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AUTO REVIEW: 2019 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SEL: The Brand’s Sporty Hatchback-Like Crossover

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The nicely equipped Eclipse Cross is priced to undercut its competitors, with a starting price just shy of $25,000. While it might be slightly more than compact crossovers, this Mitsubishi definitely undercuts similarly equipped midsize crossovers. A well-equipped Eclipse Crossover tops off at around $33,000. This is well below the competition in which some cases tip into in to the $40,000 price range.

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By Jeff Fortson of JeffCars.com, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Highlight: Love it or hate it, the vehicle offers a Lexus-like touchpad controller.

Test Vehicles MSRP: $32,610(Base MSRP: $24,690)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; traction control; fog lights; heated power side mirrors; rear wiper; a rear-view camera; a hill start assist system; a tire pressure monitoring system; and a temporary spare tire

Standard Equipment (Base ES Model): 16-inch wheels; front-wheel drive; halogen headlights; front bumper center; black lower door trim; a rear privacy glass; electric power steering; roof spoiler; a single zone automatic climate control system; cloth seats; manually adjustable front seats; a sliding rear seat with a recline feature; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; and a variety of driving modes

Standard Equipment (SEL Model): 18-inch wheels; all-wheel drive; LED headlights; chrome grille; paddle shifters; an 8-way power driver’s seat; heated front seats; a rear seat center armrest with cupholders; a leather wrapped shift knob; a 7-inch infotainment screen; SiriusXM radio; Apple CarPlay and android compatibility; automatic off/on headlight feature; a 360-degree camera; a heads up display system; power folding side view mirrors; illuminated visor vanity mirrors; a dual zone automatic climate control system; an electronic parking brake; an automatic hold brake feature; center console box compartment tray; and blind spot warning with a rear cross traffic alert system and a lane changing assist system

Options: Red Diamond exterior color; a tonneau cover; a dual pane power panoramic sunroof; a premium 9-speaker audio system; a forward collision mitigation system; a lane departure warning system; a radar activated cruise control system; a forward collision mitigation system; a lane departure warning system; a radar-activated cruise control system; automatic high beam headlights; a heated steering wheel; rear heated seats; automatic dimming rear view mirrors; and roof rails

Other Trim Levels: LE, SP, SE

Standard Audio on Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD audio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

Apple CarPlay/Android Compatibility: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo engine/152-hp

Recommended FuelRegular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 26-city/29-hwy

What’s New: After joining the lineup last year, the vehicle is virtually a carryover for the 2019 model year. In 2018, the product planning team at Mitsubishi resurrected the Eclipse name, a once sporty two-door model.

Why: The stylish compact crossover is available in a variety of trims. In fact, in terms of crossovers, the vehicle slots between the compact and midsize segments. The hatchback-like design mimics that of BMW’s popular X4 and X6 models. The spacious Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is powered by a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. With the exception of the base ES model, an all-wheel drive configuration is standard on all of the trims.

We spent time behind the wheel of the higher end SEL trim. The vehicle offered a premium interior and loads of amenities normally reserved for pricier vehicles. Our vehicle included everything from a touchpad controller to a power driver’s seat to a dual panoramic roof, which included two power operated sliding covers. However, the front roof is functional, while the rear seat roof is fixed. In our review vehicle, the rear occupants also had access to heated seats and a center armrest.

The Eclipse Cross, which also offers great road manners, rides more like a midsize vehicle as opposed to a compact crossover. Mitsubishi’s compact crossover also incorporates the latest safety designs. Those safety aids range from electronic blind spot mirrors to a radar-activated cruise control system to a lane keep assist system to a 360-degree camera.

Furthermore, the optional 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate, 710-watt audio system, is one of the best radios we’ve heard in a vehicle in this price point. The system delivers a crystal-clear concert hall sound. In fact, the audio system could easily rival those we’ve experienced in BMWs, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Volvos, which offers more speakers.

The nicely equipped Eclipse Cross is priced to undercut its competitors, with a starting price just shy of $25,000. While it might be slightly more than compact crossovers, this Mitsubishi definitely undercuts similarly equipped midsize crossovers.  A well-equipped Eclipse Crossover tops off at around $33,000. This is well below the competition in which some cases tip into in to the $40,000 price range.

Lastly, Mitsubishi offers one of the best warranties in the industry.

But: The swanky design and the flashy color did not translate into the engine department. The turbo power vehicle is underpowered, lacking the punch that should complement the design and heritage of the Eclipse name. Mitsubishi should strongly consider adding a GT version, which could offer more horsepower to the vehicle.

Also, a front wheel drive configuration is only available on the base model. This configuration should be available on the other trims. Not every region of the country requires continuous all-wheel drive. Adding a front wheel drive version could lower the price point of the vehicle, making it a more eye-popping offer.

Moreover, the touchscreen audio system should add knobs to the screen, making it easier to locate stations and the like. Ford had a similar knobless touchscreen a few years ago and realized from a customer satisfaction standpoint it was better to reincorporate it back into their system.

Lastly, the horizontal rear bar, which connects two widows, could slightly impede the driver’s view. And, in order to improve the driver’s rear vision, the rear seat headrests should always be lowered, when not in use.

Verdict: Since joining the line-up, the Eclipse Cross has become the brand’s third best-selling vehicle. Its available in a variety of trims, at a price point that could easily undercut the competition by close to $10,000, depending upon if the vehicle is going head-to-head with the compact or midsize crossover segment.

Despite the standard turbo engine, for those not seeking a performance-oriented crossover that breaks speed records, the Eclipse Cross is worth placing on the shopping list!

Competition: Chevy Equinox; Ford Edge; Honda CR-V; Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue; and Toyota RAV-4

About Jeff Fortson and JeffCars.com: Jeff Fortson is the host of SiriusXM Channel 141 Auto Trends with JeffCars.com. The show airs on Fridays at 12 PM ET. It’s a weekly multicultural automotive show, which includes in-depth conversations with today’s influencers and pioneers. For additional air times, a new-vehicle pricing configurator, used car-buying tips and more, cruise over to JeffCars.com.

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U.S. Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, political leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the Vietnam War. 

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Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr./ NNPA Newswire

Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, political leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the Vietnam War. 

This toxic atmosphere has left them incapable of addressing pressing, yet ingrained issues like the racial wealth gap, the digital divide, and vast inequalities in everything from health care to home ownership.

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities – particularly communities of color throughout the South – are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

From impediments to wealth creation opportunities and a dearth of education and workforce development to a lack of access to reliable broadband, substandard housing, and inadequate political representation, communities of color have suffered an outsized toll during the ongoing public health crisis.

Yet political leaders can’t even agree on basic facts that would allow the nation to implement a coherent national strategy for combatting a pandemic that appears to be entering a new wave amid the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant that is currently ravaging parts of the South.

Against that disillusioning backdrop, there is at least some reason for hope. Moving to fill the vacuum created by the inaction of our political class, a group of business leaders in the technology and investment sectors have embarked on a far-reaching – and perhaps unprecedented – campaign to address the social inequities and systemic racism that has historically plagued our country’s southern communities.

Known as the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI), the campaign was founded by financial technology company PayPal, the investment firm Vista Equity Partners (Vista), and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

SCI was formed to work with local elected officials and advocacy groups to tackle the ubiquitous problems of structural racism and inequalities facing communities of color in six communities throughout the South. SCI notes that these areas – Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., Houston, Texas, Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, La., – were chosen in part because they are home to around 50% of the country’s Black population and are where some of the greatest disparities exist.

SCI is aiming to drive long-term change, as outlined by PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Vista CEO Robert F. Smith and BCG CEO Rich Lesser. 

In Atlanta, for example, SCI is working to bridge the wealth gap that exists among the region’s African-American residents. While there is a strong Black business community in the city, and high levels of Black educational achievement thanks to the regional presence of several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the voice of the Black press, there is still an extremely low level of Black entrepreneurship and business ownership with only 6% of employer firms being Black-owned.

To remedy this disparity, SCI is working with the Southern Economic Advancement Project to create entrepreneurship hubs and accelerator programs to increase the number of minority-owned businesses. The corporations behind SCI are also using their networks to help other companies work with minority-owned supply companies.

In Alabama, SCI is seeking to bridge the massive digital divide in an urban area where 450,000 households are without connection to the internet. In order to tackle the crisis, SCI is leveraging relationships with local schools and libraries to distribute laptops and service vouchers. Another tact SCI is taking is to partner with the owners of multi-unit buildings in low-income neighborhoods to install free public Wi-Fi for residents.

The lack of access to capital is another reason Black communities throughout the South have been traditionally underbanked. In Memphis, where 47% of Black households are underbanked, SCI is partnering with Grameen America to cover the $2 million per year per branch start-up cost to build brick-and-mortar banks in minority communities.

This alone will provide 20,000 women access to more than $250 million per year in financing.

Beyond these initiatives, SCI is partnering with groups like the Greater Houston Partnership and the Urban League of Louisiana to provide in-kind support to improve job outcomes for minority college students, expand access to home financing through partnerships with community development financial institutions, and harness the power of technology to expand health care access in underserved urban and rural neighborhoods.

The issues facing these communities throughout the South are not new nor will they be fixed overnight.

Fortunately, SCI is taking a long-term approach that is focused on getting to the root of structural racism in the United States and creating a more just and equitable country for every American.

A once-in-a-century pandemic and a social justice movement not seen since the 1960s were not enough to break the malaise and rancorous partisanship in Washington. Fortunately, corporate leaders are stepping up and partnering with local advocates and non-profit groups to fix the problem of systemic injustice in the U.S.

We, therefore, salute and welcome the transformative commitments of the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI). There is no time to delay, because as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so accurately said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

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NNPA – Black Press w/ Hendriks Video Interview

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Black Woman to Lead United States Park Police

 Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

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Pamela A. Smith

Pamela A. Smith, a 23-year veteran of the United States Park Police, will lead the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

Smith, who became the first African American woman to lead the 230-year-old agency, immediately remarked that she would establish a body-worn camera program for USPP within 90 days.

The program will initially begin in San Francisco and be implemented across the country by the end of the year, Smith said.

“Body-worn cameras are good for the public and good for our officers, which is why I am prioritizing implementing a body-worn camera program within my first 90 days,” Smith offered in a statement.

 “This is one of the many steps we must take to continue to build trust and credibility with the public we have been entrusted to serve.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and graduated from the FBI National Academy. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During her law enforcement career, the proud Zeta Phi Beta Sorority sister has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, canine handler, and academy instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

 According to a news release, Smith also served as executive lieutenant to the chief of police, assistant commander of the San Francisco Field Office, commander of the New York Field Office, acting deputy chief of the Homeland Security Division, and deputy chief for the Field Operations Division.

Smith was the first woman to lead the New York Field Office as its Major.

At the USPP, she will lead a 560-member workforce that protects the public, parks, and the nation’s most iconic landmarks in Wash., D.C., New York City, and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

“Chief Smith’s commitment to policing as public service and her willingness to listen and collaborate make her the right person to lead the U.S. Park Police at this pivotal moment in our country,” Shawn Benge, deputy director exercising the delegated authority of the NPS director, noted in a statement.

 “Over the coming months, the leadership of the National Park Service will explore opportunities with Chief Smith designed to strengthen our organization’s commitment to transparency. Her personal and professional experience make her acutely aware of and ready to meet the challenges and responsibilities that face U.S. Park Police and law enforcement agencies across the nation.”

 Jennifer Flynn, the associate director for Visitor Resource Protection at the National Park Service added that she’s looking forward to Smith’s leadership.

“Chief Smith’s experience serving in leadership roles in every U.S. Park Police field office has provided her with an unmatched foundation to lead the diverse agency,” said Flynn, who oversees law enforcement programs at USPP.

 “As federal law enforcement officers, the U.S. Park Police officers have a new opportunity each day to give their best to the American people. Chief Smith exemplifies that approach as a colleague and mentor, and she will be instrumental in refining and shaping the future of the organization,” Flynn said.

Smith declared that she would lead by example and expects all officers to display integrity.

 “I have dedicated my career to the professionalism of law enforcement, and it is my highest honor and privilege to serve as chief of police,” Chief Smith declared. “Today’s officers face many challenges, and I firmly believe challenges present opportunities. I look forward to leading this exemplary team as we carry out our mission with honesty and integrity.”  

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