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More details firm up for Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Shape shifter: The Eclipse Cross will offer a full range of variants when it drops in the fourth quarter of this year.

Mitsubishi will pitch Eclipse Cross between the ASX and Outlander

12 Apr 2017

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) says it hopes its newest SUV, the Eclipse Cross, can break the brand’s hoodoo with small hatchbacks and appeal to small car buyers when it is launched here in the fourth quarter of this year.

Size-wise, Mitsubishi has confirmed the coupe-style SUV will sit between the small ASX and the medium Outlander, and will share much of the two model’s structures including all-wheel drive and diesel powertrains.

At 4405mm long, 1805mm wide and 1685mm high, the Eclipse Cross is 50mm longer, 5mm wider and 45mm higher than the ASX.

There is some concern, however, that the five-door styling of the Eclipse Cross could provide a mental block to buyers, according to MMAL director of sales Tony Principe.

“If you look at all the demographic data, the small hatch buyer is interested in a smaller SUV as an alternative depending on price, and features, and whatever, and style because they're very style conscious,” he said at the launch of the Outlander PHEV last week.

“If you go back, our Lancer hatch hasn't quite hit the mark for whatever reason. We’ve never really been able to put our finger quite on it. Is there some way of dragging some of those hatch buyers into that territory and then make it incremental, because that hatch market's huge? It's actually almost the same size as a medium SUV and it's bigger than a small SUV.

“It’s a new generation, pretty sporty looking vehicle can we latch into there somewhere and pull more people in? People are moving across and there is a propensity to move.”

Mr Principe confirmed that that Eclipse Cross – which made its debut at the Geneva motor show earlier this year – will be marketed as a sporty SUV, a step above the more utilitarian ASX, and will be tasked with adding volume to MMAL’s bottom line.

“We’re trying to give it its own unique sort of position,” he confirmed. “We're looking for incremental sales. Marketing people always want 100 per cent incremental (over ASX and Outlander) and definitely we always want 100 incremental. We’ll try and maximise it.” With no Eclipse Crosses in the country at present ahead of a late-2017 launch, Mr Principe is hoping to see a physical example soon.

“We haven’t really had a chance to research the Eclipse Cross yet,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll get a car here, but I don’t know when. When it arrives, we’ll be out to do some research and asking what does the average hatch buyer think.

Then we’ll have a better feel for what we can expect sales wise.”

Pricing and specification is still under discussion, but it is likely the Eclipse Cross will follow a similar strategy as the ASX and Outlander, with LS and XLS variants in front- and all-wheel-drive, as well diesel and petrol, trim.

“There’s two powertrains that they’ve confirmed for a 1.5 turbocharged petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel and we’re looking at taking both options,” he said.

“The diesel’s all-wheel drive and I think we’re getting a two-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive. That’s not a bad line-up if you can have a petrol two-wheel drive, or a petrol four-wheel drive and then a diesel four-wheel drive.”

The 1.5-litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine is new, while the 2.2-litre diesel is a modified version of the one in the ASX.

Mitsubishi says the Eclipse Cross will also come with Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system with brake-activated Active Yaw Control.

Mr Principe said that no discussions around a plug-in hybrid version of the car had taken place, despite the origins of the Eclipse Cross’s concepts.

“That was one of the cars that they originally had slated, but again we haven’t heard any more news on what we are likely thinking about,” he said. “That was the original car at the 2013 Tokyo motor show (XR-PHEV).”

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