By KBB.com Editors
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe, now entering its third year of production, continues to see a steady rise in sales. One reason for this is obvious: The Eclipse's curvaceous good looks, reasonable price tag and impressive performance and handling make it a highly desirable choice. A bit less obvious, but still a factor, is that, currently, the only other front-wheel drive, two-door hatchbacks offering similar performance and value are the Volkswagen GTI, Hyundai Tiburon and MINI Cooper S, none of which can come close to matching the Eclipse's 263 horsepower. If you can live without a hatchback and the higher performance, the Chevrolet Cobalt Sport, Honda Civic Si and Ford Mustang V6 might also be worth a look.
You'll like the Eclipse Coupe if you are looking for an affordable, sporty-styled, modern-looking two-door that offers a substantial level of fun-to-drive performance in a moderately-priced front-wheel drive vehicle.
If you are a dyed-in-the-wool performance enthusiast who demands 300-plus horsepower and the most precise handling possible, this car may not deliver on your dream. And, the rear-seat headroom is very limited.
A limited production SE version, available on both the GS and GT trim levels, features custom graphics, an aerodynamic body kit, 18-inch wheels, Active Stability Control (V6 only) and a firmer suspension. All Eclipse coupes now feature a tire-pressure monitoring system as standard equipment.
Driving Impressions The Eclipse Coupe is no longer the boy-racer it once was. Today's Eclipse has matured, engineered for the middle-of-the-road sporty driver. This is not to say the Eclipse is without...some very sporty driving characteristics. Both engines provide plenty of low-end torque -- a plus when the light turns green and you've got to get across the intersection and then into another lane, for example. With the Eclipse GT, Mitsubishi has managed to strike a satisfying balance between steering responsiveness and low-speed control, both of which seem nearly effortless. Twisty back roads are welcome when driving the Eclipse, and although the V6 has enough power to generate some torque steer (a tendency for the steering of a front-drive car to pull to one side or the other during hard acceleration) it's not unmanageable by any means.
Rockford Fosgate Audio
Available in the Sun and Sound Package, along with a sunroof, for around $1,800, this nine-speaker 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system features a six-disc, in-dash CD changer that also plays MP3 files (but alas, has no iPod connection).
Mitsubishi's 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain is pretty hard to ignore when you're considering the pros and cons of a new-car purchase. It buys you a lot of peace-of-mind.
As has been the case in past Eclipse designs, the interior of the current coupe delivers on the promises made by its sporty exterior. An abundance of glass coupled with more interior space goes a long way to alleviating feelings of claustrophobia. Still, the curved dash is designed with such a slant that it almost seems to give off a sensation of movement. Interior fit and finish is tight, and there is hardly a trace of cheap plastic. The well-bolstered sport bucket front seats work well for enthusiastic driving, but are still comfy enough for long road trips. The side airbag on the passenger's seat has a weight sensor that prevents the bag from deploying when the seat is occupied by a child.Exterior
The fourth-generation Eclipse could be characterized as more "muscular" than its previous incarnations, with little-to-no defining breaks interrupting the surfaces flowing between fenders and integrated bumpers. The headlights seem to wear shades -- each has a blue-tinted "monocle" lens extending out before it -- and the lights benefit from a multi-parabola design, which maximizes the bulbs' projections. The rear lamps look clear, but shine red with the use of LED technology. The large rear hatch opens to allow easy placement of large items, an uncommon benefit not offered by many coupes.
The Eclipse's standard equipment includes a 162-horsepower four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, 17-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, cruise control, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, tire-pressure monitoring system, tilt steering wheel and keyless entry. Both the GS and GT models have well-bolstered sport seats, with the driver's side having six-way adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. Standard safety gear on all models includes driver's and front passenger's front airbags, with a passenger-side occupant-sensing system and seat-belt pretensioners, and front-seat side and side-curtain airbags. The GT adds a 263-horsepower V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, integrated fog lamps, larger rear brakes and traction control.
One of the Eclipse's most notable options is the 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system featuring nine speakers and a 10-inch long-throw subwoofer. It accommodates six CDs or MP3 discs in its in-dash changer. Other options of note are arranged in packages. The Sun & Sound Package includes power sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, center display with outside temperature and compass and the Rockford Fosgate stereo. The GT Premium Sport Package has everything the Sun & Sound Package offers plus heated leather seats, a power driver's seat and automatic climate control.
Both Eclipse engines feature Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Electronic Control (MIVEC), which spreads the output over a wider engine speed range and optimizes power, emissions and fuel economy. The more desirable of the two engines, particularly for performance, is definitely the V6, although the tradeoff for the additional power is an expected reduction in fuel economy. With either engine, the automatic transmission has the Sportronic feature, which allows the driver to shift manually by moving the shift lever into the sports-mode gate.
2.4-liter four cylinder
162 horsepower at 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 20/26 (automatic)
263 horsepower at 5750 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (manual), 17/25 (automatic)
By the joyrider (SD) on Monday, May 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great sports car, drives like a powerhouse, yet has the handling of a import. Very loud on the interstate but the pick up speed, the amazing interior and driving experience definitely make up for it."
By Spydergirl (OH) on Thursday, May 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "SO fun to drive, corners like on rails"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Love my Spyder Eclipse but it has a very bad blind spot. Really difficult to see on the left when the top is up. Beautiful copper color just sparkles in the sun."
By Tanman (TX) on Monday, April 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sound system, heated seats, comfort"
Cons: "front wheel drive, exterior design could be better"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car has been awesome. It is very fun to drive even with the automatic transmission. I don't care what the experts say it handles good. The Rockford Fosgate stereo exceeded my expectations by far! The sound quality is unreal. I have not had any problems with reliability and I am hard on vehicles."
By theAVman (GA) on Saturday, April 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Style , Handling , performance , mileage , overall"
Cons: "could have a bit less road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I am mainly a GM owner I ended up with a gen 3 Eclipse that was later totaled.I bought a gen 4 .Now looking for a second gen4 car to build a demo car out of! I have had 7 Camaros 5 Firebirds and I have to say overall this is an impressive car easilly tuned to 300HP while still getting 28mpg if driven easy."
By Eclipse12 (CA) on Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good only but does handle turns well"
Cons: "Gas burner blind spots no power no back seat space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Please take the time to read my review and opinion of my 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse AT transmission. I bought this car pre owned with 17k on it for 16 thousand and some warranty left on it which was not too bad. I did major internet research on car and even rented the convertible which drove great and had decent power. But the hard top 4 cylinder vehicle is built completly different. The power train is the same one they use for the SUV therefore causing it to be very heavy. This car rolls back 5 miles and hour on the slightest of hills. I have brought it to service and they said it's totally normal for my car which is bottom of the line. The engine is loud and makes noise as if I owned it for 12 years. The car has absolutely NO POWER and struggles really hard especially during it's first acceleration after a stop sign. When I test drove the car there was really no way for me to tell all of this and I did by the car in a hurry because of work circumstances. The interior is like I child designed it. It's literally a Barbie or Ken car perfect for a 16 year old child. Again the body looks great and I get completments left and right. The Mitsubishi mechanics even had a very low opinion of the 4 cylinder 2012 Eclipse. They said that the engine is not designed to carry the car and ITS SO FREKKIN true. I regret buying this car and now I am married to it for the next 5 years and can't trade it in for something of similar value because the car HAS NO VALUE! it's now worth $12,000 and i bought it for $16,000. Get a Scion TC or Honda Civic or at least a V6 Eclipse. DO NOT get the 4 cylinder. The gas mileage is absolutely horrendous. Mitsubishi did a AWFUL job with this car. And ps. the blind spots are out of this world. I almost hit cars all the times. Key point. Extend your side mirrors farthest out as they can go! If you are short in height this car is for you as i am 5'10."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Rocket Pilot (Canada) on Friday, February 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "RELIABLE, BIG FUN"
Cons: "HUGE turn radius; LOW quality door panel plastics"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I take a lot of pleasure from the process of buying a new car. My standard approach is to make a purchase, drive the car for a while.... become bored with it..... then buy another car to replace the one that I "thought I wanted". I purchased my '07 Eclipse GT (Red Rocket), in September, '07, with 6,000 miles showing on the odometer. Over the past 5-1/2 yrs the 'Rocket' has performed flawlessly! I'll be buried in her, methinks!"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful