Formula 1's Halo device is being criticised for being ugly. Here's why that's madness...
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Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
The Top Gear car review:Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
What is it like on the road?
The turbo petrol engine smears its torque over a wide range, so responds well from low down. It also sings sweetly and quietly at the top end. But annoyingly, at 4,000rpm, which is what you use a lot when pressing on, it drones annoyingly.
Just mooching around towns, or in gentle traffic, the CVT is smooth and sane, choosing a ratio that plays to the engine’s low-rev strengths. And yeah, we know CVTs are efficient and light. But floor it and, as they all do, it causes the engine to moan like a dying cow, abandoning correlation between speed and revs, and the reponse to throttle inputs is fuzzy. That makes it irksome and disconcerting to use.
For driving down twisty roads, where you want predictable response through a corner, it’s entirely critical to fix it in one of the the eight virtual ratios via the paddles.
The steering is oddly weighted around the straightahead, so it’s easy to drift out of your motorway lane. It’s like driving in slush. Then you get to a corner or roundabout, probably too fast if you’ve not taken control of the CVT because there’s then no engine braking. So you yank the wheel and the car rolls onto the outside-front wheel, and then you get back on the throttle and there’s more CVT delay before you finally lurch your way out.
But guess what. Get the entry right, hold a ratio on the paddles, turn in smoothly and matters are very different. You can feel the AWD system shuffling effort to the tyres that can use it, and the chassis and steering feed some info, and the balance is fine.
It’s really strange. Such a dissonance between initial impression and dynamics under stress. I can’t imagine many family-crossover buyers will ever get beyond the soggy outside to find, let alone enjoy, the resolved core.
Still, anyone can appreciate a pliant ride. It’s got one, and doesn’t clang or thump over lateral ridges. It cruises through the air quietly too.