2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Review
By KBB.com Editors
What's New for 2012
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Eclipse
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.
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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)
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