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TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the coupe and Spyder variants of the Mitsubishi Eclipse in order to give you an expert opinion here in this Bottom Line. TheCarConnection.com has also researched road tests on the Eclipse to produce this conclusive review and to help you get the most information about how it compares to rivals.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse isn’t the nimblest two-door on the planet, but the V-6 versions and the Spyder convertible are engaging to drive.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse receives restyled front and rear bumper fascias. GT models also gain a new large rear spoiler, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, and a new dual-exhaust system boosting horsepower from 263 to 265.
The Eclipse is less distinctive than the Ford Mustang and not as pretty as the well-balanced Honda Accord Coupe—its styling is a busy mix of straight lines and morphed, melted curves. Inside, the plain-faced dash is made with good-quality materials that are fitted together well. The front seats are supportive, but the interior is intimate and many drivers might find headroom tight in the coupe; the rear seats are uncomfortable for adults.
A 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 162 horsepower powers the Eclipse GS model, while the sporty GT packs a 265-hp, 3.8-liter V-6. The SE is available with 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. The convertible Eclipse Spyder is available in similar GS and GT versions. Fuel economy ranges from 20 mpg city, 28 highway with the four-cylinder coupe to 16/25 mpg with the V-6, automatic-equipped Spyder.
Because the Eclipse is a big, heavy two-door, the four-cylinder works hard to keep up, while the V-6 is a big, torquey engine that isn't eager to rev, but it doesn't need to. Since it's based on the Galant sedan, the front-drive Mitsubishi Eclipse doesn't have the lightest, most entertaining steering or braking, and that's what keeps it from greatness. The ride quality is good, however, and Mitsubishi's manual transmission shifts cleanly.
Stability control is an option on some Eclipse models, but it does offer standard anti-lock disc brakes, as well as side impact and side-curtain airbags (except on the Spyder). The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse hasn't been crash-tested by the government, but it gets top "good" ratings for frontal and side impact.
The Rockford-Fosgate 650-watt audio system is part of the optional Sun & Sound Package available for the GS and GT models. A six-month pre-paid subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio comes standard with the package. Heated leather seats, side-view windows, and automatic climate control also are available options.