The newly facelifted Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross has now been launched in Japan, where it is offered in both petrol and plug-in hybrid variants. The latter marks the first time the compact SUV gets a PHEV powertrain, which is derived from the setup used in the much larger Outlander PHEV.

According to Mitsubishi, the system consists of two electric motors, with the one at the front rated at 82 PS (80 hp) and 137 Nm of torque, while another unit at the rear provides 95 PS (94 hp) and 195 Nm. Both provide all-wheel drive, with Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) system ensuring efficient driving force is distributed depending on conditions.

These e-motors draw power from a 13.8-kWh, 300-volt lithium-ion battery mounted on the vehicle floor, which is recharged by a 4B12 2.4 litre MIVEC naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that churns out 128 PS (126 hp) and 199 Nm at 4,500 rpm

The engine acts as a generator while in series hybrid mode, keeping the battery charged to ensure the e-motors are fed. However, at higher speeds, the system switches to parallel hybrid mode, with the engine directly driving the wheels through a lock-up clutch. The engine is also governed by the S-AWC, with Active Yaw Control (AYC) – torque vectoring by brake – to further improve handling.

Apart from the engine, the system also charges the battery via regenerative braking and when the vehicle is plugged into a charging station. The Eclipse Cross PHEV supports both AC charging (Type 1) up to 3.7 kW, with a full charge taking about 4.5 hours when plugged into a wallbox. There’s also DC fast charging (CHAdeMO) up to 22 kW, with a zero to 80% state of charge reached in 25 minutes.

A feature unique to the PHEV variant is an onboard, 100-volt AC outlet that can deliver up to 1,500 watts to power electronic and appliances. This is useful for powering various appliances and electronics like during camping, or to illuminate a forest as the company demonstrates in one of its promotional videos. In preparation for such situations, owners can enable a battery save mode to maintain the charge level until they reach their location.

Bi-directional charging also allows for vehicle-to-home (V2H) functionality, allowing owners in Japan to power their homes via the CHAdeMO port in the event of a disaster, where regular power supply is not available. In both uses, the battery will provide power until it reaches a low state of charge, wherein the 4B12 engine comes to life to start recharging it.

As for the regular petrol engine, it is a 4B40 1.5 litre turbocharged four-pot that provides 150 PS (148 hp) at 5,500 rpm and 240 Nm from 2,000 to 3,500 rpm. The mill is paired with an INVEC-III CVT with eight virtual speeds, and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive – both with AYC: latter also gets S-AWC.

Comparing the two options, the PHEV variant offers the best fuel consumption with a WLTC-rated 16.4 km/l (6.1 l/100 km), while the petrol version gets 13.4 km/l (7.5 l/100 km) with front-wheel drive and 12.4 km/l (8.1 l/100 km) with all-wheel drive.

There are also differences in weight, as the 1.5L 2WD comes in at between 1,450 to 1,480 kg, the 1.5L AWD is between 1,520 to 1,550 kg, while the PHEV is the heaviest at between 1,900 to 1,920 kg. You also get the smallest fuel tank with the PHEV (43 litres), followed by the AWD (60 litres) and 2WD (63 litres).

In terms of styling changes, the Eclipse Cross gets revisions to its front and rear, with the latter being the most significant. The previous full-width taillights and split rear windscreen are now gone, replaced with vertical L-shaped clusters and a single pane of glass. To go along with these revisions, there’s also a reshaped tailgate that helps reduce the stubby look of the pre-facelift model’s tail.

As for the front, a revamped two-tier lighting arrangement sees a slimmer upper portion that acts as the LED daytime running lights, while the main headlamps have been moved further down, with oval housings with chrome detailing. Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield face remains present as before, but with some tweaks like fine hexagonal perforations for the narrower upper grille, along with a honeycomb mesh insert beneath it.

Inside, the infotainment system features a new interface and physical volume and tuning knobs. The previous touchpad, which looked a little out of place, has also been ditched, so interfacing with the system is done via a touchscreen that is brought closer to occupants.

For the Japanese market, the list of equipment varies depending on trim level, of which there are three available for each powertrain variant. Items include halogen and LED headlamps, LED taillights and fog lamps, 16- and 18-inch wheels, analogue gauges with a multi-info display, a drive mode selector on S-AWC-equipped variants, and automatic air-conditioning.

Other available equipment includes a choice of fabric, combination suede and synthetic leather, or genuine leather upholstery, powered front seats, eight speakers, a head-up display and an optional electric panoramic sunroof.

Safety-wise, it’s seven airbags across the range, along with the usual string of passive system like Active Stability Control (ASC), traction control, hill start assist, ABS, EBD and brake assist. Mitsubishi’s e-Assist suite of technologies is also standard, and includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beam and false start suppression. Selected trims get active cruise control, a blind spot monitor, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

Prices start from 2,531,100 yen (RM98,741) for the basic M trim with the 1.5L 2WD powertrain and goes all the way up to 4.477 million yen (RM174,713), before any further options are added in. In Japan, Mitsubishi provides an eight-year/160,000-km warranty and capacity guarantee on the hybrid battery.