Mitsubishi has enjoyed so much success with its Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid that it’s surprising there hasn’t been a wider application of the low emissions technology.
That move will come next year as part of the first major refresh of the Eclipse Cross.
Updated Eclipse Cross models with the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine are expected to launch in New Zealand before the end of this year with the introduction of a PHEV version scheduled to follow in 2021.
The most modern of Mitsubishi’s SUV/crossover designs, the Eclipse Cross made its debut in the New Zealand market in late 2017.
The 2021 update is based around a refreshed frontal design similar to the recent ASX upgrade featuring Mitsubishi’s signature ‘Dynamic Shield’ design concept including a redesigned grille, front bumper and slimline lighting layout.
At the rear Mitsubishi has redesigned the hatch and rear window, not only to enhance the design but also to provide improved rear visibility. The three-dimensional taillights extend upwards and inwards, and enhance the look with a stable and wide presence.
The new tailgate features a sharply sculpted hexagon design with Mitsubishi says is reminiscent of the company’s iconic rear-mounted spare tire shape to provide a hint of the ruggedness and dependability expectations of an SUV.
Updates for the cabin include a new black interior with silver accents and the door trims coordinate with the car seat colour.
A larger 8.0-inch smartphone-link display audio (SDA) system comes standard, giving the driver a better view of the information and easier operation.
The screen has been positioned closer to the driver and front-seat passenger for ease of use, and now incorporates volume and turning knobs. The touchpad that was previously used for multiple functions has been removed to allow for more storage space on the centre console.
When the Eclipse Cross PHEV arrives, it will feature the same twin-motor 4WD PHEV system as the Outlander with modifications specific to the size and weight of the Eclipse Cross chassis.
The PHEV architecture consists of one front and one rear high-power electric motor, a large-capacity drive battery and a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a single-speed planetary gearbox. It’s not been confirmed if the battery is the same 13.8kWh storage unit introduced on the Outlander PHEV for 2020.
Carried over from the previous model for conventional Eclipse Cross models is the 1.5-litre direct injection turbocharged engine which develops 112kW with 254Nm of torque. It’s partnered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that includes an eight-speed sports mode.
Other changes for the MY21 Eclipse Cross will be suspension tuning with revised front and rear springs and larger diameter rear shock absorbers.