. Adult occupant protection got a 97 per cent score, while child occupants (78 per cent) and pedestrians (80 per cent) scored lower.
Because of the new rules around rating expiry dates, the safety rating of the Eclipse Cross will effectively run out in December 2023. Although the vehicle itself won’t change in terms of its technology and structural elements, the rating from ANCAP will expire.
Only this top-spec Exceed model gets something called ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation, which is a low-speed autonomous braking system that works via the parking sensors. It works at speeds up to 10km/h, which means it’s focussed at areas like parking lots and driveways and is a measure against situations where a driver may get the brake and accelerator confused.
This is a strong carrot to dangle in front of buyers in an effort to push them into the more expensive level. But considering the urban and family focus of this small SUV, it would be nice to see this technology across the range.
Other technology in this car includes forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high-beam headlights. Other technology includes adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers.
How much does the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross cost to maintain?
Mitsubishi offers a 10-year capped-price servicing program, which is noticeably longer than most out there. So if you’re planning on long-term ownership, you can have some certainty in the costs over a decade. The costs are reasonable, without being the cheapest: $1297 over three years and $2245 over five years.
Running for the full 10 years costs $5940. It’s also worth noting that the purchase price of the plug-in hybrid Eclipse Cross is noticeably more expensive than a regular model, which eats into the cost-of-ownership equation.
Mitsubishi offers a warranty of up to 10 years, with some caveats. The full 10 year/200,000km warranty only applies where the vehicle is serviced at an authorised Mitsubishi dealer and in line with logbook schedules if those conditions aren’t met warranty reverts to five years/100,000km.
Comprehensive insurance for an Eclipse Cross Exceed PHEV is $1410.59 based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.
|At a glance||2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed|
|Warranty||Five years, 100,000km
10 years, 100,000km if serviced through Mitsubishi dealerships
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1297 (3 years)
$2245 (5 years)
|Driving range claim (NEDC)||55km|
|Driving range (real-world)||~40km|
|Charge time (AC Type 2)||3.5–7 hours|
|Charge time (DC CHAdeMO)||30 minutes|
|Charge time (max rate)||25 minutes (0–80%)|
Is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross energy-efficient?
While Mitsubishi claims the Eclipse Cross can cover over 50km of driving without using any fuel, don’t bank on this for real-world usage. We saw a number that was closer to 40km using only electricity, because Mitsubishi’s claimed number is garnered using the more lenient NEDC testing regime.
So, yes, you can do zero-fuel driving. And if your daily commute is under 20km in each direction (and there’s a place to charge it back up each night), you can slash your fuel usage to near zero. Full pedal applications will waken the petrol engine for some additional zing, but you can also select pure EV driving.
Fuel consumption figures for the end user will inevitably depend upon how far they drive in each stint, and how regimented their plug-in game is. Most PHEV buyers will be good in this regard, I imagine. Otherwise, why are you paying so much for double powertrains?
If that’s the case, you could probably settle on a figure close to Mitsubishi’s claim of 1.9L/100km.
If you’re more likely to use the Eclipse Cross in hybrid mode with a flat battery, expect to use around 7.0L/100km. We used 7.3L/100km at worst, but did have a slightly highway-heavy driving cycle (with little chance for regenerative braking).
|Fuel Usage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||1.9L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||0–7.3L/100km|
|Fuel type||91-octane unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||60L|
What is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross like to drive?
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a flexible plug-in hybrid SUV with one eye on reduced running costs. The other eye seems to be focussed on ease of use.
If you’re sedate on the pedal, the hybrid Eclipse Cross will happily stay in EV mode for all of your short-range driving. However, when the battery charge drops down as you chew through available range, that amount of oomph feels like it reduces. Full-throttle applications will also call on the petrol engine for additional thrust unless you’ve selected EV-only mode.
When you are mixing and matching your power sources, either when the battery is run down or you need some brisk acceleration, it’s a seamless affair. That 2.4-litre petrol engine – which operates on the efficient Atkinson cycle – can start to drone and thrash when working hard, but it’s not often that you need to ask for everything that it’s got.
Otherwise, the driving experience is mostly seamless between petrol and electric sources of power. The petrol engine kicks in and takes over smoothly, and you don’t notice aside from the additional rumblings and noise from under the bonnet.
However, if you’ve got a good amount of battery capacity available, the twin electric motors (60kW front and 70kW rear) provide enough whirring oomph for everyday driving.
Because of the regenerative braking ability of the Eclipse Cross, the brake pedal can feel wooden at times and does have a noticeable feel of changeover (between regenerative and friction braking). After some time you do get used to this, and it’s helped by adjusting the regenerative braking level down and up through the steering-wheel-mounted paddles. It can’t go all the way down to one-pedal driving levels (like others), but it helps nonetheless.
The ride quality of the Eclipse Cross can betray the weight of the vehicle, which is nearly two tonnes in this specification. It can feel a bit busy and overly communicative at times, especially over the patched-up and uneven roads of the suburbs.
The all-wheel-drive system, which Mitsubishi calls Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC), has a few mechanical tricks up its sleeve, and helps the car to get through corners with a surprisingly amount of response and confidence. That weight would no doubt come into play at some stage, but for everyday driving (with the possibility of some hazard avoidance), the handling feels well dialled.
|Key details||2023 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross PHEV Exceed|
|Engine||2.4-litre petrol plug-in hybrid|
|Power||94kW @ 4500rpm petrol
60kW electric (front)
70kW electric (rear)
|Torque||199Nm @ 4500rpm petrol
137Nm electric (front)
195Nm electric (rear)
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Multi-mode front transaxle (petrol),
Single-speed (electric) automatic
|Spare tyre type||Tyre repair kit|
|Tow rating||1500kg braked
Should I buy a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross?
There’s no doubt that the passing years have left the Eclipse Cross feeling weary, despite the introduction of this plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s not helped by the fact that with the new Outlander sharing showroom space (which has more electric power, torque and range), this powertrain now feels like a generation behind the game.
It’s still in a unique position of size and price, especially since Hyundai’s Ioniq was recently given a bullet.
From that point of view, the Eclipse Cross still has appeal. Buyers will need to sweat the details on whether a plug-in hybrid suits their needs, and also be aware that there are newer and fresher-feeling options available.