The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross goes into a 2017 market in New Zealand where SUVs are running more than 20 per cent up on the same period last year, according to Motor Industry Association data.
A December on-sale date might be a bit late in the year for the first of the Eclipse Cross models, but in an overall market up more than 10 per cent on last year, that’s of little concern to Mitsubishi Motors NZ marketing boss Daniel Cook.
For starters, Mitsubishi’s overall sales – cars, SUVs, commercials – of 8495 units at the end of last month were around 25 per cent up on last year’s 6855 for the same nine-month period. The Outlander is No. 5 on the best-seller list and the ASX No. 12. Both are SUVs.
Mitsubishi NZ has also given the Eclipse Cross a bit of a head start – the entry-level front-drive XLS will go on sale at a special introductory pre-Christmas price of $34,990 plus on-road costs, or $6700 under the recommended $41,690. The all-wheel-drive VRX (from $45,990) won’t be available until next April.
The Eclipse Cross is Mitsubishi’s most advanced vehicle yet, said Cook. “In terms of size, it sits between Outlander and ASX. In terms of styling, performance and technology, it is in a league of its own,” he said.
“This compact SUV marks a significant addition to our line-up – one which is sure to turn heads and spark imaginations. We’re just as thrilled with this new model as we think customers will be.”
Much of the interest in Eclipse Cross centres on its petrol powertrain, a 1.5-litre direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 112kW/254Nm.
It drives either the front or all four wheels through an eight-step constantly variable transmission (CVT) with sport mode. The four-paw VRX utilizes Mitsubishi’s electronic Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.
Both Eclipse Cross models ride on 18-inch alloys and come complete with an extensive safety package, including a windscreen-mounted laser and camera collision-warning system as standard. The VRX adds aids like adaptive cruise control, blind spot/lane change alert, rear traffic alert, and 360-degree monitor.
Inside, says Mitsubishi, the centre console links seamlessly with the dash, offering a new experience in fingertip functionality. There’s a new touchpad function, a standard Eclipse Cross interface which links with a smartphone. The VRX also features a new head-up display directly in front of the steering wheel.