Pretoria - South Africans are spoilt for choice when it comes to the compact crossover market and with SUVs becoming increasingly popular, the fuel price being ridiculously expensive and disposable income becoming less, that's not a bad thing.
It does mean however that manufacturers have to stay on top of their game in order to stay ahead of the competition to entice buyers.
Mitsubishi recently upped the stakes with their Eclipse Cross with a facelifted offering that provides updated designs and standard equipment.
It seems Mitsubishi has taken heed of the criticism of the two-piece glass window at the rear end that hampered visibility and replaced it with a single glass window.
Narrower daytime running lights, a blacked-out dynamic shield front grille, 3D Y-string rear LED tail lights, 18-inch two-tone alloys, front bumper skid plate and roof rails give the Eclipse Cross a sportier look and stance.
We had the top of the range 1.5T GLS on test with a 1.5-litre four cylinder turbocharged engine that pushes out 110kW and 250Nm of torque driving the front wheels via a CVT.
The interior has soft touch surfaces on the dashboard and upper door panels and black inlays on the steering wheel, centre console and door trims that aren’t likely to age well over time with scratches and scuff marks.
There’s a new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s Bluetooth enabled with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. It’s not as responsive as some of the competitors and customising it to your liking is limited.
It’s okay as far as interiors go but is some way off in terms of quality and styling compared to the Peugeot 2008, which leads the segment by a long way.
It does however have several standard features like the semi-digital instrument cluster, an adjustable head-up display, eight way power adjustable heated seats, two USB ports and a 12-volt socket up front.
There's adequate leg room at the back for adults with tilt adjustable seats and a handy centre armrest with a pair of cup holders.
The Eclipse Cross has a pleasant driving position although I would have preferred a bit more lumbar support. I found driving around in town and the suburbs best suited the CVT and engine combination, the kind of driving you would encounter daily with the school, shopping and work run but once you get on the highway things are a bit different.
Pushing hard on the uphill towards the New Road turn-off on the N1 with three fully grown teenagers and their weekend overnight luggage it feels underpowered and the transmission struggles to find a happy medium.
As a result there’s a fair amount of action but limited forward motion especially when it comes to overtaking despite using the paddle shifters.
Taking it on a drive towards the Magaliesberg and pushing as hard as the car would allow, the driving dynamics were smooth with the suspension taking care of the numerous potholes and speed bumps and as you would expect from an SUV there was slight body roll during sharp cornering.
Safety wise you’re taken care of by a host of features such as seven airbags, ABS with EBD and EBA, active ESP, front and rear park distance control with reverse camera and ISOFix child seat anchor points.
During the week I had it I averaged 8.7l/100km, which isn’t bad considering there were days I had the pedal buried quite deep.
Overall the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a good looking and decent package with generous standard features and equipment that provides a value for money offering in a tough segment.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T GLS
Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cyl, turbopetrol
Transmission: Continuously variable (CVT)
Drive: Front-wheel drive
Power: 110kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 250Nm @ 2000-3500rpm
Fuel use: 7.7 l/100km (claimed)
Fuel use: 8.7 l/100km (tested)
Boot space: 437 - 1074 litres
Warranty: 3-year/100 000km
Service plan: 5-year/90 000km