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2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse

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2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Review

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Mitsubishi touts its U.S. cars and trucks as "Driven to Thrill," and its boldly-sculpted 2007 Eclipse Spyder as the "attainable exotic." Based on the all-new for 2006 fourth-generation Eclipse coupe, the Spyder is available as the four-cylinder GS or V6 GT, and features a standard premium audio and a power cloth top that tucks away under a flush tonneau in about 19 seconds. It looks great and is pleasant to drive, especially the 260-horsepower V6 GT, but it's also bigger and heavier than before. And, unlike some previous generations, it's front-wheel drive only - there's no available all-wheel drive.

You'll Like This Car If...

This would be a good choice if you want a well-equipped, reasonably priced open-air sportster with look-at-me styling, moderate-to-good performance and token rear seats. Compared to its closest competitors, Ford's reborn Mustang and Toyota's Solara, it's less common than the former and less pricey than the latter.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you want the lithe agility of a Mazda MX-5, Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky, the aggressive dynamics of a Nissan 350Z or the raw performance of a Chevy Corvette (two-seaters all), this is not your ride. It is fun to drive, but it's no true sports car.

What's New for 2007

There are not a lot of affordable 2+2 sport convertibles, and this distinctive drop-top Eclipse arrives just in time to reinforce the positive impression made by its 2006 curvacious coupe stablemate. It provides the recently struggling Japanese maker a one-two image punch that says, "Hey, look at us! We have exciting products today and there's more to come."

Driving the Eclipse
Driving Impressions

At nearly 3,500-pounds base curb weight - more with the V6 engine and a load of options - the Eclipse Spyder is no lightweight, ultra-agile sports car. That said, it...

... looks terrific top-up or down and can be great fun to drive on twisty two-lanes, especially the V6-powered GT with its available Premium Sport Package, which includes 18-inch performance tires. On-road handling is good, steering crisp and braking strong, but accelerating hard out of a tight turn or from a stop is asking a bit much of the front-drive layout and therefore results in noticeable torque steer. Despite that, 60 miles per hour from rest comes up in a respectable seven seconds. The attractive interior is ergonomically excellent, and the seats are first-rate. But be careful: the low, thick-pillared convertible top leaves substantial blind spots to the rear quarters.

Power cloth soft top
The multi-layer fabric top, with its polyester/cotton interior headliner and heated glass rear window, provides a surprisingly quiet cabin when it's up, and a new hydraulic system, quieter than the previous model's electric motors, folds it completely out of sight under a flush-fitting power tonneau in about 19 seconds.

Rockford Fosgate Premium Audio
This surprisingly standard high-end system pumps 650 watts of peak power through nine speakers, including an eight-inch, long-throw subwoofer in a designed-in, fiberglass-reinforced, acoustic-suspension enclosure between the rear seats. It includes a six-disc CD changer with MP3 playback capability, plus unique automatic sound equalization for top-up or top-down driving, custom music genre and sound field settings and an industry-first memory that stores DSP settings in six presets.

2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Details
2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse photo Interior

The "wave form" instrument panel houses easy-to-reach controls and motorcycle-inspired gauges lit at night by ice-blue LEDs. The high-back, adjustable-lumbar-support "race-inspired" bucket seats have open headrests for enhanced rear visibility, and the faux leather-covered four-spoke tilt steering wheel has remote buttons for the standard Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Compared to the previous Eclipse, interior room has increased in every dimension, and the legroom-challenged rear seats (really, for kids only) have three-point belts and anchor points for child restraints. The center console offers storage pockets, large covered cupholders, a covered storage box big enough for CD cases and a pair of 12-volt power outlets.

Exterior
2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse photo

Compared to the previous-generation Eclipse, this new one is wider, taller and three inches longer on a wider track and a half-inch longer wheelbase; yet its curvaceous body, muscular shape and crouching-tiger presence make it look somewhat smaller than it is. With jet nacelle-inspired grilles, an aero-wedge profile, tightly stretched skin and a laid-back windshield, it makes a bold statement. Despite the inclusion of rear seats, the car comes off visually as a two-seater with a low, tight-fitting "speedster" top.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The four-cylinder base GS is well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, power cloth soft top with powered tonneau cover, theft-discouraging engine immobilizer and a noteworthy 650-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Standard safety features include dual-stage front airbags with front-passenger occupant sensors, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). The GT adds the V6 engine, electronic traction control, an outside temperature and compass display and larger ventilated rear disc brakes in place of the GS model's solid rear discs.

Optional Equipment

An optional Leather Package available on the GS includes leather seating surfaces, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats and an outside temperature and compass display. A Premium Sport Package for the GT adds all that plus 235/45 R18 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, aluminum pedals, automatic climate control system, eight-way driver's seat and a removable wind deflector.

Under the Hood

The standard GS 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates decent performance, at least partially due to its patented Mitsubishi Innovative Variable timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) system, which varies intake valve timing to enhance both low-end torque and high-rpm power. The GT's 3.8-liter V6, which also benefits from MIVEC, offers 98 additional horses (three fewer than in the Eclipse coupe due to a different exhaust system) to much better motivate the convertible's considerable mass. Both available automatics feature Sportronic shifting for manual control of gear changes when desired.

2.4-liter in-line 4
162 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 (manual), 22/28 (automatic)

3.8-liter V6
260 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 (manual), 18/26 (automatic)

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