Driven: Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV
The bottom line is a top priority at Mitsubishi, a brand which offers some of the best deals on the road.
The Eclipse Cross hit showrooms in 2018, sitting between the ageing ASX and much larger Outlander as a middle option for crossover customers. We're testing the top-grade Exceed, loaded up with a turbocharged engine, automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive. There are plenty of toys to play with including a head-up display and 7-inch infotainment screen loaded up with a 360-degree camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satnav.
Normally priced from $38,990 plus on-road costs, the Exceed is available for $40,990 drive-away with a further $2000 factory bonus until June 30.
Capped price servicing costs $1100 for the first three years.
The Eclipse Cross is the most modern machine in Mitsubishi showrooms. The shard-like HUD and laptop-esque touchpad for the stereo separate it from the herd, helped by leather-trimmed seats, a sunroof and other goodies.
Not quite as premium as the best-in-class, Mitsubishi cuts costs with shiny plastics in place of some soft touch surfaces found in rivals.
Rear accommodation is impressively spacious, though the seats are firm and flat. Back seat occupants also make do without air vents, though a sliding bench is a handy touch.
The Eclipse Cross have a five-star ANCAP rating bolstered by a comprehensive suite of driver aids. Automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are standard, as are a 360-degree camera and Mitsubishi's clever ultrasonic misacceleration system which prevents you from accidentally driving into stationary objects at low speed.
Powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, the Eclipse Cross makes 110kW and 250Nm - middle-of-the-road numbers for a car of this size. But the engine is a sweet and willing performer, quite possibly the best you will find in a Mitsubishi showroom today.
The rest of the package isn't quite as convincing.
A roly-poly suspension tune isn't tied-down like a Mazda or Toyota, leading to floaty sensations at speed. The suspension is also noisier than expected, with a rough and bouncy ride that puts it toward the back of the pack.
Mitsubishi ASX Exceed, from $30,990 plus on-road costs.
Want to spend less? Mitsubishi's ASX is the most popular car in the category, largely because of its bargain-basement price. You miss out on the latest tech and turbo engine, but it will get the job done with cash in your pocket.
Mazda CX-3 Akari LE, from $38,000 plus on-road costs
The second-highest-selling baby SUV is also worth a look. More polished than the Mitsubishi, Mazda's CX-3 Akari LE is a safe bet with a dash of refinement, though it isn't as roomy.
Subaru XV 2.0i-S, from $35,780 plus on-road costs
The Subaru XV is a sensible choice. Loaded with driver aids and all-wheel-drive traction, the XV represents practical motoring with more cross-country ability than most.
Sharp to look at and loaded with gear, it's easy to make an argument in favour of the Mitsubishi, despite the bumpy ride.
Price: $38,990 plus on-roads
Safety: 5 stars, 7 airbags, AEB, active cruise, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert
Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cyl turbo, 110kW/250Nm