The current version of Mitsubishi's Eclipse sports coupe made its debut in 2006; for 2007, a convertible-the Eclipse Spyder-re-joins the lineup. Like the coupe, the Spyder comes in two trim levels: 4-cylinder GS and 6-cylinder GT. Features include a power-operated hard tonneau cover, a multi-layer top, and a glass rear window. The coupe remains largely unchanged.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse first stormed onto the scene in 1989. With its optional turbocharged engine and all-wheel-drive layout, the Eclipse-along with its nearly identical twins, the Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser-quickly made a name for itself among sport-compact performance fanatics. When the second-generation Eclipse appeared in 1995, the lineup included a convertible, which has since become a fixture in the Eclipse lineup. Fast-forward 11 years, and Mitsubishi introduced the fourth-generation Eclipse in 2006, with the convertible re-joining the lineup as the Eclipse Spyder.
The days of turbochargers and all-wheel drive, however, are gone; currently, the Eclipse employs front-wheel drive and offers a choice of normally-aspirated 4- or 6-cylinder power. The former is a 162-hp 2.4-liter engine; the latter is a 3.8-liter engine good for 260 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines offer a choice of transmissions-manual (5 speeds for the 4 cylinder, 6 speeds for the V-6) or automatic (4 speeds for the 4 cylinder, 5 speeds for the V-6).
While the industry is trending toward hard-top convertibles, the new Eclipse Spyder retains the tried-and-true soft-top format, using a multi-layer power-operated top with extra insulation for a quieter ride when the top is up. A hard plastic tonneau cover, which operates as part of the power top mechanism, conceals the top when lowered, giving the Eclipse Spyder a clean look. Both coupe and convertible models feature seat-mounted side air bags and anti-lock brakes, and the coupe has roof-mounted side curtain air bags for the front occupants. Electronic stability control is not available on the Eclipse. However, Mitsubishi plans to add the safety feature in 2008.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse competes in the Midsize Sporty segment, which consists of five models. Buyers in this segment look for exterior styling, performance, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Ford Mustang (166,530 units sold), Toyota Camry Solara (50,815), and Chevrolet Monte Carlo (34,113). The Mitsubishi Eclipse sold 33,003 units in 2006, an increase of 34.8 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Midsize Sporty segment include the Mazda RX-8.
|GS||5 speed manual||$19,999||162-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||23/30|
|SE||5 speed manual||$22,399||162-hp / 2.4L 4-cyl||23/30|
|GT||6 speed manual||$23,399||263-hp / 3.8L 6-cyl||18/27|