By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe, now entering its fourth year of production, continues to have 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 265 horsepower. Among those without a hatchback, the Chevrolet Cobalt SS nearly matches the Eclipse's horsepower, while the less-powerful Honda Civic Si and Ford Mustang V6 might also be worth a look.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
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 dreams. And, the rear-seat headroom is very limited.What's New for 2009
New front and rear fascias mark the major changes for 2009, with the GT trim receiving an aggressive two-tone front bumper treatment. Also new to the GT is a larger rear spoiler, Active Stability Control and tuned dual exhaust for better sound and more horsepower.Driving It 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.Favorite Features
Rockford Fosgate Audio
Available in the Sun & 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.