LOS ANGELES – The Mitsubishi Eclipse returns, but this time it’s a CUV, not a sports car.

The Japanese automaker, newly owned by Nissan-Renault, unveils the utility with a familiar name here today at the 2017 Los Angeles auto show.

With its new Eclipse Cross CUV, Mitsubishi promises coupe-like styling mixed with the utility that has helped CUVs grow to become America’s preferred vehicle type in place of sedans.

“Our research and analysis show us that the CUV category will continue to grow for many years, and with the addition of the Eclipse Cross, Mitsubishi is well positioned with the right products at the right time,” Don Swearingen, executive vice president and chief operating officer-Mitsubishi Motors North America, says in a statement released to media ahead of the CUV’s debut.

The compact utility vehicle goes on sale in March in the U.S., wearing the automaker’s signature Dynamic Shield front-design language (left, right and bottom black areas) and in the rear, high-mounted, stretched lamps and LED brake lights and center high-mounted stop light.

In profile the Eclipse Cross has a wedge shape, forward-raked rear window, short rear overhang and “beefy” fenders, Mitsubishi says.

Inside, the automaker promises interior quality and refinement never before seen in a Mitsubishi.

“Everywhere the driver looks and everything they touch is of the utmost quality with no compromise on detail,” the automaker says, adding high-grade materials and piano-black and “luminous silver” accents are used.

A first for Mitsubishi and standard on the CUV’s SEL grade is a full-color head-up display, which shows speed and cruise-control settings, as well as forward-collision and lane-departure warnings.

A 7-in. (18-cm) infotainment screen is available, as is Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Google Assistant and Siri.

Other Mitsubishi firsts and available in the Eclipse Cross are heated rear seats and a panoramic sunroof with power sliding glass panels. Both are options and part of the SEL touring package.

The CUV’s standard powertrain is a 1.5L direct-injected turbo 4-cyl. making 152 hp at 5,500 rpm and 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) of torque at 3,500 rpm, with Mitsubishi noting a flat torque curve is present at very low rpm.

Sodium-filled exhaust valves help maximize engine performance and efficiency, the automaker says.

The CUV also has Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system, which distributes torque between right and left wheels for enhanced straight-line stability and cornering.

Four grades of the Eclipse Cross will be available in the U.S.: ES, LE, SE and SEL.

The base ES begins at $23,295 and has heated-power side-view mirrors, Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone buttons.

The LE has the 7-in. display screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the SE adds heated front seats as well as advanced safety technologies, such as blindspot warning, rear-cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist.

The SEL grade features leather seating, LED headlights and the HUD.

Besides the heated rear seats and power sunroof, the SEL touring package adds lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and forward collision mitigation safety technologies.

While still a small player in the U.S., Mitsubishi’s sales here are up 5.6% through October, rising to 86,576 thanks to a 10.0% hike in light-truck sales, WardsAuto data shows. The automaker also retails the Outlander and Outlander Sport CUVs in the U.S.

Its car lineup, down 1.3%, is also comprised of just two models, the Lancer compact and Mirage subcompact.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com