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)
A 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe starts at just over $20,000 for a base GS version with manual transmission and climbs to about $32,000 for a loaded GT. Spyder convertible models start at just under $29,000 and top out around $35,000 for a loaded version. The Eclipse coupe's base price is less than that of the Chevrolet Camaro, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S. It is more expensive than a Kia Forte Koup and Honda Civic Coupe. The Eclipse Spyder is pricier than a Mazda MX-5 Miata and less expensive than a Camaro Convertible. Check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe and Eclipse Spyder. The Mitsubishi Eclipse's predicted resale value is only marginal.
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