By KBB.com Editors
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe, now entering its third year of production, continues to see 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 263 horsepower. If you can live without a hatchback and the higher performance, the Chevrolet Cobalt Sport, Honda Civic Si and Ford Mustang V6 might also be worth a look.
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.
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 dream. And, the rear-seat headroom is very limited.
A limited production SE version, available on both the GS and GT trim levels, features custom graphics, an aerodynamic body kit, 18-inch wheels, Active Stability Control (V6 only) and a firmer suspension. All Eclipse coupes now feature a tire-pressure monitoring system as standard equipment.
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.
Rockford Fosgate Audio
Available in the Sun and 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.
As has been the case in past Eclipse designs, the interior of the current coupe delivers on the promises made by its sporty exterior. An abundance of glass coupled with more interior space goes a long way to alleviating feelings of claustrophobia. Still, the curved dash is designed with such a slant that it almost seems to give off a sensation of movement. Interior fit and finish is tight, and there is hardly a trace of cheap plastic. The well-bolstered sport bucket front seats work well for enthusiastic driving, but are still comfy enough for long road trips. The side airbag on the passenger's seat has a weight sensor that prevents the bag from deploying when the seat is occupied by a child.Exterior
The fourth-generation Eclipse could be characterized as more "muscular" than its previous incarnations, with little-to-no defining breaks interrupting the surfaces flowing between fenders and integrated bumpers. The headlights seem to wear shades -- each has a blue-tinted "monocle" lens extending out before it -- and the lights benefit from a multi-parabola design, which maximizes the bulbs' projections. The rear lamps look clear, but shine red with the use of LED technology. The large rear hatch opens to allow easy placement of large items, an uncommon benefit not offered by many coupes.
The Eclipse's standard equipment includes a 162-horsepower four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, 17-inch five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with all-season tires, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, cruise control, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, tire-pressure monitoring system, tilt steering wheel and keyless entry. Both the GS and GT models have well-bolstered sport seats, with the driver's side having six-way adjustment and adjustable lumbar support. Standard safety gear on all models includes driver's and front passenger's front airbags, with a passenger-side occupant-sensing system and seat-belt pretensioners, and front-seat side and side-curtain airbags. The GT adds a 263-horsepower V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, integrated fog lamps, larger rear brakes and traction control.
One of the Eclipse's most notable options is the 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system featuring nine speakers and a 10-inch long-throw subwoofer. It accommodates six CDs or MP3 discs in its in-dash changer. Other options of note are arranged in packages. The Sun & Sound Package includes power sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, center display with outside temperature and compass and the Rockford Fosgate stereo. The GT Premium Sport Package has everything the Sun & Sound Package offers plus heated leather seats, a power driver's seat and automatic climate control.
Both Eclipse engines feature Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Electronic Control (MIVEC), which spreads the output over a wider engine speed range and optimizes power, emissions and fuel economy. The more desirable of the two engines, particularly for performance, is definitely the V6, although the tradeoff for the additional power is an expected reduction in fuel economy. With either engine, the automatic transmission has the Sportronic feature, which allows the driver to shift manually by moving the shift lever into the sports-mode gate.
2.4-liter four cylinder
162 horsepower at 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 20/26 (automatic)
263 horsepower at 5750 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (manual), 17/25 (automatic)
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
By Susan on Monday, April 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, looked great new, fun"
Cons: "Paint peeling off - not getting too much response"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Have the 2006 Sunset Pearlescent. I have garage kept this car and not driven it for 5-6 months of every year - summer car. The entire car is fading and peeling, clear coat is peeling off and it's just a mess. I'm embarrassed to drive it. Contacted the dealer, they took pictures to send to Mitsubishi a few weeks ago and no word from anybody. Googled the car and found many people with the same problem. They also had a major problem with black paint and did issue a recall on that. It's just horrible."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful