*If you’re into stylish SUV’s, look no further than Mitsubishi’s two all-new crossover vehicles – the Outlander PHEV and Eclipse Cross.
With an internal combustion engine, they’re both equipped to be fueled like normal cars—but also have an electric motor and battery.
These lean, mean driving machines offer the durability, power and comfort of a normal full-size truck, but they’re also sleek, and more athletic on the outside than your average hunk of wheels and metal.
Both models come with a vast array of internal and external features, and the engines purr with such subtly that you’ll barely hear them working as you cruise peacefully to your destination.
I was given the opportunity to ride shotgun in each of these bad boys during a recent Mitsubishi “ride and drive” event in sunny Los Angeles.
We started by test driving the Outlander ($34,595) to get a feel for its handling and interior capability.
I was grouped with another guest and one of Mitsubishi’s pitchmen.
“This SUV is a huge seller in the African American and Hispanic markets,” he explained. “It’s because we sell these at a more affordable price compared to the other trucks in its category. And they offer a bit of luxury and innovative style, which is universal.”
Our journey began in Venice, and we quickly shot through Malibu and up the hills of Topanga Canyon.
Surrounded by scores of beautiful trees, wildlife, and some inevitable mid-morning traffic, we traveled slowly to get acquainted with the Outlander’s capabilities, which include a safety feature that alerts the driver when he’s occupying more than one lane.
With its versatility and quiet charm, the Outlander made our experience worthwhile as we prowled the flat, winding road through Topanga and toward our destination, where we switched vehicles.
On the return trip, the Eclipse Cross ($23,295) delivered an equally satisfying driving experience, moving with more finesse and smoothness than its cousin – the Outlander.
Offering similar functionality in terms of safety, navigation, fuel efficiency, and overall performance, the coupe-like Eclipse Cross is a sensational blend of modern style and engineering.
Production of the crossover for the U.S. launched earlier this year. It slots between the Outlander Sport and Outlander and is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4 gas engine with a CVT for the North American market. It’s offered with front – or all-wheel drive.
When you ask people what Mitsubishi sells, they say Eclipse. When the brand named its new crossover the Eclipse Cross, a lot of past Eclipse car owners, as well as Mitsubishi dealers, were upset that the name is now attached to a crossover, said Don Swearingen, Mitsubishi Motors North America’s former chief operating officer. But the name recognition has worked to build awareness of the Eclipse Cross faster.
This was Mitsubishi’s first truly global vehicle and now will be the last from a 100 percent Mitsubishi platform. It is the first vehicle to have the company’s Mitsubishi Connect for roadside assistance, remote services, and connection to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Power for the Outlander comes from the combination of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors for a combined output of 197 horsepower. The motors are separated at the front and rear axles, which Mitsubishi says instantly supplies torque and makes the standard all-wheel-drive system more responsive.
Drivers can choose between three drive modes to optimize power or efficiency. In EV Drive Mode, energy is supplied exclusively by the battery; Mitsubishi says this mode is best for running errands. EPA-estimated electric-only range is 22 miles on a full charge.
In Series Hybrid Mode, the engine engages if the battery is depleted, but it doesn’t drive the wheels. Rather, the engine charges the battery and powers the electric motors.
Lastly, in Parallel Hybrid Mode, the Outlander operates like a traditional hybrid with the engine driving the front wheels and the electric motors assisting.
The Outlander PHEV has five seats, and Mitsubishi says the battery’s placement does not reduce passenger space. Non-plug-in Outlanders have seven seats standard.
Charging the battery on a standard 120-volt outlet will take around eight hours, or around four hours on a 240-volt outlet or charging station. For faster charge times, the Outlander PHEV comes standard with DC fast-charging capability, which reduces charge time to around 25 minutes for 80 percent capacity.
“The Eclipse Cross builds on the strong Mitsubishi heritage of automotive performance, technology and fun-to-drive dynamics revived in a CUV,” Swearingen told reporters. “We’re excited to add the Eclipse Cross to our established CUV lineup and know it will continue to fuel the brands current sales momentum.”
For more information and pricing, visit www.mitsubishicars.com.