Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with Evo-derived 4WD ready for NZ
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Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand has shown it is serious about taking a larger share of the lucrative SUV market by offering the four-wheel-drive version of its new Eclipse Cross for just $2000 more than the front-wheel-drive models.
The two-wheel-drive versions of the car were launched in New Zealand at the end of last year, and already almost 200 of them have been sold.
The four-wheel-drive variant will arrive in New Zealand Mitsubishi showrooms at the beginning of April, with a recommended retail price of $43,490 for the XLS model, and $47,590 for the top of the range VRX model.
The New Zealand prices were revealed during the European launch of the four-wheel-drive Eclipse, held at an alpine ski resort in Norway this week.
Mitsubishi New Zealand was celebrating the strong first full month of sales, with 159 Eclipse models sold during January. Around another 30 models had been sold when stock became available during the two weeks leading up to Christmas.
The Eclipse is a stylish coupe-like medium-sized SUV that sits between the smaller Mitsubishi ASX SUV, and the larger Outlander SUV models.
While it retains a strong Mitsubishi family resemblance in the front of the vehicle, it has a dramatic sloping roofline running down to a stylish rear-end.
It is powered by a new 1.5 litre turbo engine, with the automatic versions using an eight-speed CVT automatic transmission.
Even the lower XLS models are well equipped with driver assist technology features, while the interior includes features such as a touch pad control for the audio and other features running on a touch-screen in the centre of the dash board.
Mitsubishi New Zealand had targetted sales of around 100 during January, but was pleased to exceed this by more than half as many again. It sold all of the top-line VXR models it had available during January.
The general manager of vehicle sales and marketing, Daniel Cook, said the high number of Eclipse sales had not been at the expense of ASX sales, which also held up during January.
This suggested Mitsubishi was gaining sales at the expense of competitors in what was one of the most competitive and lively sectors of the market, SUVs.
The four-wheel-drive Eclipse is equipped with what the company describes as the Super-All-Wheel-Control system, which was developed through the company’s successful stint in motorsport, with the rally sport Evo sedan models, which it no longer manufactures.
Mitsubishi won the World Rally Championship five times with drivers behind the wheel of the Evo.
The system controls the amount of torque offered between the front and rear wheels, and between left and right tyres, to deliver the most efficient and safe driving experience.
The company demonstrated the model during the European launch on snow-covered alpine roads, four hours drive north-west from the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
In spite of constant snowfalls, the 4-W-D Eclipse felt assured driving on slippery ice and snow-covered secondary roads.
It also performed well during a series of ‘circuits’ on a frozen lake at a motorsport park in the Norwegian mountains.
Driven will have a more detailed account of its performance on the snow in coming weeks.
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