Overview & Reviews
For nearly 20 years, the Mitsubishi Eclipse has been one of America's more popular sport coupes. Reasons for its success include sleek styling, powerful engines, a decent amount of comfort and affordability. As these traits also describe traditional domestic rear-drive sport coupes, the Mitsubishi Eclipse has been called the Japanese version of a pony car. And like those seeming influences, the Eclipse is known more for its straight-line performance than outright cornering prowess. The Eclipse has also always been designed solely for the U.S. market and is a rarity in other parts of the world.
The original Eclipse was the result of a joint venture started in the mid-'80s between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, known as Diamond Star Motors (DSM). For model-year 1990, at a plant in central Illinois, the Diamond Star triplets bowed -- similar versions of the same Mitsubishi-engineered car, including the Eclipse, the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser. With the subsequent demise of the Eagle and Plymouth brands, only the Eclipse remains in production.
In total, there have been four generations of the Eclipse. Measured in terms of all-around performance and design, the latest one is certainly no slouch. But an earlier Eclipse, assuming it has been cared for properly, would make an affordable and enjoyable purchase for the budding sport coupe enthusiast.
Current Mitsubishi Eclipse
Mitsubishi's sport coupe is offered in base GS, GS Sport, the sporty-looking SE and more athletic GT trim levels. All are front-wheel drive and share their basic platform with the Galant sedan. The base level Mitsubishi Eclipse GS is reasonably well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning and full power features along with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 162 horsepower. The GS Sport uses the same drivetrain, but adds many of the GT's styling elements and extra features like heated leather front seats and a power driver seat. The SE essentially gets some special wheels and styling elements. In addition to its burly 265-hp, 3.8-liter V6, the GT has a sport-tuned suspension and larger brakes. Stability control is standard across the entire line.
The GS comes with a five-speed manual, while a four-speed automatic transmission with a sequential-shift Sportronic mode is available as an option. The GS Sport has the automatic as standard. The GT is only available with a five-speed Sportronic automatic.
In reviews, the Mitsubishi Eclipse earned favorable commentary for its powerful V6 engine, comfortable front seating and stylish interior. Noted downsides include a hefty curb weight that dulls handling, sluggish acceleration on four-cylinder models, subpar V6 fuel economy, a large turning radius and mediocre interior construction.
Used Mitsubishi Eclipse Models
The latest generation of the Mitsubishi Eclipse debuted for the 2006 model year. There were initially four trim levels: GS, SE, SE-V6 and GT. Not much changed until 2009, when the SE trims were dropped, stability control was added for the GT (and later became standard for all Eclipses for 2010), and the car received a mild face-lift that included a more aggressive, Lancer Evo-like front fascia. The SE returned for 2012.
A six-speed manual was standard on the GT until 2011, but otherwise, powertrains are the same as the current Eclipse line. The GS Sport arrived for 2010 and for '11, 18-inch alloy wheels became standard for the base GS, the GS Sport received heated leather front seats and a power driver seat. That year saw blacked-out roofs on all Eclipses.
Many consumers shopping for a used Mitsubishi Eclipse will likely encounter the previous, third-generation model, which was sold from 2000-'05. It has a hatchback body style, front-wheel drive and four-cylinder or V6 power. It's smaller and less refined than the generation that succeeded it. The RS and GS trims of this generation were powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 154 hp. The GT had a smooth-revving 205-hp 3.0-liter V6. All could be had with either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.
Although this Eclipse was fairly popular with consumers, it attracted little critical acclaim. In Edmunds.com tests, editors noted that the Eclipse was not as sporting as previous versions and had a low-quality interior. Nor did the car change much during its run, though in 2003 Mitsubishi added a GTS trim that had a slightly more powerful V6 (210 hp) and more standard equipment.
When new, the first- and second-generation Eclipses were considered some of the best affordable sport coupes available. The original debuted in 1990. This Eclipse was also a hatchback, and these early models can be identified by their pop-up headlights. There were four different trim levels, each offering its own mix of powertrains. The top-of-the line model was the desirable Eclipse GSX, which boasted a 195-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. In 1992, minor updates were made, including the addition of fixed headlights.
Compared to the foreshortened, almost stubby first Mitsubishi Eclipse, the second generation (1995-'99) seemed long, sleek and gorgeous. It was a bit bigger than the earlier car but in many ways very similar mechanically. As before, normally aspirated or turbocharged engines were offered, and AWD was available on turbocharged models. The first- and second-generation turbocharged engines were already quite powerful in factory trim, but extensive aftermarket support enabled tuners to boost power output considerably.
With any of these early models, poor resale values translate into very attractive purchase prices. But reliability has never been a strong point for the Eclipse, and finding a well-maintained one (especially a turbocharged model) that hasn't been modified and/or abused is imperative for the smart shopper.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 775.00
2003 Eclipse GT - 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By finfan - December 27 - 10:00 am
This is the second Mitsubishi Eclipse that I have bought in the past five years. This car is very reliable and its looks are great. One thing I do suggest is put some money away for a new stereo because the factory one is terrible. Also the v-6 is great but it is not as fast as the old turbos that were in the older Eclipses. Even with those things being said I still love this car. The new design is great and you will get some looks while driving in it.
The best car ever - 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By pommer820 - December 27 - 10:00 am
It is a awesome car. Not only is it a nice design. But it is also fun to drive. Do not pass up a chance to buy a Mitsubishi Eclipse.
I finally bought one - 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By mb1982 - December 22 - 10:00 am
Great packaging design on the elcipse good city car, plenty of room for two poeple in the front without felling cramped, unlike the previous iteration. Love the manual/automatic trany. Great power and handling. Interior fit and finish are good, however texture of the platics bits should be upgraded for a higher quaity appearance. Also have notice parting line flash on information pod located in the center of the dash. Exterior fit and finsh are good, door and deck lid seems are even, paint quality is good little to no orange peel on the extieor pieces. Not paint variation noted between metal and plastic painted parts (I have a white eclipse).
Follow up from 2011 review / 2014 comments - 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By overboost007 - December 15 - 2:28 am
Ok my 2003 GTS Eclipse V6 currently has 119000 miles. received Duralast Gold brake pads since I purchased it and 2 oil changes Mobile 1 synthentic and thats it. Now the BAD. The Flywheel and clutch went. Replaced them at Don Herring Mitsubishi in Plano Texas Thanks JT. Then the ABS light came on. I'll go to Auto Zone and get the Code and fix it myself. So far the second best used car I have owned next to my old 1999 Honda Accord CPE V6. AGAIN I do not race. The only upgrade is an INJEN Intake system. Hopefully I can trade it in next year for a 2011 Dodge Charger or challenger. But my 2003 MITS GTS is one of the best reliable used cars you can buy hands down.
Ready to go - 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By 159,000 - December 14 - 2:10 pm
I have had my car for almost two years. I have had to replace the catalytic converter, some gaskets and right now I have to replace the solenoid switch. I still love my car.
best car ever made - 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By lop - December 8 - 4:50 am
the nice handling and the beautiful pur this engine makes, makes it all that much better
Sleek, Fun & Fast - 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By JC Frenzy - December 4 - 12:03 pm
Overall, the Eclipse is a nice sports car with some punch. I have the V6 GT SE, so mine has a few more bells & whistles than most. It's a fun ride, not great in the snow, but not a death trap either. I threw an intake on it to give it a bit more oomph and a nice engine sound. With a few mods this will be a beast. Stock, it's definitely a solid buy.
Excellent, Fun Car-Short & Long Distance - 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By Stacy Wiley - November 16 - 4:53 pm
I purchased this car brand new off the lot in 2006. I have been driving it for two years now and would not give it up for the world. I love the comfort, sportiness, and sexiness it gives me on the road. The power is excellent for a four cylinder, although I do notice a sluggish start when running the A/C on high from a dead stop. Long distance drives have not left me with the "numb butt" feeling. That was a plus. I average about 28-30 mpg in town, if driving casually. If I romp on it, I can almost see my gas gauge move! Driver tendencies depend on gas mileage. I love the interior, although the driver side door could have an elbow rest a little higher. Absolutely great car!
Keep Looking - 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By Vasser - October 19 - 10:43 am
Initially, this car was kind of fun. Bought it in the summer, opened the sunroof, and off I went. Now, it is just annoying. Not much pick up from this V6. Clumsy handling. The craftsmanship on my particular car has been poor. Lots of rattles, little plasticky pieces breaking, and many general annoyances. I should have done my homework before buying. I hope you do.
Nice Sporty Car For The Money - 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse
By Jessica - October 17 - 2:40 pm
This is my first new car purchase and so far I'm really loving this car. The exterior styling is gorgeous and the interior is in two words "simple elegance," not too overly done but eye catching none the less. The front seats are very comfy but the back seat is small with no leg room, but that doesn't bother me since I don't sit back there! :) It's got a peppy engine for a 4-cyl. but does get a little sluggish with the A/C on in my opinion. It takes turns like nothing and the the brakes are also wonderful, It it the best vehicle I've ever experienced. The Rockford Fosgate sterio is killer, a MUST have. All around I adore this car and it's a huge step up from my '01 Grand Am. Buy one, youu'll love it!