Engine and Transmission Rating:
Make no mistake, the Eclipse Cross’s 152-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder isn’t going to set anyone’s heart aflame. However, it motivates this crossover with subtle determination. Paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the engine delivers power smoothly, but at highway speeds, passing maneuvers must be premeditated: the Cross’s small-displacement four runs out of steam at higher speeds. Aggressive throttle application evokes less engine noise than expected, and highway cruising is quiet and unremarkable-just what we want from crossovers in this class. The Cross’s transmission steps through a range of gear ratios like a conventional automatic rather than aimlessly roaming up and down the rpm range like some less sophisticated CVTs.
Test Results: Acceleration
Manual Shifting Capability
You can control the Cross’s preset gear ratios via the gearshift lever or by using the steering-column-mounted paddle shifters on the top-spec SEL trim.
Tow Ratings Compared
If you tow anything more than the occasional light trailer, none of these vehicles will be satisfactory, although the Escape with its optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is worth a look.