First Drive With The Eclipse Cross

As self-confessed design junkies (with serious caffeine addiction issues), my wife and I get our kicks tracking down Singapore’s coolest hipster neighbourhoods. Keep your generic malls and lookalike chain stores, we’re after a more indie vibe, local districts with a distinctive style all of their own.

Last weekend we took the new Eclipse Cross along on our latest jaunt, a trip to leafy Chip Bee Gardens in Holland Village. Home to cool names such as bespoke stationers Bynd Artisan and wickedly popular dessert hangout, Sunday Folks, this quirky enclave of black-and-white terraces feels very different from anywhere else in Singapore.

Billed as a sleek coupé that drives like an SUV, the Eclipse Cross should know a thing or two about standing out from the crowd. Yet how would it manage venturing into one of Singapore’s frontiers of hip: a shady, awkward loner, or a trend-setting dude leading the way?

Standing taller than I expected, the Eclipse Cross immediately makes an impact with its bold face that sparkles with splashes of chrome detailing and LED running lights. Move to the rear and it becomes even more eye-catching, with a steeply raked rear windscreen split by a full-width light bar. It’s a graceful, futuristic touch that really sets this car apart.

The classy interior has advanced features too, from touchscreen infotainment system to sports car-like paddle shifters on the steering wheel. I’m like a kid in a toy shop when the Head Up Display emerges from the dashboard. This smart device keeps your speed and other essential information right in line of sight, so you can keep your eyes safely on the road without having to gaze down at the meters. In the Eclipse Cross, you also benefit from a more commanding driving position over most other traffic, while a top five-star safety rating from ASEAN NCAP provides added reassurance.

The ride and handling balance of the Eclipse Cross reminds me why Mitsubishi has gained so many loyal fans over the years. I’ve tried many larger, much more expensive European SUVs and I can honestly say the level of comfort is equally impressive. A sophisticated suspension set-up soaks up bumps and sharp turns with composure, while sensibly weighted steering is true. Best of all, the 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine delivers satisfying lag-free punch, whether overtaking on the expressway or moving from standstill at the lights. It sounds rather neat too, when pressed.

Cruising around Chip Bee Gardens in the Eclipse Cross we enjoy one of our favourite features, a twin panoramic sunroof with the front panel sliding back at the tap of a button. Soon we’re feeling totally immersed in the atmosphere of the neighbourhood, following the wafting aroma of freshly roasted Arabica beans to our next hipster café stop.

Sipping our artisan brewed flat whites, it gives us a chance to swap notes on the Eclipse Cross. Clearly, this model is going to quickly evolve perceptions of Mitsubishi. Toughness and strength have long been the brand’s watchwords, so adding head-turning style is exciting and new. But is it hipster? Well, even that subculture has gone pretty mainstream by now. For me, the Eclipse Cross is something else entirely. A true individual, in other words.

CAR IN FOCUS – MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE CROSS

Performance, design, comfort and safety – the all-new Eclipse Cross Turbo Coupé SUV defies expectations across the board. Experience this exciting new car for yourself on a test drive.

Test drive today!