2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse

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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 16, 2009

Buying tip

The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse is best savored in Spyder form. The V-6 engine and the clean, loud Rockford Fosgate audio system add to the experience.

features & specs

2-Door Spyder Automatic GS
2-Door Spyder Automatic GT
2-Door Spyder Manual GS
19 city / 26 hwy
16 city / 24 hwy
19 city / 26 hwy

Though the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse doesn't have the sharpest reflexes or handling, it offers an appealing mix of style and with the V-6 engine, excellent straight-line performance.

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.

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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.


2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse


The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse draws good reviews on styling, as well as look and feel, as it cruises past on any back road or the highway.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse offers hardtop and convertible options that turn heads with their sleek styling. 2009 Eclipses receive restyled front and rear bumper fascias. GT models also gain a new large rear spoiler. New colors include Maizen Blue Pearl, Quick Silver Metallic, and Solar. Models with the standard cloth interior feature upgraded fabrics.

Overall, reviews gathered by TheCarConnection.com agree that the curvy style and powerful look of the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse recall muscle cars of the past. Motor Trend remarks that the 2009 Eclipse's "spaceship styling has aged well," while Road & Track says that the stylized elements of the Eclipse "add flair in a market in which flair sells." Though the 2009 Eclipse sports the same body style created in 2004, Cars.com notes, "the look is what turns you on." Edmunds.com agrees, remarking that the Eclipse GT "does merit more serious consideration" when looking for a vehicle that will turn heads.

This curvy fluidity lends a sexiness to the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse that is lacking in some of the other front-wheel-drive coupes. To Motor Trend, the front end looks like a "gaping maw" but is "offset by fluid curves." 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.

Review continues below

2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse


Reviewers agree that the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a throaty, sexy-sounding engine with plenty of power, but handling isn't always up to the job.

If you want true sports car handling, you may want to check out the competition, but if you want a car that looks and sounds sexy and powerful, the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse might be right for you.

Overall, the 2009 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." Jalopnik remarks that the sexy styling and throaty purr of the engine could "seduce you into serious speed."

Popular Mechanics declares the 2009 Mitsubishi "to be twist-free and solid, with no excessive cowl shake." Cars.com reports that "the Eclipse is front-heavy and understeer is prevalent, even when off the throttle.” One test driver for Jalopnik "squeezed the gas [entering a curve] and nearly drove the new Mitsubishi Eclipse GT into a parked car."

The 3.8-liter V-6 engine produces 265 hp with a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic. According to Motor Trend, the V-6 clocks a "0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds," and Car and Driver rates the Mitsubishi Eclipse the seventh quickest car in 2007. The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder produces 162 hp when teamed with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

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2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Comfort & Quality

Reviewers agree that the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse has an intimate cabin, with just enough space in front, but beware the tight space in back.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse sports enough quality and comfort for the coupe enthusiast who doesn’t plan on starting a large family soon.

Overall, the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse rates acceptable for the front-seat comfort and low for backseat space. Experts at TheCarConnection.com and elsewhere dock Mitsubishi for the small rear seating area, although Cars.com points out that "the 50/50-split rear seatback folds down for more capacity."

While the backseat is a little cramped, the interior envelops the driver as if in a womb when driving the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Motor Trend reports "the roof, dash, and door panels seem shrink-wrapped around you"—perhaps it's not for the claustrophobic.

Road & Track likes the feel of the front seats but points out that "rear-seat head room suffers." The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse's front seats are built to feel more like a cockpit than a car. "The low-slung driving position makes you feel like you're inside the car, not riding on top,” says Road & Track, and Cars.com calls out the "deep cutouts in the doors that give front-seat riders extra elbowroom."

Edmunds likes the 2009 Mitsubishi and the way it greets "occupants with solid-quality materials, supportive seats and an especially nice optional stereo." Motor Trend criticizes the Mitsubishi Eclipse's greater "wind and road noise, and the body doesn't feel...solid"

The Eclipse Spyder convertible offers many of the same comforts as the hardtops. Popular Mechanics says "its folding cloth top, which disappears beneath a hard tonneau cover at the touch of a button, helps distance it from" the competition.

The 2009 Eclipse offers two options packages that incorporate different cosmetic appearances in the interior. However, neither package helps much with backseat endurance.

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2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse


The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers decent protection, but lacks some features expected in a sporty coupe.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse contains moderate safety equipment that needs further evaluation once crash and safety test data are released.

Crash-test data aren't available from the federal government, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests the Eclipse and rates it "good" in frontal and side impact but "marginal" for rear impact—indicating a higher likelihood of whiplash injuries.

All 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse models come standard with anti-lock brakes; the GT model has traction control, and according to Edmunds, "the SE-V6 is the only model to come with stability control."

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, however, says 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."


2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse


The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a good set of features but lacks a few that sporty coupe buyers will probably want.

The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers a comprehensive package of features to fit the needs of almost all car enthusiasts—minus an auxiliary input for MP3 devices.

The Eclipse shines when it comes to cargo space, offering an enormous 15.7 cubic feet of storage, and according to Edmunds, this is even "before folding the backseats."

When it comes to cockpit style and seating area, the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse is a step ahead of the competition. 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 is somewhat surprised that "the car doesn't have an auxiliary input for connecting a portable player like an iPod."

Edmunds praises the "unusual details such as door releases shaped like flip phones." The 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse includes such features as 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"—as opposed to DVD discs.

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." Edmunds 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."

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