The Mitsubishi Eclipse

Maintaining the terrible trend of putting sports car names on mediocre SUVs or crossovers, Mitsubishi is next up with the absolute abuse of the name Eclipse. The Mitsubishi Eclipse used to be a hot little sports car. Apparently, now it’s a family SUV. Why does this keep happening, you ask? Cheap marketing gimmicks.

Starting a whole sub-brand of cars under the moniker of one of your most beloved sports cars would be reasonable. What’s not reasonable? Using the name on a whole new vehicle, totally removed from what the original vehicle stood for.

Many of the automakers who have done this have failed to produce a follow-up SUV or CUV worthy of the name of its originator.

The original Mitsubishi Eclipse was a hot little sports car produced from 1989 to 2011. It had a long run and was a well-established name. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was named after an unbeaten racehorse from the 18th century. This crossover, aptly called the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, doesn’t look speedy like a racehorse, but we’ll check out those specs a little later.

“The Mitsubishi Eclipse used to be a hot little sports car. Apparently, now it’s a family SUV.”

Solitude (talk) (Uploads) / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Why would Mitsubishi use the hallowed Eclipse name?

How does that song go? “Money, money, money, moneeeeey!” Money. Mitsubishi never had a considerable market share, and one of its hottest cars was the Mitsubishi Eclipse. The company has been on and off the brink of bankruptcy for the last decade, and a series of scandals have tarnished the name, as well as those of several executives.

Already having a small market share, which has been continuously dwindling, a fresh new vehicle that appealed to the masses was really the only way to go. That the appeal of the vehicle on its merits was not going to be enough shows just how desperate Mitsubishi’s situation is.

Attracting attention to their latest product, using a decades-old name people knew and loved, and hoping this would bring enough attention to the brand and its latest offering to keep it from disaster, Mitsubishi launched the new Eclipse.

“Money, money, money, moneeeeey!”

With Audi applying the same logic with the Audi TT morphing into the crossover Audi eTTron, and the Ford Mustang name being applied to the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s latest electric SUV, clearly Mitsubishi felt it wouldn’t be too inappropriate to follow suit.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes in five different trim levels with a starting MSRP of $23,595, which is really not bad. The bad is that aside from the front from a direct frontal view, it looks like a Honda C-RV. Not sure if that’s on purpose as some kind of marketing gimmick, but Mitsubishi has always had its own particular draw, and this similarity is driving away from the appeal of that.

The base model comes with an automatic inline 4-cylinder outputting 152 horsepower on an all-wheel-drive powertrain. The horsepower on this crossover is nothing that should ever be attached to the name Eclipse. The sportscar version came with a minimum of 154 horsepower.

“The Mitsubishi Eclipse was named after an unbeaten racehorse from the 18th century.”

Overview

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes standard with the security and safety features standard for other members of its class. Front, side and rear airbags; stability control, and traction control. The tow package comes standard on the base model, which is excellent at this price point.

In all, it doesn’t sound like a bad crossover. Smart crossovers like these, at these low price points, are part of the reason for the decline of the minivan. The real issue is it being so low-powered and attached to a great little sports car name like the Eclipse.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

Not sure about the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross? Take a look at some of the best towing SUVs on the market.

The larger vehicle craze has taken over the U.S. The Mercedes Sprinter Van is one of the latest takeovers. Check it out here.