Go for a drive anywhere in the UAE and within seconds you’ll see a Pajaro on the road. A staple of the Dubai motoring scene, the Pajero has more than held its own in the competitive SUV market, which now has another player in the game – the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
The new model contains all-new features including a a 1.5-litre direct-injection turbo-engine which we put through its paces at the Dubai Autodrome in a series of tests ranging from acceleration, emergency serves and sharp turns. Along with a pedal-to-the-floor drag race down the back straight, the Eclipse managed an impressive 140kph (86mph) before approaching the first bend. It boasts a top speed of 204kmh (127mph) with acceleration of 99kmh (62mph) in 9.8 seconds.
Keeping a speed of 70kph around the track, the Eclipse Cross grips the surface well, and better than you’d ever need to experience out on the road. What’s more, the handling through the emergency serve obstacles isn’t a problem for the family-friendly SUV, which feels very safe given there are no less than seven airbags dotted throughout the vehicle, protecting occupants from all sides.
It also uses laser radar technology as adaptive cruise control, while collision mitigation technology keeps a constant eye on the road ahead, warning the driver should an impact risk be detected either from traffic or pedestrians. Not to mention the front and rear parking sensors.
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As we continue around the Autodrome the next task is sneaking through cones in the middle of the track. While it’s something you’d hope not to face on the road it’s reassuring to know the Eclipse Cross reacts quickly and efficiently to the steering wheel and gets through the cones without incident at speeds of around 50kph.
The Eclipse Cross certainly has a place in the market, it’s an SUV but not too big to handle, yet big enough to feel comfortable and protected on the road. The back doors seem smaller than your traditional SUV, but it’s the compact feel, which will appeal to those not wanting a hulking over-sized car. This is especially handy for when parking as you can get in and out without fearing you’re hitting the car in the space next to you.
Design-wise, it’s sharp edge and bold beltline with a forward raked rear window gives it a meaner sporty look, especially sat on five-spoke alloy wheels. At the rear, the Cross has central LED brake lights forming a single bar of light running across the tail.
Inside, the new SUV’s dashboard is shaped using horizontal lines, with silver metal frames and a black and silver monotone colour scheme helping create a sense of refinement that is both dynamic and sporty. Three variants are available in the range.
It’s available now from Al Habtoor Motors and while we don’t expect to see many of the new Eclipse Cross racing around the Dubai Autodrome it shouldn’t be long before you’re seeing a lot of them on the road.