2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
May 12, 2008

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse is far from the most nimble two-door on the planet, but the V-6 versions and the Spyder convertible are engaging to drive.

The sportscar enthusiasts at TheCarConnection.com studied road tests of the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse to compile this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com’s resident experts also drove the Mitsubishi Eclipse and have included opinions, driving impressions, and details where they help you to make a better car-buying decision.

Though the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse doesn't have the sharpest reflexes or handling, it offers an appealing mix of style, and with the V-6 engine, excellent power, and straight-line performance.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe returns for the 2008 model year with base GS and V-6 GT versions, and a new SE version. The GS continues to be powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 162 horsepower while the sporty GT packs a 263-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6. The SE gets either engine. The four-cylinder cars offer a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, while the V-6 coupes come with a choice of a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.

There’s also the convertible 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, available in similar GS and GT versions. Fuel economy ranges from 20/28 mpg with the four-cylinder coupe to 16/25 mpg with the V-6, automatic-equipped Spyder.

Review continues below

The Mitsubishi Eclipse range has some strong points in its favor. The big V-6 is a grunty, torquey powerplant and Mitsubishi’s manual transmission shifts cleanly. The four-cylinders will play hard to keep up, though, since the Eclipse is a big, heavy two-door. And that’s also what keeps it from greatness, dynamically--since it’s based on the Galant sedan, the front-drive Mitsubishi Eclipse doesn’t have the lightest, most entertaining steering or braking. The ride quality is good, however.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse’s styling is a busy mix of straight lines and morphed, melted curves. It’s less distinctive than, say, the Ford Mustang, and not as pretty as the well-balanced Honda Accord Coupe. Inside, the plain-faced dash is made with good-quality materials and it’s fitted together well. The front seats are supportive; the rear seats are uncomfortable for adults.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse hasn’t been crash-tested by the government, but it does offer standard anti-lock disc brakes, as well as side impact and side-curtain airbags (except on the Spyder). Stability control is an option on some models.

A premium 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system (with a huge eight-inch rear subwoofer) is standard on the convertible Spyder. Sirius satellite radio is an option this year on all Eclipses; heated leather seats and side-view windows and automatic climate control also are available.

7

2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Styling

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers hardtop and convertible options that turn heads with their sleek styling.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse draws good reviews on styling as well as look and feel as it cruises past on any back road or the highway.

While the 2008 Eclipse sports the same body style created in 2004, Cars.com notes, "the look is what turns you on." Edmunds.com agrees, saying that the Eclipse GT "does merit more serious consideration" when looking for a vehicle that will turn heads.

Leading the way in style for the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse is the Spyder convertible. While most convertible versions of cars are manufactured from the hardtop version, Popular Mechanics notes that the "open-top version was engineered to be topless from inception." This lends to a more normal look when the Spyder rolls back the cloth top for quick cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Motor Trend remarks that the 2008 Eclipse's "spaceship styling has aged well," and Road and Track goes on to say that the stylized elements of the Eclipse "add flair in a market in which flair sells." Overall, reviews gathered by TheCarConnection.com agree that the curvy style and powerful look make the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse reminiscent of muscle cars of the past.

To Motor Trend, the front end looks like a "gaping maw" but is "offset by fluid curves." This curvy fluidity lends a sexiness to the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse that is lacking in some of the other front-wheel-drive coupes.

Finally, the interior envelops the driver as if in a womb when driving the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse. While the backseat is a little cramped, Motor Trend reports "the roof, dash, and door panels seem shrink-wrapped around you"--perhaps it's not for the claustrophobic.


7

2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Performance

If you are looking for a car that looks and sounds sexy and powerful, the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse might be right for you; if you want true sportscar handling, you may want to check out the competition.

Reviewers agree that the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a throaty, sexy-sounding engine that provides the power but also say the handling isn't always up to it.

Cars.com reports that "the Eclipse is front-heavy and understeer is prevalent, even when off the throttle" while Popular Mechanics declares the 2008 Mitsubishi "to be twist-free and solid, with no excessive cowl shake."

With the Eclipse, Mitsubishi offers a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 162 hp when teamed with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. It also offers a 3.8-liter V-6 that produces 263 hp with a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic.

The V-6 engine, according to Motor Trend, clocks a "0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds," and Car and Driver rated the Mitsubishi Eclipse the seventh quickest car in 2007.

Jalopnik indicates that the sexy styling and throaty purr of the engine could "seduce you into serious speed." One test driver for Jalopnik "squeezed the gas [entering a curve] and nearly drove the new Mitsubishi Eclipse GT into a parked car."

Overall, the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse has the looks and sounds of a fast performance vehicle, but according to Motor Trend, "as a modern sport coupe, it's not quite there yet."


8

2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse sports enough quality and comfort for the coupe enthusiast who doesn’t plan a large family soon.

Reviewers agree that the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a wraparound, enveloped feeling in the front seat while cramping any passengers that may have to sit in the back.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse's front seats are built to feel more like a cockpit than a car. Road and Track notes "the low-slung driving position makes you feel like you're inside the car, not riding on top," and Cars.com calls out the "deep cutouts in the doors that give front-seat riders extra elbowroom."

Edmunds.com likes the 2008 Mitsubishi and the way it greets "occupants with solid-quality materials, supportive seats and an especially nice optional stereo."

The 2008 Eclipse offers two options packages that incorporate different cosmetic appearances in the interior. Neither package helps much with backseat endurance, however. Road & Track likes the feel of the front seats but points out that "rear-seat head room suffers." Motor Trend criticizes the Mitsubishi Eclipse's greater "wind and road noise, and the body doesn't feel...solid"

Across the board, experts at TheCarConnection.com and elsewhere give Mitsubishi demerits for the small rear seating area, although Cars.com does admit that "the 50/50-split rear seatback folds down for more capacity."

Finally, the Eclipse Spyder convertible offers many of the same comforts as the hardtops. Popular Mechanics adds that "its folding cloth top, which disappears beneath a hard tonneau cover at the touch of a button, helps distance it from" the competition. Overall, the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse rates high for the front passengers and low for the rear passengers.


8

2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Safety

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse contains moderate safety equipment that needs further evaluation once crash and safety test data is released.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a comprehensive safety package standard in all models according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Among the standard safety features on the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse, Cars.com notes the "coupe's six standard airbags include the required frontal-impact airbags and seat-mounted side-impact devices to protect front occupants." Edmunds.com, however, notes the "airbags protect front riders only, and the rear seat lacks head restraints." Popular Mechanics explains further that the Eclipse has "driver Advanced, Front Driver Side Seat mounted, Front Head Curtain air bags."

All of the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse models come standard with anti-lock brakes; the GT model has traction control, and according to Edmunds.com, "the SE-V6 is the only model to come with stability control."

There was no safety data available for the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse from either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The safety rating for this vehicle will be updated by TheCarConnection.com's editors when test results become available.


8

2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Features

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a comprehensive package of features to fit the needs of almost all car enthusiasts minus the addition of auxiliary input for MP3 devices.

Reviewers agreed that the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers an excellent assortment of features that only lack in a couple of areas.

Features available on the 2008 Mitsubishi include cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and a 140-watt, six-speaker CD stereo, which, according to Cars.com, "plays MP3 files on CD-ROM discs." Edmunds.com praises the "unusual details such as door releases shaped like flip phones."

Again, the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse takes the cockpit-style front seating area to the next level. Popular Mechanics reports that the optional "650-watt sound system [is] designed to compensate automatically for driving with the top up or down." However, Cars.com was somewhat surprised that "the car doesn't have an auxiliary input for connecting a portable player like an iPod."

Edmunds.com explains that the Sun and Sound option package includes "satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, outside temperature display and compass"; and Cars.com notes that the Premium Sport Package for the GT coupe offers such luxurious touches as "heated leather front seating surfaces, automatic climate control, heated mirrors, aluminum pedals."

Surprising for a sporty car, the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse shines when it comes to cargo space, offering an enormous 15.7 cubic feet of storage, and according to Edmunds.com, this is even "before folding the backseats."


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January 23, 2017
2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse 3-Door Coupe Automatic GS

Strong engine and transmission. Still looks like a mini 911.

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The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse 3 door Automatic GS is a very reliable car. Its good looks make it a car you want to take care of. It is comfortable and fun to drive. There are no blind spots and this makes you... + More »
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7.6
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Styling 7.0
Performance 7.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 8.0
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