New & Used Eagle Talon: In Depth
1997 Eagle Talon ESiEnlarge Photo
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The Eagle Talon is a two-door sports coupe sold from the 1990 through 1998 model years. The Talon was nearly identical to the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Plymouth Laser, but was sold at Jeep-Eagle dealerships.
If you find an Eagle Talon at all at a used-car dealership (they're becoming quite rare), it's likely to be one from the second generation (1995-1998). Talon ESi models were powered by a 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, hooked up to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Talon TSi and TSi AWD models instead packed a 210-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Throughout the lineup you got a well-tuned double-wishbone front suspension suspension and multi-link rear setup.
But there was quite the range up to fully optioned TSi models and their much better interior appointments and leather upholstery. 1997 brought some feature and appearance changes to the Eagle lineup, but not everyone was a fan of the more flamboyant (read: cheesy) look for the Talon—including its larger rear wing.
While these models were responsive from enthusiast-driver standpoint, with relatively high performance limits compared to other cars of that era, they were known to be a handful when driven near those limits—primarily because of their extreme torque steer (the tendency of the steering wheel to pull to the side under strong acceleration).
Ride comfort is only so-so, and cabins tend to be quite noisy. Headroom is tight in this car, too, so you might want to go for a version without the sunroof; unfortunately most TSis came with them.
First-generation Talon models were powered by either a 135-hp, 2.0-liter in-line four or an earlier version of the same turbocharged engine that made 195 horsepower with all-wheel drive, 190 hp with front-wheel drive, and 180 hp with the four-speed automatic. The Talon TSi was one of the quickest affordable sports cars of its time, with 0-60 mph times of around 6.5 seconds.
1990 and 1991 Talons have pop-up headlight units, while from 1992 on they included a flush, fixed design that was then considered more modern. For the 1993 and 1994 model years there was a 'value' version of the Talon, the DL, which included a 92-hp, 1.8-liter.
As with its sibling Plymouth Laser and Mitsubishi Eclipse, turbocharged Eagle Talons didn't hold up well and are infamous for their often spectacular overheats if not properly maintained. On the other hand, base models could feel merely like somewhat dressed up economy cars and weren't much faster than the Corollas and Civics of the time.