The small crossover SUV is better looking, easier to operate and still bargain priced.

COURTESY PHOTO: MITSUBISHI - The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has been redesigned with a more aggressive front end and low air dam.Mitsubishi is continuing its steady comeback in American with a redesigned 2022 Eclipse Cross that continues to be a value-packed small crossover SUV.

It's no secret that the underfunded Japanese manufacture has struggled to bring out new models. But it is on something of a roll now with new versions of its bargain-priced subcompact Mirage car (and hatchback) and well-reviewed compact plug-in Outlander crossover SUV coming out.

COURTESY PHOTO: MITSUBISHI - The previously-awkward rear end of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has been restyled for 2022.

Adding to the momentum are the improvements in the Eclipse Cross, which Mitsubishi considers a subcompact, although it actually slots between the even smaller Outlander Sport crossover and larger compact Outlander. First introduced in 2019, the Eclipse Cross always offered a lot of bang for the buck, including the availability of the company's advanced Super All-Wheel-Control all-wheel-drive system. But some reviewers noted a few shortcomings, such as the touchpad that controlled the infotainment system and the split rear window design reminiscent of the reviled Pontiac Aztec.

COURTESY PHOTO: MITSUBISHI - The display screen has been moved up onthe dash and its touchpad control eleiminated in the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

To its credit, Mitsubishi took the criticism seriously and suspended production, returning with the new version that eliminates the touchpad, replaces both the front and rear ends with more attractive versions, and moves the high-mounted display screen closer to the driver for easier reading, among other upgrades.

Although unconventional, this is not the first time Mitsubishi has suspended production in recent years to fix shortcomings in a vehicle. It did the same thing with the Mirage, which was too unrefined despite its low price, coming back after a year with a much better driving car and hatchback. The company's willingness to address the problems should be applauded, especially since so many other manufacturers are dropping cars in favor of crossovers SUVs, even though they are more affordable.

And speaking of affordable, the 2022 Eclipse Cross costs far less than most other small two-row crossovers, while still matching them for available advanced automotive technologies, Most competitors — including the only slightly larger Nissan Murano, Chevrolet Blazer, Toyota Venza, and Ford Edge — start at about $32,000 or a little higher. But the Mitsubishi has a starting MSRP of just $23,395.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The base 2022 Mitsubishi is well equipped but even more advanced technologies are available on the higher trim levels.

Truth be told, the Eclipse Cross is not quite as powerful as most of them. Its standard 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is smaller than usual for compact SUVs, produces just 152 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. But the continuously variable transmission was well tuned to take full advantage of it, and it felt strong enough pulling away from stop signs and red lights, which is when drivers usually notice the power of their vehicles. Passing at freeway speeds took a little planning, but not nearly enough to be a deal breaker.

Better yet, in a week of test driving, the surprisingly supple suspension more than made for any minor shortcomings. It floated over broken pavement and even absorbed potholes without seriously disturbing the ride. Kudos to the engineers who have figured out how to make such a short wheelbase vehicle livable on the poorly maintained streets in my neighborhood.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The interior upholstery for the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross includes cloth, synthetic suede, or real leather surfaces, and both the front and outboard rear seats can be heated.

Standard equipment includes forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and hill start assist.

Our fully-loaded SEL Touring version had just about everything anyone could want in any size crossover SUV, including all-wheel-drive, a full leather exterior, a power panoramic sunroof, and a full list of safety and convenience features, such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, head-up display, blind spot monitor, lane change assist, rear cross traffic warnings, and forward collision mitigation with high-speed braking.

Despite all the equipment, our top-of-the-line redesigned 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was priced at only $34,670, or just a couple thousand more than the base models of most competitors. That should put it near the top of the shopping list for all value conscious consumers.

PMG PHOTO: JEFF ZURSCHMEIDE - The 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross offers ample cargo space for such a small vehicle.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Base price: $23,395

Price as tested: $34,670

Type: Compact SUV

Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (152 hp, 184 lbs-ft)

Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission

EPA estimated mileage: 25/26

Overall length: 179 inches

Curb weight: 3,505 pounds

Final assembly: Okazaki, Japan

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!