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2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 1.5T S-AWC vs. Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

We compare to crossovers with very similar price points and discover that they are more different than they appear at first glance.


The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is a subcompact crossover new to the market. Forget that the name has been used before by Mitsubishi, this vehicle has nothing to do with the car with the same name that has now been discontinued. We tested the top trim SEL with the new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, CVT transmission, and AWD. Our tester also had the Touring package and special paint. With all of the added extras, this vehicle has a price of $32,310 including destination.

We drove the Mitsubishi back to back with our long-term tester, the 2018 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring. The CX-5 is a compact crossover and with all the bells and whistles has a price of $33,585. Although the two are not the same size, they have almost an identical price point, particularly considering that the Mazda has two features the Mitsubishi does not. As you can see from the image, they look very much alike parked side by side.

Tale of the Tape – Eclipse Cross vs. CX-5
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is smaller than the CX-5, but it is hard to tell that from looking at them in person. The Eclipse Cross has 94.6 cubic feet of interior passenger volume and the CX-5 has 103.6 cu ft. The cargo area of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is 22.6 cu ft with the rear seats up and 48.9 cu ft with them folded down. By contrast, the CX-5 has 30.9 cu ft and 59.6 cu ft respectively.

Both are comfortable, though the extra room is always welcome in the CX-5. Both can make great family vehicles. Both have a compact spare tire under their very usable cargo areas.

The Drive - Eclipse Cross vs. CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 wins pretty much every comparison done by enthusiast magazines. It handles well, is more sporty than the rest of its peers and has no bad habits. Its 2.5-liter engine and geared transmission feel refined and premium. The CX-5 isn’t fast, but it is fine for normal driving and fun in most situations.

The new Eclipse Cross is also pretty peppy. We found the new engine to be a bit loud and the feeling is less refined than the Mazda’s by a pretty noticeable margin. The Eclipse Cross is also a bit high up and tippy feeling compared to the CX-5. It is simply not a sporty vehicle to drive. However, we like it anyway. It feels good over the roughest of roads and the CX-5 feels a bit stiff over the broken up pavement we endure here in New England.

Content - Eclipse Cross vs. CX-5
These two vehicles have much in common in terms of content. Both have heated leather seats with power for the driver. Both have a heated steering wheel and both have moonroofs. They both also have a head-up display, though Mazda’s is better, being of a newer generation. Both had adaptive cruise control and premium audio as well.

There were two things we noticed that the Eclipse Cross did not have that we find on almost every crossover at this price point. The first was a power liftgate. The second was in-dash navigation. We were a little surprised to find them missing at this price point. A third item that Mazda’s CX-5 had was unusual at this low price point. That is adaptive headlights that swivel from side to side. This is one of our favorite luxury items and we didn’t expect the Mitsubishi to have it and it did not.

However, Mazda does not offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and Mitsubishi does. This is one of Mazda’s few missing items.

Eclipse Cross vs. CX-5 – Safety

Both of our testers had the full suite of active safety systems and they all worked great with no hassles or false positives. The Eclipse Cross has not yet been tested by IIHS, but Mitsubishi has a stellar safety record and we suspect it will likely match the Top Safety Pick rating the CX-5 has earned.

Eclipse Cross vs. CX-5 – Conclusion
Which is the better vehicle depends on your viewpoint. Mitsubishi has a longer warranty and slightly lower cost, but with the three items Mazda has, we feel these two crossovers are basically the same value. Both look great in person and are very nice to drive and live with. Which would you pick?