By on July 17, 2011

By all accounts, the original Mitsubishi A6M Reisen, also known as “Zeke” or “Zero”, was a pretty decent little warplane. For a year or so, it had the edge on the porky old Brewster Buffalos and Grumman Wildcats operating, which is to say retreating, in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. The Wildcat was replaced by the Hellcat, and by the time the fabulous P-47 Thunderbolt arrived it was game over for the Zero. The “Jug” was virtually indestructible, while the Zero offered virtually no protection to either its pilot or its fuel tanks. It was apparently quite profitable for Thunderbolt pilots to fly head-on at the Zeros and just shoot at them until the Mitsubishi fell out of the sky, its return fire completely ineffective. (P-47 info edited — JB)

Still, the Zero was a decent little plane.

Every Mitsubishi built since then, of every type, shape, variety, and description, has been a complete piece of crap.

Whew! Sorry about that! I was channeling our dear departed founder for a moment. I mean, not every Mitusbishi ever built has been junk. There was the Sapporo, which was, um, junk. And the Starion, but that was junk, too. The 3000GT? Impossible to fix and heavier empty than the aforementioned Mitsubishi Zero or a Corvette carrying the two fattest people from your local Wal-Mart. The DiamondStar cars? My friend Mark Mitias famously christened them “DSM-Disposable Speed Machines”. The Lancer Evolution? Nice to drive, satisfying to use on a racetrack, but made from tin and cardboard.

Maybe every Mitsubishi ever built has been junk. Still, I’m sympathetic towards them, and it makes me sad to see that the webpage for the Eclipse Spyder looks like this:

Look at the people-and-mileage infographic in the upper right-hand corner. You know where you see infographics like that? Right. At the rental-car counter. Where Mitusbishis go, not to die, but to live their lives. That’s where I found my test Eclipse, fetchingly dressed in “Carbon” paint and carrying a sticker price of $26,495 post rebates. Hertz Los Angeles charged me almost $200 to rent it for a day and a half; although I was on a press trip, I had some personal business which required that I slip the PR leash and travel without restriction or oversight. Thus the Eclipse.

First impressions: it isn’t bad-looking in its own way. The chrome spoiler isn’t as offensive as it is on the Infiniti G-Spots and the swell of the hindquarters has a somewhat mesmerizing effect for me. Let’s check it out, top-down in Beverly Hills:

There’s one unintended consequence of the styling and the big cloth top: backing out becomes an exercise in sheer bloody courage. Fruitlessly attempting to manipulate the car around the parking lot next to Kat von D’s “High Voltage Tattoo” studio, I ended up just closing my eyes and doing a full-throttle reverse into the unknown. I had not previously informed my passenger that such a maneuver was forthcoming. They say you never hear the bullet that kills you. After that, I kept the complicated top down at all times for visibility and safety, even in light rain.

In many ways, the Eclipse Spyder is a little time capsule, a look back into What Them Japanese Cars Used To Be Like. Let’s see. Charmless four-cylinder, rough but short on power? Check. Four-speed automatic with somewhat leisurely shift times? Yup. Lowest-bidder plastic interior? Uh-huh.

The sound system, branded “Rockford Fosgate” to reach that critical retired-minitruckers-who-remember-the-Punch-45-amplifier demographic, wasn’t bad, although the subwoofer mounted between the negligible rear seats seemed inadequately protected and quite prone to being poked with pencils, pens, broken bongs, shivs, and the other accoutrements of the modern Mitsubishi buyer, who is primarily identifiable by his sub-600 credit rating and fondness for the music of “Sublime”.

Speaking of, let me tell you what else is a bad idea: driving a convertible top-down through LA with a passenger who is both drunk and fluent in Spanish. I know the language in print but couldn’t keep up with her enough to know what kind of trouble we were getting into. “Hey, (plural form of Spanish word for person who is unnaturally intimate with his mother)!” she yelled at four vatos in a LeSabre. “(Fornicate) (your) (sister, or possibly taco dressing) (with) (a goat, or airplane propeller, or small dog native to certain regions of Mexico).” Time to floor the Eclipse’s too-loud-pedal and get the hell out of there, with a brief visit to the next lane courtesy of some vintage-style throttle-steer.

“I want to see the Hollywood sign!” she then said in perfectly clear English. Cue the terrifying midnight climb up roads no wider than a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, complete with blind corners, huge potholes, and streets that turn out to be driveways or vice versa. At last, the sign appeared in the foggy sky, unaccountably ominous for its proximity and mute familiarity. We stopped at the widest available point in the road and stepped out to take a look.

“Hey, muchacho, you gonna leave the car running like that?” she inquired.

“Who’d steal it?” I replied.

We could close the review right there, really. Of all the cars for sale today, this is definitely one of them. That’s about it. I’m not going to pull a Scott Burgess here. By “pull a Scott Burgess,” I don’t mean “get lapped by Jack Baruth in a Grand Cherokee while I’m driving a Chally 392 on a racetrack,” although that may have happened recently. I mean, “get all weepy-eyed about a less-than-great car just because the top goes down.” If I want to write a nice article about a car that is fundamentally a piece of disposable junk with a very pleasant convertible option, I’ll take the Kaiser’s shilling and fluff the Boxster a little bit. I hear there are more trips to Germany available for those of us who are willing to get our e-knees dirty in that regard.

I cannot recommend the Eclipse Spyder to anyone. There are better choices available for the same money, including the distantly related Chrysler 200 convertible. For the same money, you get a six-speed automatic and a few more refinements. You lose the fabulous ass, but that can be sourced elsewhere. The Mustang convertible costs a bit more but has a far stronger engine and is likely to be worth real money in a few years compared to either the Eclipse or 200. A MINI Cooper convertible is slower but nicer inside and carries a lot more credibility with the fabulous-ass crowd themselves.

The Eclipse nameplate had its moments, back in the early days of the sport-compact battle, but those are long gone. Like its winged ancestor, this Mitsubishi falls short on refinement, power, protection, and capability. It’s not necessarily crap, but it’s very far from being good. I’m afraid that the Eclipse has lost the war.

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110 Comments on “Review: 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS...”


  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Hi Jack, I think here, instead of “P-47 Thunderbird”, you mean not T-bird, but T-bolt, or Thunderbolt. And not “Thud” (sounds liike a horror film tite), but “jug” (so-called because it resembled a glass milk bottle”…)

    In Japan, I’ve been to Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru, and after being at the former, both of the latter two reminded me of what it must have been like to work at AMC and Studebaker in the 1950′s, compared to GM, FMC and CC.

    Good article, and nice juxtaposition of flying and rolling hardware…

    btw, those streets in Beverly Hills, CA, look a lot like the streets in Beverly Hills, MI.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      A misguided attempt at humor on my part, so I could say “fabulous Thunderbird” :) It’s identified correctly in the next section.

      The Wright-Patterson Museum about 80 miles from my house has at least two kick-ass “Thuds” in there. They always make me smile. If you look at a Zero, an Me262, and a Thud, you instantly learn a lot about the countries and cultures which made them.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        To my knowledge the only aircraft nicknamed “Thud” was the F-105 Thunderchief. (Also made by Republic in Farmingdale, NY, where examples of both can be seen at the American Airpower Museum.)

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        It’s OK, I picked-up on the later change (but skipped making the comparison – also forgot to mention that the Thud-moniker really belongs to a descendant of the P-47, the F-105 Thunderchief – one of which, for years (wonder where it went) was monunted on a pylon between the orange-fascia of the A.B.Myr plant in Romulus(?) and I-94.)

        Came several times down to Wright-Pat with my dad as a boy (and once to an overnight with the Scouts – still have my little patch from that one somewhere) … was always big-excitement taking that big looping exit ramp from I-75S toward Dayton … next-stop? The F-82, The Bockscar, The Valkarie and that cool collection of miniatures donated by Boss Ket (and the little animated model of his WWI “cruise missle” concept, The Bug.)

        This Mitsu from the FF 1/4 looks like it is trying to channel Jag, and from the RR 1/4 an Audi TT … although I was always partial to Mitsu design, I found that I was studying the background of your pics more than the car itself … agree, lousy rear window, and plasticcraptastic interior.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Eliminated the joke that didn’t work and fixed the rest. As a child, I was a thoroughgoing expert on German fighter aircraft but was a little light on the American particulars :)

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        No sweat. I really like your reviews (except the parts about driving stupidly on public roadways in your Phaeton or the like, whether it be you or Richard Parry-Jones, that just ain’t cool). If you a fan of the Schwalbe (Me-262) be, then pick up a copy of Radinger and Schick’s book on the same subject, it is a slender volume, but it’s great.

        Btw, Mitsubishi still does make a great little fighter called the F-2 (it’s a copy of the F-16.)

        And a question for airplane guys (coming up while reading the Wiki entry on the F-2): Why are airframes retired based on hours, rather than g’s, or t/o and landings, or pressure-depressurization cycles??

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Jack, you’re making me feel old, speaking of the Air Force Museum. I know I’m (getting) old when the pilot and RSO mentioned on the plaque describing the SR-71 Blackbird were officers I worked with and directly supported! A long, long time ago!

        EDIT: @Robert.Walker: As to your question on retiring airframes, all of what you said. A combination of heat/cold stress, stress of maneuvering, impact of landings, et al.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Something else for Mr. Baruth on the topic of things named Mitsubishi, Thunderbolt, and Jack.

        From Wiki: “The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (雷電, “Thunderbolt”) was a single-engined land-based fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in World War II. The Allied reporting name was “Jack”.”

        No lie!!

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “Jug” was also short for “Juggernaut” which is how pilots and ground crew regarded this plane.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Jug” was also short for “Juggernaut”

        I’ve seen that floating around the internet, but I doubt that it’s true. I recall from reading books about it that it was nicknamed the “Jug” because it vaguely resembled a jug (of liquor). It was noticeably larger than the other single-prop fighters of its day.

  • avatar
    ihogg

    Yep…for “Thinderbird” read “Thunderbolt”

  • avatar

    Jack, did you choose that photo to highlight the dimpled/wrinkled leather (?) on the steering wheel? Leather (or vinyl for the matter) isn’t always the easiest material to work with and it can stretch and pucker but how many QC checks did that wheel pass before it got installed in the car?

  • avatar
    stuki

    Nice review. I once rented this car as well, and shortly thereafter a Mustang convertible. I honestly cannot imagine anyone going through that exercise disagreeing that spending the extra few dollars for the ‘Stang isn’t worth it.

    BTW, since Sublime was one of the absolute greatest bands ever, it’s a shame if this thing is to be known as the official car of their fan base. That would be the Wrong Way.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I know that this isn’t The Truth About WWII Fighter Aircraft, but I would say that the greatest threat to the health of Zero pilots came from Corsairs, P-38′s, Hellcats and, eventually, the P-51.

    The P-47 was designed a long-range fighter escort that eventually saw its highest and best use as a ground attack/ fighter in the European theater. It was big and heavy, so it could take a beating, and its strengths as a fighter were at altitudes above what were typical for dogfights in the Pacific.

    Of course, you’re probably right about Mitsubishi having built their best stuff in the early 40s. And with a friend like yours in the car, you were more likely to be shot at in your Hertz rental than you would have been had you been in a Zeke.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      My former neighbor, John “Shabby” Reid, flew Jugs in the Pacific Theater … he and his fellow P-47 and P-51 (which he said came much later and were more rare than the Jug there) jocks liked to try to undertake flying drag races to prove the superiority of their mounts…(Unfortunately, the video he gave me from his gun camera was only from his time as a USAFR pilot in Korea flying F-86′s) (PCH, so glad to see you back here with your insightful and diverse commentaries… I also think the fact that we are discussing planes here rather confirms Jack’s hypothesis that the Mitsu ragtop is a rather forgettable car.)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I also think the fact that we are discussing planes here rather confirms Jack’s hypothesis that the Mitsu ragtop is a rather forgettable car.

        Did someone mention a car?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Here is the “Truth about WWII” fighter planes. The P-47D did see service in the Pacific theater in limited numbers. First as the aircraft of the 348th fighter group led by Col Neel Kearby in the Southwest Pacific in 1943, where they fought the Japanese in New Guinea, mostly encountering Japanese army aircraft rather than navy (the Zero was a navy fighter). Kearby had 22 kills to his credit and was killed in battle against an army Ki-43 “Oscar”, a plane that was most often mistaken for a Zero.

      The last version of the Thunderbolt, the P-47N was designed as an escort fighter (with extra fuel capacity) for the B-29 Superfortress bombers flying raids to Japan and like in Europe joined the P-51 as an air force escort fighter. During these raids it faced both army and navy fighter opposition (the army and navy each shared in the defense of the home islands) and acquitted itself quite well. The last American pilot to become an ace in WWII did so in a P-47N in a battle against late model Ki-84′s (a very good Japanese fighter that was only produced in limited numbers) by shooting down five of them. The P-47 was better known for it’s service in the European theater where as Wikipedia says “Thunderbolts flew more sorties (423,435) than P-51s, P-38s and P-40s combined. Indeed, it was the P-47 which broke the back of the Luftwaffe in the critical period of January-May 1944.”

      The real end of the Zero’s dominance came from two American planes. You have to remember that the US Army Air Force and Navy used different aircraft. For the Navy it was the introduction of the Grumman F6F Hellcat. For the Army it was the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which did well against the Zeros, however it was more likely to see combat against army aircraft like the P-47 did. The F4U was an outstanding airplane but it was used in limited role at first and by the time it entered widespread use (on US and British carriers) the Japanese naval air force was no longer potent.

      Jack is right about the cultural aspects of these aircraft. ALL American aircraft were built tough and could take a lot of punishment. The P-47 was best known for this but there are plenty of accounts of F6F’s and F4U’s surviving great damage to bring their pilots home.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        The american planes were built to very high durability standards. What’s not readily apparent is these planes also suffered from this.

        Two notable examples:
        a) somebody realized that the interiors of the B-17′s were being painted to prevent corrosion, corrosion that would never occur during the serviceable lifetime (or before it would be destroyed in or due to combat) of the plane. So they stopped the interior painting, saved a couple hundred pounds of paint and the plane became faste (later, after air superiority was achieved, the US stopped painting the exteriors of their plnes too), and
        b) the P-51 (437 mph, 1,650 mi range w/tanks), brilliant as it was, was a little slow in roll-rate compared to the Spitfire (378 mph, 410 mi). NAA designer Edgar Schmued and team went to England and made a downtown analysis of the Spit’, including weighing each of the components (something the brits had never considered doing). This info was combined with the knowledge that british planes were designed to wing-loading specifications that favored lightness and maneouverability, that the basic Mustang platform was overly robust, making it more costly and slower than necessary, and the desire to make a better Mustang.. On this basis, Schmued et al. made a “Lightweight Mustang” proposal which found expression and life in the “just a bit too late for WW2″ P-51H (487 mph, 1,160 mi) and it’s later sibling, the magical and rare P-82 Twin Mustang (482 mph, 2,350 mi) the first plane to score a kill in the Korean War, downing a Mig.)

        Re. the late version of the Jug, the P-47N (433 mph, 2,000 mi) was Republic Aircraft’s answer to the Lightweight Mustang which addressed its own roll-rate and restricted operating range problems by nter alia adding a new wing.

        Oh, and to bring the whole shebang full circle, and back to something Mitsubishi-ralated: The basic layout which later served so well as the Jug, was the Republic P-43 “Lancer” (a name later applied by Mitsu to a family car.)

  • avatar
    Piste

    I don’t always like your articles Jack, but this one was great. Nice job.

  • avatar
    moorewr

    My dad was ground crew with VMF-222 at Guadalcanal and up the Solomons. If he was still alive he’d want a word with you about the mighty Chance-Vought F4U Corsair, made famous by Pappy Boyington, who flew for VMF-222 & 214.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair

  • avatar

    The Americans early on recognized that the most expensive and hard to replace component of a fighter aircraft is the pilot and crew. American planes like the P-47, the B-17, the F-4 Phantom, and today’s A-10 Thunderbolt “Warthog” (a worthy inheritor of the Thunderbolt name) have been able to take a lot of damage and still return home. Google “Killer Chick a-10″ (Kim Campbell). An Israeli pilot on a training mission in a F-15 had a mid-air collision with another plane. He couldn’t see all the damage because of the spraying fuel, but he managed to return to base, only to discover that he was flying, literally, on one wing.

    Video here (don’t read the comments, the haters will hurt your brain). Story and photo of the plane on the ground here.

    As I understand it, in the Pacific theater, the US would rotate seasoned fighter pilots back to the States after 6 months or so of combat, to help train new pilots on the latest techniques.

    I think that ultimately the loss of over 400 aviators when the US sunk the Japanese carriers at the battle of Midway was a blow from which the Japanese could not recover. It took two years to train naval aviators. That’s why kamikazes were such a act of desperation.

    The Israel Air Force doesn’t promote pilots out of the cockpit, they have some pretty high ranking officers that still fly.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Pilots, roger that. Nazi’s were losing so many pilots to broken femurs, with not enough replacements, that they pioneered the Interfemeral Rod, that allowed pilots with a femur break to get back in the air weeks sooner …

      Except for the two engines, the A-10 has an almost spot-on layout of the He-162 Volksjäger.

      Re. the Japanese defeat, the limited industrial base, and the decreasing access to raw materials was more the limiting factor in the decline of the Imperial Navy’s ability to wage war in the air. In their case, it would seem easier to train new pilots faster, than it would be to replace the lost flattops from which they would fly.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m not a big WWII buff but I think events like the Marianas Turkey Shoot were the result of the Americans having better and better skilled pilots and the Japanese having more poorly trained pilots as the war dragged on. Superior armored aircraft made by an unhampered industrial base not getting bombed night and day didn’t hurt. Obviously, no one thing won the war for the US or lost the war for Japan. Wars are usually won by the side that makes fewer mistakes. The Japanese, whether or not Yamamoto really said something about waking a sleeping giant and not being able to sustain a war against the US for more than 6 months, indeed had a limited window of opportunity.

        As I pointed out in my Arsenal of Democracy series, the Axis powers, the Germans in particular, badly underestimated the capacity of the US industrial base to shift to full scale war production. It was a remarkably stupid decision for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor and even more stupid for Hitler to declare war on the US. In the spring of 1941 the US was not yet in the war but had begun to supply Britain and the Soviets under lend lease. Pearl Harbor was more than a half year away and all three of the big American car companies already announced to consumers that they could forget about new 1943 models, that they were already doing so much defense work that they barely had the engineering and other capacity to get the ’42s ready.

        Surely spies for Germany and Japan could see the big tank plant Chrysler was building in Warren, Michigan. It’s not like all that defense work was a secret.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        That’s something I didn’t know. I had a Grosse-Kempf femur nail done in 1988 to put the three free-floating pieces of my right femur back together after a cycling accident. THANK YOU NAZIS

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      The Americans early on recognized that the most expensive and hard to replace component of a fighter aircraft is the pilot and crew.

      +1.

      The same applies to modern main battle tanks today; crew protection is a major part of design.

    • 0 avatar
      Flybrian

      Don’t forget the B-52. Check out in-flight footage of those big bastards cruising home with 60% of their vertical tail sections blown off.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        A friend of mine who piloted a “BUFF” – slang for a B-52 – “big ugly fat f(ellow)” over Hanoi tells of eating an apple, just cruising along while carpet-bombing the areas they were allowed to hit, targeted by our SR-71′s flying recon missions out of Okinawa, then after the bombing, my outfit would fly another mission to photograph the damage.

        The fact of the matter was, ironically, that if you were in the military at that time and weren’t getting shot at, you had the time of your life.

        Wait – this is about cars – O.K. then – during my two trips to Okinawa in the early 1970′s, I saw cars I never knew existed – large, three-wheel Isuzu truks and little three-wheel Mazdas, I believe. All sorts of stuff, including the Datsun Bluebird a guy in my outfit had, but the best was a tiny pickup truck one of our houseboys owned that was so tiny, I couldn’t sit in the thing without eating my knees! He, we just laughed!

        The absolute funniest thing was guys would bring their high-perfomance Road Runners, Chargers, Judges, ‘Vettes, Camaro & Malibu 396 SS’s over there and the top speed on the entire island was 30 mph! Lots of 1st and 2nd gear cruising with CalTex gas at 12¢ per litre!

  • avatar
    detlump

    Nice review Jack. I had heard that the Eclipse was going out of production, or may have already. The first generation was pretty nice, even the base model with a 5 speed at least was somewhat nimble in daily driving. I worked as a car porter at a Mitsu dealer while in college, so I got to drive new Eclipses, Diamantes, 3000GTs, Galants, the whole lineup. I liked who the Diamante looked like a BMW and there was even a wagon version, they were made in Australia I believe. The 3000GT was a heavy car, hard to get into but it did look cool. It was more of a GT coupe than a real sports car.

    I think the ship has sailed for Mitsu in general. Kinda sad, but it is a tough business.

    Your review may be the last ever of an Eclipse.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Somebody at Ford must have so liked, (or so not known) the looks of the Gallant so much, they let Helmut Schrader copy it in his design for the Lincoln LS.

      • 0 avatar

        Robert, I think Schrader did a better job. It’s a more tailored look. But then I also think that Camilo Pardo’s Ford GT looks better than the original.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        Where the heck do you find who designed which Ford product?

        I though the LS was one of Jack Telnack’s last designs (the original Focus was officially his last, according to Wikipedia), or perhaps one of J Mays’ first.

        Speaking of J Mays – does anyone know what his first design at Ford was? The final generation of Thunderbird, or maybe the ’02 Explorer?

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Schrader’s and Pardo’s efforts were placed by Ford PR into various industry and buff mags…

        Telnack was heavily pushing the New Edge design as he began to make his exit … I think, in part, to try and overcome the stain on his record for having been behind the Persistence of Memory-esque ovoid design theme that got so out of control and killed the Contour/Mystique, Taurus/Sable in the US and the Scorpio in Europe…

        Whatever May’s first design was, it was either a) Retro, b) Copied from Somewhere else, or c) Rubbish.

  • avatar
    threeer

    That’s ok Jack…I won’t be too offended as the owner of a 2004 Lancer Sportback Ralliart. Sure, it doesn’t have the Evo punch, but I don’t see myself coming and going in the wagon, it handles very well and I can haul both of my corgis in it. I guess I have a soft spot for Mitsu, as my very first car was a 1978 Plymouth Arrow (nee Mitsu Celeste) and loved that little hatch. Too bad so much of what Mitsu sells now is forgettable…

  • avatar
    Birddog

    All I can think of when I see the Eclipse is “Chick’s car”. If it’s orange, “Stripper’s car”.. It’s like the spiritual successor to the (typically White) Lebaron GTC.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      +1 Everyone of these things I’ve seen in the past 5 years that wasn’t a rental had a girl/woman between 16 and 28 behind the wheel. The older they were the more they looked like they had done pole dances to make the payments.

  • avatar

    “…the modern Mitsubishi buyer, who is primarily identifiable by his sub-600 credit rating…”

    This. Some stereotypes are truer than others.

    If you want to be able to poke around dealerships for more reputable makes (like Kia… but not GM) without fear of being an “up,” drive a Mitsubishi. Most salespeople know not to waste their time on someone who can’t get bought on their financing, and you may as well be driving a giant “ROACH” sign.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Mitsu was the harbinger of all that was bad about trying to goose sales by leasing to the sub-prime crowd … this nearly caused the bankruptcy of Mitsu USA … and did cause the firing of their CEO.

      Mitsu was not alone with these early games. Early 1990′s, Ford Credit did similar things with cars, and (IIRC through The Associates) was early and big into sub-prime mortgage lending (thanks IIRC to Edsel II who was Chair of FMCC), this failed so poorly that IIRC, Ford had to put something like 700M USD into The Associates to recapitalize it before spinning it off (ie dumping it).

      I don’t know if I said it elsewhere, but until reading Jack’s review, I thought the Eclipse had gone out of production (talk about keeping a low profile.)

      • 0 avatar

        You’re right Robert, but whereas Ford was able to climb out of the gutter of sci-fi, Mitsu made its name there — and nowhere else — over the past 10 years. It’s a brand that appeals to no one but boy racers and get-me-dones. Nothing but noncompetitive junk for people who would be better served picking from the scraps at Ugly Duckling, et al.

        Today, “Mitsubishi” translates to “I couldn’t get bought on the Honda.” No self-respecting person over the age of 35 should be caught dead in one.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        No self-respecting person over the age of 35 should be caught dead in one.

        Unless it has a rental car barcode in the rear driver’s side window, and I thought all U.S.-market Mitsubishis came from the factory that way.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      I’ve seen enough newer Mitsubishis with smoke trailing out the back to assume that Mitsubishi was Japanese for “burns oil”.

      So far, I lack the evidence to tell if this is because they are sub-prime cars or because they have sub-prime owners.

      On the other hand, it could be a “chicken and egg” problem.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Wow, never knew there was such a seething hatred for Mitsus on this board. While I agree that none of their offerings are standouts I have a number of friends with (stock, not modded within an inch of their lives) Lancers, Eclipses, and Galants that are still very serviceable approaching 200k miles.

      I’ve heard many more horror stories from Hyundai owners and as such I would purchase a Mitsubishi over a Hyundai in most any circumstance. *Ducks to avoid thrown objects*

  • avatar
    stryker1

    There was a time when I really REALLY wanted an eclipse. Then I turned 13, and it passed.

  • avatar

    they still make this thing?

    but seriously, the first generation pejaro/montero 4wd’s were good and i thought the diamante was ok. otherwise, mistsubishi = crap.

  • avatar
    TurboDeezl

    Talk about evolution (or lack thereof), this thing looks virtually unchanged for years…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I got one as a rental back in 2007, drove it about 3 miles and returned to the rental counter to request a different car. Got a Mustang convertible with the reliable but horribly under powered Ford 4.0. Was certainly put together better than the Eclipse.

    At the end of each model year I’m left wondering when Mitsubishi will leave the North American market.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The Zero didn’t actually have an edge on the Grumman Wildcat, at least not when US aviators learned to fight to the Wildcat’s strengths. Aviation writer, John Lundstrom, published a detailed analysis of Zero/Wildcat combat over Guadalcanal and determined that the two aircraft types battled to a statistical draw.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      This is true if you didn’t try to dogfight with the Zero. It was optimized for that. The way to fight it was to make a run at your target fire and then dive away to reform with your squadron mates. The A6M could not follow the heavier American plane in a dive. If you got into a turning/climbing fight with a Zero it would usually be the victor against a Wildcat.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Quite a restraint review considering what an mediocre piece of automotive engineering the Eclipse GS is. It doesn’t get much better with the V6 either – so much torque steer it should uninsurable.

    On the WWII side of the discussion I would trade all the Zeros and p-47s in the world for a Messerschitt BF 109 with up-side-down MB600 series V12 engine.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      P-47′s had a very good record against 109′s, especially at high altitudes because of the T-bolts turbo super charger.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Carguy: If you’re hot for the inverted Daimler, then the experimental P-47H with an inverted experimental Chrysler V-s-i-x-t-e-e-n should make you positively orgasmic!

      The engine was mentioned in a piece by Ronnie, the last survivor is in the Chrysler Museum outside Detroit.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_IV-2220

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I don’t get it. Renault has the Double-Axis strut, Ford has the RevoKnuckle, GM has the HiPer strut, and Totota has the SuperStrut. I can’t possibly understand why a car that’s supposed to be sporty, dosn’t have a strut with a steering knuckle in 2011. I could understand if it was AWD, or the low perf lines…

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    I’ll take the F1/250 in the background to tow it to the junkyard in three years!

  • avatar
    Marko

    I was quite sure that Mitsubishi had stopped making this monstrosity YEARS ago. Guess I was wrong…

    Also, they still make the Endeavor and Galant. HAHAHA! Mitsubishi doesn’t even seem to care that those products are among the most dated and least competitive today…

    But as long as there are:

    1. people with low credit scores who DEMAND a new car NOW
    2. rental car companies

    …there will always be Mitsubishi.

    * OK, the Outlander, Outlander Sport, and Lancer aren’t bad…

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    This car is truly horrible, it would had been the same story 10 years ago also! I won’t even bother writing all the negatives :)

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Doesn’t one of the TTAC editors like the current Lancer?

    I’m guessing Mitsubishi could still do alright outside of the US. I’ve spent time in Taiwan, where they’re one of the top 3 brands along with Toyota and Nissan. Now I’m in New Zealand where there are plenty of Colts. But even here there are signs of trouble. By far the most common Mitsubishi model here is the Legnum, the station wagon version of the previous Galant (the good-looking one, with a hint of shark nose). I don’t see any new ones, so maybe Mitsubishi left this market segment altogether?

    As for WWII fighters, Japan did end up developing new models that were more Supra than Miata, but the successful ones weren’t Mitsubishis. Their own replacement for the Zero (A7M Reppu) would have been very good but an earthquake and then bombing raids basically stopped production before it had started.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    every mitsu crap? what about the original Sigma? Saved Chrysler Australia’s bacon for a while until Chysler got tired and went home. That then became the Magna, a wide bodied version of the Sigma, which took the fight to the locals. It only faltered when they dropped the Magna (TM. TN, TP) for the Diamente (Japanese)Body, back to the narrow gutted versions. This also soldiered on through many iterations until Mitsubishi said “no more” and stopped making cars locally. The crap was the 2.6 Astron 4, leaked oil forever and the original aut trans that collapsed under it’s own pretensions. When they fixed the auto and went to the v6 everything mechanical was ok. It was the lack of change in the body styles that killed the car.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    I would give the MINI Cooper convertable a slight edge over the Eclipse GS convertable in a 1/4 mile drag race. I got to drive a friends Eclipse GS when it first came out and that was one of the slowest cars I have ever driven. I can’t imagine what a couple extra 100 pounds did to the car’s already horrible straight line performance.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “Every Mitsubishi built since then, of every type, shape, variety, and description, has been a complete piece of crap.”

    I dunno about that. My son owns a 2000 Eclipse GT coupe that has been a superb example of reliability and service for him. He bought it used in 2004. He plans on keeping it for awhile yet.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The old DSM Eclipses/Talons seemed to be pretty popular with the tuner crowd, though there were just as many videos posted of them throwing rods or blowing motors in other ways as there were of them accomplishing performance feats. Every time I see or hear the DSM acronym I think of DSL (not the internet service one) and replace ‘lips’ with ‘motors’.

    The 3000GT was the car to have in one of the early Grand Turismo games (can’t remember if it was 1 or 2). It blew away anything else you could get for that price.

    I’ll also stand up to support the Mitsubishi Montero/Pajero. I had a ’02 Montero that was a great car. The interior was well crafted, plenty of space, quiet ride (apart from an intermittent dashboard rattle that could never get tracked down), and I thought it was pretty stylish. Of course, I bought it used so I was able to take advantage of the massive depreciation. I ended up getting rid of it a couple years later because my daily commute was around 90 miles at the time, and it drank premium fuel with wild abandon.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Nullo: I was hawking Toyotas in the early ’90′s and I drove one of the AWD Turbo models against an All Trac Celica Turbo, the DSM felt stronger and seemed to corner better, too.

      IIRC, the DSM was less expensive as you would expect. It was definitely built to a price, but it felt strong and maneuverable. I liked it much better than the All Trac, but I have to imagine the Celica would have held up longer.

  • avatar
    ajla

    At least they finally gave it dual exhaust outlets.

    I also remember liking the 3.8L engine okay.

  • avatar
    spyked

    what’s sad is that mitsu seemingly has no shortage of cash. no rumors of them going out of business. no one buying and selling them. yet poor SAAB, a far superior automaker (with better aircraft roots too!) gets treated like crap. no fair :(

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      This is what is possible when a similarly-named industrial-trading-banking group (the historical mother) with money to spare (or burn) is crossed with a healty dose of nationalism… a little company bankrupted by a heavy-duty quality-safety scandal (so bad that both the japanese consumers and the goverment stopped buying their cars) is recapitalized and kind of reanimated.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      They still sell a lot of cars in other markets.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    it used to be that these cars had the worst visability of anything. That tiny rear window put me off, since i would spend at least half of every year needing it. Now, ya can’t see out of any new cars, this car has become oddly available.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    I remember on one of my first trips to Imperial Auto Auction back in ’08 when I got into the used iron biz watching a lane of 16 off-lease Montero Sports – all ’03-04MYs – blowing smoke of various colors, stalling, bucking into gear, fraught with a christmas tree’s worth of dash lights, etc. Mileage range? 65-110k.

    No used Mitsubishi product we’ve ever stocked has ever been problem-free. And I know every used car has quirks, many consignments dealers rig stuff at the sale, and you just expect some cars to have certain issues, but I’ve never seen a certain make/carline that’s been plagued with such a variety of ailments.

    Plus, they’re just dismal cars on the market. Your characterization of the owner type is spot-on. Typical subprime customer, buried face-deep in a state cap finance term on a near-worthless Mitsu product. You never take these in trade (even if you could) because you know someone who can’t hold a job for more than 8 months doesn’t have the intellect to change a timing belt.

    Copy/paste that for pre-’05 Hyundais, Kias, and pre-’09 Suzukis.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    And on the aviation front, don’t forget the Flying Cigarette, the glorious G4M ‘Betty’ medium bomber and even the modern-era MU-2 corporate twin. I remember from working the fuel line after flight school that, when refueling, if there is more than a 20-30 gallon difference between the two outboard tanks, then the plane can tip over on the ground.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      How does one prevent, or resolve this, simultaneous filling, running the plane’s side-side transfer pump when fuelling?

      • 0 avatar
        Flybrian

        In the case of our one-man flight line operation, park the fuel truck in the middle, place the ladder on one tank, fill 25 gallons, climb down, move ladder to other tank, fill 25 gallons, repeat until top-off.

        Very time-consuming.

  • avatar
    thisoldman

    I beg to differ on the characterization of the DSM vehicles conceived and designed under a Mitsubishi-Chrysler joint venture and assembled in Normal, Illinois as Disposable Speed Machines. If I’d owned a DSM with one of the earlier model 4G63 engines — one of those with the infamous self-destructing timing belts — I would definitely be singing a different tune. Fortunately for me, my all-wheel drive turbo DSM was a 1992 Eclipse GSX with an improved design timing belt. The GSX was by far my favorite of the many, many cars I’ve owned and driven in 40 years behind the wheel. Mine stood up to a heavy right foot, as well as frequent tossing and turning at and beyond the limits of adhesion, for 13 years and 200,000-plus miles, requiring a level of maintenance and repair that was completely completely reasonable considering the amount of abuse I heaped upon it.

    While I’ve owned cars that were able to generate higher longitudinal and lateral G forces, the GSX stands alone as being an absolute delight to drive at 10 tenths (with the exception of the brakes, which despite being discs at all four corners were disappointingly mediocre).

    One sad day, I drove the wheels off my GSX — literally. Year after year of salty New England winters took its toll on the integrity of the understructure. The corroded clamp at the bottom of the left front MacPherson strut gave up the ghost when I came to a sudden stop in my driveway upon arriving home from work one winter evening. Astonishment gave way first to horror and then to relief and overwhelming gratitude to the Almighty when I realized how fortunate I had been that this catastrophic failure had occurred at the conclusion of my commute in the benign environment of my driveway and not in the middle of a high speed curve halfway between work and home.

    Regretfully, I finally had to let my baby go gently into that good night, but whenever I think of her she still brings a smile to my face.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    I drive a 2001 Eclipse Spyder, 5 speed. Aside from the chaffed crank position sensor wire and currently noisy lifters during cold winter days, this car has had only routine maintenance, brakes, tires, belts, shocks, fluids. It still has the original clutch after 157,000 miles and 7 years of daily driving.

    There is only one quirk. Second gear won’t engage when you first take off after sitting out on a very cold winter day, so I just go from first to third for a mile so the trans oil circulates.

    And it’s built with UAW Labor!!

  • avatar
    thesal

    I rented an identical car for a drive from LA to San Fran last month. I wish Jack had elaborated a little more on the sheer awfulness of the drivetrain. The 4spd auto absolutely sucks the life out of the engine. The tall gearing and sloooowww shifts make it absolutely useless!

    Then there’s the dual exhaust. I wish loud, uncomfortable droning at idle, especially with the top up… translated to “fast”. But it doesnt. In the words of epic meal time, “all that sound, ain’t a damn thing change!”.

    The only saving graces on the car, decent brake feel, the top comes down and the reasonably wide 225 Goodyears. Driving up the pacific coast highway, it made for an adequate corner taker, although the phrase “exit speed” probably never translated into Mitsu language.

    How to enjoy the car? Put the top down, leave it in 2nd, foot down and aim at a corner. Brake as late as possible, turn hard, squeel those fronts a little and as sooon as they hint adequate traction, stand on the gas! Don’t worry, power understeer isn’t even possible with this thing!

    PS. It’s still probably the best rental option to do the 1-way LA-San Fran trip. We asked if we could use our upgrade coupon and the lady at the Hertz counter offered me a Camry!

    PS2. If you’re renting from Hertz for a day in LA, try a 2011 Corvette Convertible. I believe that was less that $240 for a day, all in. Since it’s the good ol’ USA, the car is still an auto, but atleast you get six cogs shifted from the steering wheel. That car is a big yellow smile maker on wheels!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      PS. It’s still probably the best rental option to do the 1-way LA-San Fran trip. We asked if we could use our upgrade coupon and the lady at the Hertz counter offered me a Camry!

      For the LA to San Fran PCH drive?

      YECK!

  • avatar
    skor

    Mitsubishi must have done something right with the Eclipse. 20 years ago, there was a boat load of front drive sport coupes for sale in the US, Ford Probe, Mazda MX-6, Acura Integra, Toyota Celica(FWD after 1985), etc. Today the Eclipse seems to be the only survivor.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I think Ford did everything it could to screw up the Ford Probe back in the day. I owned an ’89, was one of the first kids on the block with one in August of ’88. Put 186K miles on it before the transmission said I quit. Autocrossed it, drove it like it was stolen, but did maintain it very well. It just seems that each year after ’89 was a step backwards. The introduction of the Vulcan 3.0 with 4-wheel discs, ABS, 15″ wheels, and leather in the 1990 LX model was a big step in the right direction; unfortunately it also got the God awful motorized seatbelts. The Vulcan provided near GT performance but made the already understeer prone vehicle nose heavy (or heavier). Unlike the Mazda 2.2 in the GL the Vulcan lost steam as you ran it up through the RPM range. But after that year it was decontenting, price increaes, then the really craptastic 1993 model came out and by ’97 Ford was phoning it in.

      • 0 avatar
        pb35

        I don’t know, my 96 Probe GT was a great car for its time. Mazda 24v V6, 0.86g, 60-0 182 ft. 0-60 in about 7 sec. It won numerous awards from the car rags back then, 10 best, COY, etc. I liked mine very much.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Yup, Ford management did everything they could think of to kill off that car. The Probe was supposed to be the next gen Mustang. When that didn’t happen, Ford renamed it Probe, but the Mustang team at Ford wanted it dead anyway. Dealers hated the car as well because it had nothing in common with the other Ford models. The car did reasonably well in sales despite all of the above. In the end, Ford was making so much money off truck based SUV’s they said, “Bye, bye Probe.”, and pulled the trigger. I bet you they wished they had a car like that in their lineup today.

  • avatar
    V16

    Mitsubishi should stick to what it knows best…DLP televisions.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    The current Eclipse isn’t meant to be bought, or rented, or even driven.

    It’s built so those DSM workers in Normal, Illinois have something to do. That’s all.

    Now, can we have our NEW Eclipse, please?

    http://www.netcarshow.com/mitsubishi/2008-ra_concept/

  • avatar
    brettc

    The Sublime/Sub 600 credit score reference was awesome!

    And once again this review makes me wonder how and why Mitsubishi is still selling cars in the USA. There’s a dealer right down the street from me, and it seems that the same cars are always sitting there. Good thing they also operate a Subaru dealer on the same piece of property.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I had a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T, I leased it as I was upside down on a previous SUV purchase (NEVER again!). It was nice green color with a tan leather interior, sunroof, 210HP turbo! WHOOOSH. I loved this engine – tons of low-end torque (214lbs @ 2,000 RPM) and power to spare. It went from 30MPH to 90MPH in 3rd gear in the blink of an eye, but still got 30 MPG since it was just a boosted 4 banger. It was able to run with Mustangs and out handle them too. However that car had a horrible turning radius for some reason, I think the engine bay was too wide thus the tires couldn’t angle in enough. It blew the #3 cyclinder TWICE under warranty and it leaked / burned oil constantly. The “leather” was 2nd grade stuff and thus not worth the money at all, in 3 years the wear was terrible. Overall the interior was tight squeeze as it wrapped around you a little too well. The rear seats were worthless, the hatch was good sized but the lift over was so high it required having a forklift handy at all times. However, just the sound and power of the turbo made this car worth owning! Wish I could have dropped this engine into my old ’89 Prelude Si, as it would have been the ultimate combo. I was happy to get rid of my Eclipse once the lease was over because I feared the engine might blow up – something was wrong in there I tell ya, it was not my driving… well maybe. Since then the Eclipse has gotten uglier, especially the ribbed-for-your-protection Pontiac Grand-Am sided version with the V6. And while it might not have gotten too much slower over time even a stock Camry can out run this car these days. Sports car my azz. Judging from the Mitsubishi Galant I had as a rental this week during a business trip they really do make rubbish these days. To wrap up on the airplane themed posts… is Mitsubish even on anyone’s radar?

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I drove a couple of these recently, wasnt THAT bad, but I appreciate it for what it is… a cheap sporty looking chick car. My wife LOVES these cars, they hit all the right buttons for her… it looks cool, drives OK, and the top goes down. My wife also looks like a stripper, so maybe thats the reason??? :)

    In 2010 the local Mitsu dealer had 4 leftover 2008 model Eclipse, brand new, never sold, never titled… 2 Spyders and 2 coupes. Blowing them out, $16995 for the coupes, 18995 for Spyders. By the time we got there, the coupes were gone, all that was left was a 4cyl with every appearance option available, and a GT 6cyl with no options. Both that ugly puke green color, which wasnt my first choice. But for $19k, hard to resist, the only thing that stopped us was the gas mileage for the GT. For $26k?? No way, I would get a Mustang.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I see two Eclipses in my area, both silver, and both have rear bumpbers that are cracked in the same spot; right near the exhaust pipe, as if they’re very easy to slam over speed bumps too quickly. I’ve always thought the rear end was a little bit too huge. It reminds me of a joke that I read once where if you can read the entire word “bootylicious” across a woman’s backside then it probably is not “bootylicious”. Not to mention that the current generation, to me, looks a little too much like a cockroach (I vaguely liked the previous generation though).

  • avatar
    abgwin

    The one exception I’d make to the “all Mitsus being piles of crap” rule is the Mirage, circa 1979-85. Their rebadged incarnations, Colt and Champ, were the unsung heroes of the econobox set, especially those nifty 4×2 ‘TwinStick’ gearboxes. Indestructible doesn’t even begin to describe them.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    In many respects, the A6M was a marvel of engineering to the limit. The story goes that the Nakajima radial (a license-built variant of the Wright Cyclone) was the best that was available to Mitsubishi. With only 900hp, it was down several hundred ponies to the Allison V12 that powered the Curtiss P-40 (and the P-38 and Mustang P-51As).

    The airframe engineer who designed the A6M started with the same engineering tables used by everyone else that specified the strength of the aluminum alloys available. An aircraft built using those specs would have been considerably heavier which would have killed performance. Taking it upon himself, he ran his own tests and determined that the specs were very conservative. He then under-designed the A6M, specifying material thicknesses that saved hundreds of pounds. This is one of the reasons that A6Ms were no match for a heavily-armored, heavily armed Hellcat (no other allied fighter had more total kills), Corsair or Thunderbolt. But the result was awesome climb and turn performance for such an under-powered airplane.

    It’s an elegant, if limited, solution to an otherwise intractable problem. It might be argued that catering to the sub-600 crowd is the same sort of solution.

    BTW, the P-47, Wildcat, Hellcat and F-105 Thunderchief were all products of the now-vanished Long Island aviation industry.

  • avatar
    njdave

    I once read a book about WWII where the author quoted an interview with Goering about when he knew Germany was going to lose the war. He replied “In 1942, the US government asked Boeing for 275 B-17s and Boeing said it was impossible, but they built 305. In 1943 the government asked for 1,000 B-17′s and Boeing said it was impossible, then they built 1270. in 1944 the government asked Boeing for 10,000 B-17s and Boeing said ‘No problem’ and I knew the war was lost. Now that was a great plane.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I thought he said in a post-war interview, that it was when he saw the B-17′s flying over Berlin ACCOMPANIED by fighter escorts that he knew the jig was up…

      In IIRC, The Longest Day, one german says to the other (and here I paraphrase the conversation), “The war is lost”. The other asks “How do you know?” The first replies “Because that dead american soldier has a cake on him, that his mother sent to him last week. If the americans have space to air freight cakes to their soldiers, then they have no limitations anymore.”

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @Robert:

        The movie you’re referring to is the “Battle of the Bulge”, 1965. Col. Hessler (Robert Shaw) tells his superior of a captured package which was a cake, and he said the Americans have fuel to send gifts by air across the Atlantic – “Americans have no concept of defeat, that is why you must allow me to reduce Ambleve’ to ashes!”

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Right! And Shaw, on his way to the US fuel dump (either to get a fill-up or destroy it) gets his Porsche-kampfwagon stuck, starts spinning his tracks, while Henry Fonda (IIRC, or was he the guy cruising around in the clouds in the Piper Cub, or did they crash, and he was brought there after? anyhow, someone) starts rolling fuel drums down the hill and Kessler’s (or was it Hessler?) ride goes up in smoke with him in it!

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Dunno about Goering, but I know when Yamamoto finally realized that we’d broken all of the Japanese crypto a long time ago…

  • avatar
    tanooki2003

    I have and still own a 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4. It still is a awesome car and totally fun to drive unlike most today. It has 293,000 miles on it and is a great workhorse even in the coldest of weather.
    Back then Mitsubishi was practically the only dealer with several cars in their lineup that I really liked and had a hard time deciding what I wanted to get. The vehicles that grabbed my interest were the Montero Sport, 3000 GT, Eclipse, Diamante, and Galant. They all looked very nice and were definite eye catchers.
    I’ve actually always liked Mitsubishi until after this whole moronically thought up “Project America” really crapped up the brand back in 2000. They killed the 3000GT and stretched out the Eclipse, killing all the features, that made the previous gen Eclipses so much fun, just to cater to a much older crowd, killed off my most favorite SUV ever built the Montero Sport and replaced it with the america only god awful sucky, ugly, and slow Endeavor, killed the Diamante and uglied up the Galant to be an invisible boring mid sized sedan, lastly the most moronic “someone should be shot for this” idea to rebadge a Dodge Dakota and name it the Mitsubishi Raider. Only a person that knows absolutely nothing about cars would not know that it’s a Dodge in disguise.
    Since project america invaded Mitsubishi everything they produce to me was complete and utter crap, with exception to the Lancer and Outlander family which still has true JDM roots. Mitsubishi has great vehicles currently but are not sold here in america such as the Triton/L200 compact pickup truck which won the 4WD award of the year in Australia, the Pajero Sport (an updated and more modern Montero Sport), and the Colt (a perfect sub-compact car to compete with the Fiesta and Mazda 2).
    If Mitsubishi has any hope of a true revival they need to completely dump all ties and remains to that sucky Project America crap and import their highly recommended vehicles to the USA. Please Mitsubishi Knock it off with the hiring an american team to come up with Mitsubishi designs that they think people here in the usa would like and buy.
    A good couple of decades of history shows that American designers in Detroit had and still have no idea with designing their own vehicles that people like in this country without foreign help that aren’t just retro 60-70′s in design or look like big rigs. I’m just calling it as i see it. I will give Ford some credit as they seem to be getting better at designing their vehicles that aren’t imported from Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      The 3000GT was heavy and slow compared to its competition at the time, the Supra and the 300ZX. I will give you that the Eclipse was unique in 1999, but thats the only car on your list worth buying. The Diamante and Galant were turds, and the Montero Sport???? Seriously??? It was a total crap rebadge that was built simply to provide a low-cost alternative for people who couldnt afford the real Montero. If you are going to choose a favorite SUV from Mitsu, why wouldn’t you choose the real Montero, which was actually an awesome SUV with real off-road cred?!?

      If the Montero Sport is your favorite all-time SUV, you can buy them all day long, cheap too. I have been finding dozens`of them available with low miles for around $3k.

      • 0 avatar
        tanooki2003

        I feel like i’m arguing with a kid who finally learned the differences of car brands.
        First of all if you knew anything about Mitsubishi you would know that every one your statements are totally inaccurate. Do you even know anything about the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 or are you just thinking about a base line FWD 3000GT? You are aware that there were several different 3000GT trims right? Something tells me you don’t have a clue what i’m talking about.
        Second the Galant up until it’s recent body change was quite a popular sportier alternative to a Camry and Accord (again before the recent bloaty boring americanized body redesign). The Diamante was a more luxurious executive sports sedan that competed very well with the Acura Legend, Toyota Cressida, and Infiniti i30 back in the day as well as a few others in this class and was an absolute smash hit in the 90′s both here and overseas.
        Lastly The Montero Sport was absolutely not a rebadge of the Montero. The only thing they share in common was the name Montero, the fact that they were both SUV’s and both made by Mitsubishi. The Montero Sport was more sporty mid sized SUV (hence the name) whereas the Montero was more a full sized SUV, much like the difference between the Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Armada.
        My wife owned the Montero Sport was a very decent and high rated vehicle of it’s time. It did have true 4WD like most SUV’s but had a manual control for the transfer case, not some fancy electronic switch or button. Yeah it didn’t have a high horsepower boat tugging V8 like the Explorer but not everyone cared about that in a SUV, especially my wife who was using it for driving the kids around and hated minivans like I do. In fact your statement does not match up with any of the consumer reviews of the Montero Sport.
        My wife owned a 2001 Montero Sport up until last year when I finally decided to retire it for something a little more fuel efficient. When we traded it in it had 293,212 hard worked miles on it from us driving our family from state to state, even to Canada a few times. Used car sales people and owners tell me that people who own the Montero Sport put several hundreds of thousands of miles on them before they finally trade them in for something else. They also tell me that they are quite hard to come by (meaning people are hanging onto them longer) because they are as reliable as a Nissan pathfinder, which are also hard to come by from the same year. When they do come in for trade they have well over 200,000 miles on them and sometimes hard to sell because of the extremely high milesage.
        You want a real turd, look at the Chevy Blazer and GMC Jimmy. Most people who owned it would agree it was a true turd.

        I think before you jump on the “let’s just shit on everything Mitsubishi made because everyone else thinks it’s cool” bandwagon you need to get your facts straight.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Actually, I feel like I am arguing with a kid who bought a Mitsubishi a decade ago and has spent the last 10 yrs making up fantasies to justify his car choice.

        I grew up in the 80s and 90s and I know plenty about Mitsubishi. I am not jumping on any bandwagon, if anything I am pissed off at a company that had the enthusiast market sewn up and blew it with craptastic offerings. As for inaccurate, the only thing inaccurate here is your invented “facts” about the cars. Trust me, I have forgotten more about cars of the 90s than you ever even knew in the first place.

        Of COURSE I was talking about the VR4 version of the 3000GT, the other fwd versions couldnt compete with the 300ZX or the Supra, they were even worse crap… the Eclipse Jack reviewed is the spritual successor to those FWD models… a big GT. The VR4 at least had some power and AWD, lots of cool high tech features, it was just heavy, way too heavy and burdened with FWD-based chassis. The Nissan and Toyota simply blew it in the weeds, which is why those cars are still valued by enthusiasts and you can barely give away a 3000GT, even a VR4.

        The Galant was cool in the early 90s, in the VR4 version only, but thats only because it was basically an Eclipse GST with a sedan body… the closest we ever got to an EVO back then. After that it was never popular at all, except, as Jack points out, as finance fodder for the low credit populace. And the Accord of that generation was worlds better, and sportier.

        The Diamante never came close to competing with anything from Acura or Lexus, or even the Cressida. It may have competed well against the Infiniti, but they were crap too back then. And how in the world do you define a “smash hit”??? Maybe it did OK in Japan, but in the US, no way, not against Lexus and Acura.

        And I didnt say the Montero Sport was a rebadge of the Montero, that doesnt even make any sense. It was a rebadge of the Pajero, which was an industrial grade SUV in the rest of the world. Its claim to fame at the time was the best fuel economy of the SUVs, but the only reason they sold was, once again, finance fodder for the underqualified. Why do you think they hold practically no resale value?? The real Montero was what everyone wanted, and it was a pretty cool SUV at the time. The Montero Sport was just there to compete with the cheap SUVs that Isuzu was pushing. And they are hard to find because they didnt sell well to begin with.

        Listen, I get it, you like Mitsubishi products, obviously you have owned a few. And I never said they were unreliable, on the contrary, I think they hold up pretty well, at least mechanically. Cosmetically they tend to look rough as they age. And they had some really cool products back in the day, I happen to loved the Starion, I would still like to get one, and the little Colt GTS was sweet. The EVO was great too, before they tried to go upmarket with the latest version. And I agree too that the GM products of that generation were just as crappy, actually more so. But to try to argue that Mitsubishi in the late 90s had anything remotely competitive with Toyota, Honda, or Nissan is just pure fantasy. Besides the Eclipse holding the market on “cheap speed”, they simply phoned it in for the rest. And instead of building on that cheap speed market, they threw it away by morphing the Eclipse into the bloated pole dancer car it has become, letting the Galant turn into a rental car loser, and trying to sell a $40k EVO as an “upmarket” car that looks almost identical to the $14k Lancer GTS that no one wants to be seen in. Its pathetic.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    Good thing you were in the GS…

    Do you really feel that way about the Boxster?

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    Great review. My 95 Talon TSi AWD will show you though…once it’s running again…only been down 11 months now lol.

  • avatar
    mmnaworker2

    The DiamondStar cars? My friend Mark Mitias famously christened them “DSM-Disposable Speed Machines”. The Lancer Evolution? Nice to drive, satisfying to use on a racetrack, but made from tin and cardboard.
    We never made the Lancer evo in the U.S.A.
    If you think the past cars were crap,just wait….we are going to build the Outlander Sport in late 2012..it is going to be an awesome piece of crap !!Let me be the 1st to say this.We(UAW workers) are not happy the way Mitsubishi is building this car.From the used equipment to the cheap thin steel,more plastic,..etc.
    We have tried to build good reliable cars,and we have to a point.We can only build to the quality that is handed to us from above.We would love to build world class cars,mitsubishi has other ideas.all we can hope is the Outlander Sport is better than what i see from inside the plant.


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