2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross First Drive: What’s In A Name?

– Santa Monica, California

First things first: I have no idea why Mitsubishi resurrected the fabled Eclipse name, and on a crossover no less. The company keeps using that word, but I do not think it means what they think it means.

Yes, I sat through the automaker’s product presentation, which explained the theory, rhyme, and supposed reason (i.e., legacy) behind the naming. But I still don’t get it. And neither will anyone born after 1990, which coincidentally, was the first model year of its namesake.

If they do, they’re a gearhead who understands either through personal experience or grease monkey knowledge about the O.G. Mitsubishi Eclipse – a turbocharged sports coupe so fun to drive and so easy to aftermarket-tune that finding a bone-stock version only meant the owner hadn’t made enough pizza deliveries to afford the parts yet.

Alas, news of this new Eclipse (and I use “Eclipse” lightly) will evoke zero emotion with its target demographic, which, to the surprise of no one, is millennials. No, the only memory the word eclipse conjures will be to that one time in August when everyone thought it was okay to stare at the sun. Sigh.

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: First Drive
2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: First Drive

The Eclipse Cross doesn’t win in any category except one: It looks different.

Anyway, back to the Eclipse Cross. Confident of its odds within the insanely competitive compact crossover class, Mitsubishi is going all in with a huge North American marketing push via morning shows, advertising, social media, influencers – and I applaud that. In...