By KBB.com Editors
After more than two decades on the market and four generations, 2012 marks the final year for the Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe and Spyder (convertible). While this 4-seater once stood out for boasting high-performance features like a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive at a reasonable price, in recent years the Eclipse has become a merely "sporty" front-wheel-drive car that favors the comfort side of the equation to attract a broader range of buyers. Although the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse boasts curvaceous looks, a low starting price and a powerful V6 engine option, it lags rivals like the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, Chevrolet Camaro, Kia Forte Koup, Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Genesis coupe when it comes to powertrain options, refinement and performance.
Exotic-car looks, a price starting in the low $20,000 range, and a good warranty are among the biggest draws to the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse. And though lower trim levels have only marginal power, the high-end GT version with a V6 packs a bite with 265 horsepower.
If you want performance to match your budget sports car's looks, you'd be better off going with a rear-wheel-drive car like the BRZ, FR-S, Mazda Miata or Chevy Camaro, or an all-wheel-drive hot-hatch like the Subaru WRX.
Mitsubishi is marking the Eclipse's final year with an SE (special edition) version for both the coupe and Spyder. SE models add styling cues such as smoked-out alloy wheels, black side mirrors and unique decals. For the coupe, four trims are available: GS, GS Sport, SE and GT. The convertible can be had in GS Sport, SE and GT trims.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse is not a lightweight, flingable sports car, but it is still tuned well enough to have some fun on twisty back roads. Both the 4-cylinder and...the 6-cylinder engine choices provide the kind of low-end torque needed to sprint across an intersection, though torque-steer is noticeable with the more powerful V6. A 5-speed manual transmission is only available in base forms of the coupe, and the only other transmission offered for 4-cylinder models is an automatic with the same number of gears – four – as the Eclipse had when it debuted back in 1990. The Mitsubishi Eclipse benefits from crisp steering and strong brakes. The interior is ergonomically pleasing and the front seats are first-rate, though rear-seat room is cramped. The Eclipse's swooping roofline creates blind spots, especially in convertible form with the top up.
ROCKFORD FOSGATE AUDIO SYSTEM
Standard on all but the base coupe, this 9-speaker premium sound system is good for 650-watts of musical mayhem and features a 6-disc in-dash CD changer and auxiliary input for MP3 players.
10-YEAR/100,000-MILE POWERTRAIN WARRANTY
Mitsubishi's warranty is highlighted by a generous 10 years or 100,000 miles for the powertrain. The Eclipse is also covered bumper-to-bumper for five years/60,000 miles and comes with roadside assistance for five years/unlimited miles.
Though helped by an abundance of glass and a curvaceous dash that complements the car's exterior, the Eclipse's cabin feels behind those of its rivals. Buttons and knobs are simple to locate and use, but look plain. Features such as heated seats and Bluetooth are optional, but a navigation system option is nowhere to be found. The steering wheel tilts but does not telescope, making it challenging for drivers to find a perfect fit. The front bucket seats are supportive at least. The two rear seats, however, are very tight.Exterior
Design is one of the strengths of the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Swooping curves, a forward stance and standard 18-inch wheels make this Mitsubishi look sporty indeed. Flared fenders give a muscular look, and twin tailpipes benefit further from polished exhaust tips. Eclipse Spyder models have a power-operated soft top that opens in 19 seconds. SE models appear edgier thanks to darkened wheels and black side decals that run along the bottom body panels. High-intensity projectors help light the way in front on all but base Eclipse models, and LED taillights at the rear help modernize the car.
All 2012 Eclipse coupes come with air conditioning, power windows/doors, 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, cruise control, folding rear seats, keyless entry, an alarm system and six airbags. Convertibles feature a power-operated fabric roof with hard-shell tonneau cover, premium sound system, Bluetooth, backup camera, and a 6-way power driver's seat.
Options are rather slim for the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse, with most being bundled with trim packages. Among the features are leather seats, a backup camera (with the display in the rearview mirror), xenon headlights, a sunroof and automatic climate control. Other factory-installed options include remote engine start, a rear wing spoiler and an aero kit.
Eclipse coupes and convertibles are powered by one of two engines – a 162-horsepower 4-cylinder or a 265-horsepower V6. The V6 is only available in GT models and is linked to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode. The V6 requires premium gasoline, while the 4-cylinder engines can run on regular. Other than the 5-speed manual in the base version of the Eclipse coupe, the rest of the 4-cylinder models use an antiquated 4-speed automatic. All Eclipse models are front-wheel-drive.
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, GS Sport, SE
162 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (Coupe), 20/27 mpg (Spyder)
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT
265 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
262 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (Coupe), 16/24 mpg (Spyder)
By arrow1 on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fast, fun, sporty, comfortable, handles well."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the best car I have ever owned and will probably ever own. I still cannot believe how inexpensive Eclipses are for their sporty, fun look and their incredible road-handling quality. I HIGHLY suggest purchasing this car. It is affordable (at only 2 years old, my car was $10,500) and it handles beautifully--even on the highway. The interior is surprisingly spacious for a sports car. I'm about 6' tall and it's perfect for me. I'd even say it's roomy. You get SO MUCH bang for your buck with an Eclipse. You get a youthful, fast, sporty car for less than half of what you'd pay for a Mustang."
By JC on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,321overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cannot replace this."
Cons: "Rear visibility when backing up."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"For just under 29K, this is the top all around convertible in it's class as the 4 banger with auto does have a lot of zip plus awesome gas mileage. The leather trim seats are a must. The rockford/fosgate stereo can really pump the sound out. The only drawbacks to the car are the rear view and the back seat. However, no one buys these cars to ride 3-4 people. These Mitsubishi Spyder's are a hidden gem that is not well known. These are the perfect cars for that special lady who likes to run her errands and never worry about anything except occasional gas. My wife gets over 20 mpg in stop and go. She had a 1996 before this. It gets in the high 20's on the interstate at 70. I do not think this car can be replaced by anything under 55K. The maintenance is change oil and rotate tires as this is FWD."
By spyder on Saturday, July 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 158,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very fun to drive, commuted over 90 miles a day"
Cons: "none from me"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"a little less plastic parts on the interior finish would have been nice, also the vent adjustment gave out at about 50k miles"
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Eclipse on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, very dependable"
Cons: "No catch all space(Sunglasses, phone, etc)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love the Eclipse. I've had 3 of them, but the '07 I have had for 7 plus years. It is fun to drive and has been super dependable. I've never had one problem with it. The only complaint that I have, and it's a small one, is that when they changed the design of the interior they took away the small storage compartments. (Like to put your phone, sunglasses, etc.) This is a great car for anyone."
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Robert on Thursday, June 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great driving car."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Purchased car in 2008. It had approx. 11000 miles. Car has never been in snow. Car was kept in heated garage. Car was never in accident or had any body or mechanical repairs."
By LogSam on Monday, June 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Manueverable, and great on gas."
Cons: "Lacking some comforts that are now available."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"My 07 Eclipse gave me what I was looking for in a car. The gas mileage was reasonable as I was traveling a lot when I made this purchase. It has a sleek look from the outside and more room inside than one would think. Interior comfort is slightly lacking compared to cars of today, but I got what I was looking for in a car. I was very fortunate in that I have not had a great deal go wrong with it which is quite contrary to many cars I have owned in the past. Overall a successful purchase and I have been pleased."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful