By on February 17, 2017

Mitsubishi Eclipse

Five and a half years ago, I took a rented Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder on an impromptu tour of Los Angeles with one of the coolest girls I ever dated. But not even my extreme sentimentality regarding the lady in question and the nights we spent together could make me overlook the nontrivial flaws that utterly spoiled the final-generation descendant of the original Disposable Speed Machine.

It was not a good car, to put it mildly.

Yet if I’d known that the Eclipse name would one day be attached to YAFC (Yet Another Fucking Crossover) I imagine that I would have cherished that poky little droptop just a bit more than I did. This is particularly true considering the fact that the original Eclipse was a genuinely thrilling and important automobile. It was a turbocharged all-wheel-drive sports coupe with big power, wicked handling, a sleek shape, and a sensible price tag — and it hit the dealerships back when most family sedans had 130 horses and beam rear axles. I’d like to respect that, for just a moment. I’d like to remind everybody that the Eclipse was once something special.

Which leads us to today’s question(s):


Question Zero: Is there anything on the market that, in your opinion, adequately expresses the spirit of the original 1989 Eclipse? What can you buy today that offers just as much excitement at a similar, inflation-adjusted, price point?

Question One: Is there anything that Mitsubishi could do in the way of features, packaging, pricing, or performance that would make you care at all about this latest cynical crossover? What if it offered 400 horsepower for $29,999 or got 50 mpg in the city or matched a Tahoe’s cargo capacity?

I have my own thoughts on these questions, but to be honest, looking at my old Eclipse review was the proverbial taste of madeline that sent me into a reverie about that trip to Los Angeles. Those Hollywood nights! And those Hollywood hills! I was a Midwestern boy on my own!

[Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

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105 Comments on “QOTD: A Total Son Of The Eclipse?...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    400 hp at less than 30k would be asking a bit much and it knowing Mitsu it would not achieve any type of reasonable MPG. I say go for package the size of the Edge/Murano type deal and make it a hybrid only.
    With that being said if its got the Eclipse name on it at least make it sporting as possible and the big sale point would have to be a combo of price/MPG/driving dynamics and looks. I know that asking alot but Mitsu needs something special and Eclipse up to a certain point meant something special.
    They dont need to hit 50mpg in the city but 40 plus on the hwy with all the other criteria and I may look at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think Mitsubishi could really carve a niche for itself here in the United States with performance hybrids. Of course, the company has demonstrated that the United States truly is an afterthought of a market for it, and has decided to focus its efforts on Europe and the Asias, where its lineups are much more competitive.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Question zero, I think the obvious answer is the WRX.

    It’s an Eclipse GSX in a more practical package.

    The cylinders are arranged differently, but it’s still a 2.0L four that lags a little bit then gives you that turbo kick.

    Plus, AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yea. It’s probably cheaper than the Eclipse GSX when you adjust for inflation too. It’s been around as long as well (debuted in ’92).

      Truthfully, we are spoiled for choice when it comes for driving excitement these days… it’s just that performance now comes in much more practical packages. Good riddance to these useless little coupes. A buddy of mine had one… a base automatic with a fart can. I get a phantom head and back ache every time I think about those long slow drives to the street races in that back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      100% agreement.

      If they offered a turbo on the ToyoBaru twins, it would be that but since they don’t…

  • avatar
    ajla

    0. Camaro V6 1LE (?)

    1. If it had a naturally-aspirated V6 or V8 and was RWD or RWD-bias. My biggest problem with CUVs isn’t that they are CUVs, it is that they are all either $70K+, minivans without sliding doors, or lame 1.6T – 2.3T egg cars that look like they belong in a Richard Scarry book.

    An Alpha platform CUV about the size of the 1G Equinox with the 6.2L would be fine by me.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    This site:
    http://www.cars.com/research/mitsubishi-eclipse-1994/

    Tells me that a top-spec 1994 Eclipse stickered at $21,459 which becomes $35k after inflation.

    Question 0: A whole bunch of cars offer tons of fun for $35k or less.
    -Fiesta ST
    -Focus ST
    -Mustang GT
    -Subaru WRX or STI
    -GTI
    -ND Miata

    Question 1: No, even at the extremes of rationality there is nothing Mitsubishi could offer that would make me care about a FWD based crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Well said. But honestly, most of those cars are too easy to live with, which means they will never have the same feel as those flashy coupes of the early 90s. I wanted a 200SX or an Eclipse or a Probe or a Storm sooo badly when I was a kid, not realizing the abysmal ride quality and underpowered base engines would have left me wanting much more. As for a modern equivalent, maybe the Civic coupe? I swear I haven’t seen a single one on the road, come to think of it.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think I’ve seen a Civic coupe made after about 2006, I do see the 1996-2001 and 2002-2005 ones all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        Raevox

        The first car I ever bought, was a ’94 Probe GT with the 5 speed manual. First stick too. I still remember that car fondly, for how smooth and nice-sounding that high-revving “KL” V6 was, the fact that mine had the 7-band EQ from the factory, and how well it handled.

        18 year old me was ecstatic with a swoopy 2-door hatch. Mid-30s me couldn’t feel comfortable owning one, especially if it were my only vehicle.

        Still remains one of my favorite cars. It’s fun to see the chart, and remember the competition it had at the time. My friends who were car guys, definitely had the Preludes, and the Del Sol; the Eclipse and Talon were the hot stuff to get, too. Or you were one of the “different” kids with a Saab 9-4 or 9000S.

        Most Probe guys modified the 1G Turbo 2.2, since the KL V6 in the 2G was too fragile for turbocharging

        It’s a shame the successor, the ’99 Cougar, wasn’t as convincing of a sport coupe. Despite the Duratec 25 being a pretty OK engine.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Well, the answer to question one would be something like the old turbo-EJ20 Forester XT, though a smaller version of the Stelvio would not go unappreciated.

    Question two? As everyone is saying, the Subaru WRX is basically that car.

    The Eclipse died because younger buyers aren’t, by and large, two-door people. The idea that two doors = performance is a) largely an anachronism, b) shattered by the wealth of hot four-doors we have, and c) thankfully dead because myself and everyone I know **f*cking hates** climbing into the rear seat of a car with two doors.

    I don’t mourn the Eclipse, but it would be nice to have the Evo back.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Any cheap subcompact today will deliver the performance of a base model 1989 Eclipse.

    I suppose that the Toyota 86 or whatever it’s called these days is the modern equivalent of the higher performance models.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Back in 1991 I purchased a 5-speed Eagle Talon Tsi AWD in white with a black roof, which was the sister car to the Eclipse GSX. It amazes me to this day just how much in common is had with my current Audi A5, also white with a (mostly) black roof, due to the large glass panel roof. Both cars were manual transmission, 2.0 turbo engines, and AWD. Of course the Audi is a much more modern car and does lots of stuff better, but overall I’d say that in some ways the Audi is very similar to the old Talon.

      • 0 avatar
        SilverCoupe

        Probably every car that’s been in my family’s stable over the last few decades applies. I test drove the AWD Eclipse around 1990, and found it to be too small, so I went with a used Toyota Supra Turbo instead. A decade later, still wanting the AWD, I went with an Audi TT, which was an AWD turbo coupe. My wife chose the WRX, which is the best answer to the question asked, and a decade later replaced that with a Mini Cooper S, which is also a pretty good answer to the question. I have an A5 now, which, frankly, is several steps above what the Eclipse ever was. All of our cars have had manual transmissions.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d go with the (upcoming) Honda Civic Si coupe being the spiritual successor to the Eclipse. Otherwise, you can pour one out for the whole sport coupe segment. And you can pour one out for Mitsubishi while you’re at it.

    But it’s worth asking why the Eclipse’s segment died in the first place. And I think this document from 1992 will explain it pretty well.

    http://media.caranddriver.com/files/honda-prelude-si-vs-ford-probe-gt-mazda-mx-6-ls-mitsubishi-eclipse-gsx-volkswagen-corrado-slc-comparison-test-car-and-driverroyal-flush-full-specs.pdf

    Contemporary compacts offer about 90% of that performance level with actual back seats and trunks.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Heck, back in the day a base ’95 Maxima 5 speed would give all these cars a run in a straight line with a trunk and back seat for the same money. I agree, once performance became democratized it was pretty much game over for the sport coupe.

      That said, something intangible has been lost. My buddy had a clean ’96 Prelude VTEC, and that thing handled about 10x better stock than my Accord, with the same suspension layout and similar curb weight, did with a pretty good aftermarket suspension (Koni + Neuspeed). These things had shorter wheelbases and lower polar inertia that roomy + practical sedans can’t replicate… at least not without 4 wheel steering and the like. I will never forget that drive.

  • avatar

    I understand why car companies make crossovers, but I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d buy one from Mitsubishi.

    As for the Eclipse – I don’t think anyone makes a compact, FWD 2+2 anymore. The closest thing may be the Hyundai Genesis, but that’s RWD. The Altima Coupe was discontinued. But the original market, which included the Toyota Celica, Nissan 200/240SX, Honda Prelude, and maybe the base Camaro, Mustang, and Firebird has evaporated.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      You forgot the Ford Probe and the Mazda MX-6 it was based on.

      • 0 avatar

        Remembered the Probe and MX-6 after I submitted the comment…

        I had a friend with a Probe V6. It was a fun car until kids and responsibility came along and he traded it for an Altima.

      • 0 avatar
        boozysmurf

        My little brother had a ’91 MX-6 GT Turbo (with the adjustable suspension).

        Once you learned to control the torque steer, that thing was a rocket ship for its time. It was incredibly thirsty over 3000rpm though, and at 120km/h+ on the highway, in 5th gear, it was turning well into 3500rpm.

        If you tried hard, with a distinct disdain for human safety, it’d chug a tank (55L) in under 300km.

        Still, fantastic little car. It’d still be considered quick today (but not fast, at 7 seconds 0-100km/h).

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …it’s two fewer seats, but i’d argue that the base 370Z is the closest match in excitement-per-dollar while filling a similar niche in today’s market…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Some great comments. Comparing CUV’s to “Richard Scarry cars” and reminding everyone of the unspoken “that nobody likes crawling into the back seat of a 2 door”.

    It’s true that Millenials and Gen-X tend to disparage or ignore 2-doors. And that there is no reason why a modern 4-door can’t perform.

    But there is another reality. A beige Camry will outperform by just about any measure all of the ‘treasured’ performance cars of our collective youth. And do it while maintaining relative comfort, functionality and superior dependability.

    Those looking for a ‘thrilling’ ride are a small minority of car buyers. And many of those including a significant number of our B&B are unable or unwilling to buy new.

    So why should manufacturers even bother? Particularly when the Miata exists.

    • 0 avatar

      Valium for everyone!

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Give the consumers what they want. Which is why Corollas, Camrys, CR-Vs’ etc sell in such large numbers.

        And why Mazda with its ‘zoom zoom’ experience is suffering in the US market.

        Congested roads, constant traffic jams, severe time constraints, perilous job security, diminishing standards of living, all lead to buying the most functional vehicle.

        And for many of the B&B that means buying used, doing your own wrenching and running them into the ground. The auto manufacturers make little to no money from this and therefore have no need to manufacture for those consumers.

        Hence the lack of brown, diesel, manual transmission, station wagons being manufactured for the North American market.

        • 0 avatar
          Paragon

          And, you know there are those of us on here who would snag that unicorn brown, diesel, manual trans, station wagon in a heartbeat, the moment it becomes available on craigslist.

          • 0 avatar
            skor

            I once owned a brown, manual, station wagon Escort…..3 out of 4… so I’m getting a kick.

            The 2 door 2+2 FWD sport coupe infested the roads in the late 80s and all through the 90s, I doubt we’ll ever see that again. Once in a while when I see one of those old cars in the wild, I’m struck with how small they are. Muricans with enough money to buy new are too old and fat for such cars.

        • 0 avatar

          You’ve just described the Peugeot Partner Teepee minivan I got in spain recently. Tiny turbodiesel, five speeds, brown. Given the CUV size, would work for just about every family under six people.

          FWIW, almost every car in Spain is a diesel…Porsche to beater.

        • 0 avatar

          “Congested roads, constant traffic jams, severe time constraints, perilous job security, diminishing standards of living, all lead to buying the most functional vehicle.”

          This. It’s not that most of us don’t want something exciting, it’s just that our daily slog makes a “boring” car a better choice. I leave a stressful job to come home to a fast paced environment with two kids that have activities almost every night. The commute home is sometimes the only chance I get to relax before I go to sleep. I can only afford one car right now, so a quiet, dependable, car with a good stereo is better for my 30 minute commute than something that feels wired into my nervous system.

          • 0 avatar
            Raevox

            ^^ This (and my general dubiousness regarding dry-clutch DCTs) is why I passed on the Elantra Sport, and purchased a standard Value Edition, conventional automatic instead. Too much Bay Area traffic for a manual, which I would prefer anyhow.

            No doubt the Sport would have been a ton of fun, but it probably wouldn’t have done much for my stress levels. I wanted a comfortable and calm, quiet commuter. Which is what my car is.

            My E36 does pulse-raising duty now. It was OK as a daily driver, but the suspension was too busy to be relaxing, and it’s general eagerness to go-go-go doesn’t mesh well with commuter traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            cognoscenti

            Ironically, this is the same reason I have run in the opposite direction. Often, the daily drive is my only chance to connect with the vehicle. I’m “time poor”, so why shouldn’t I enjoy the car I have to commute in? So, I just bought an E90 M3 – with a manual transmission.

      • 0 avatar

        I sadly, believe it or not, acknowledged that you are right from your very first post, Arthur. It’s just depressing. Long gone are the days when your average Joe could easily financially slide into a V8 sports car (as just one example).

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          True, Threeve, but these days, $30,000 or so puts you into an Ecoboost Mustang, which can EVISCERATE even the hottest Eclipse from 20-plus years ago.

          Hell, the Jetta I bought a few months ago isn’t all that far off from the performance envelope from an Eclipse turbo.

          Performance is now thoroughly democratized, which explains why performance cars like the Eclipse stopped selling.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          I should have acknowledged that in my first sentence.

          I had enough excitement with old cars that had manual steering, manual brakes, carbs, bias ply tires, rear axles that belonged on ox carts and required you to say a prayer before you tried to start them.

          Give me reliable, comfortable and boring, please.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Arthur Dailey – very true. I like boring.
            I’ve encountered a lot of bad sh!t in my life, amazingly enough, you eventually stop getting adrenaline rushes from it all.

      • 0 avatar
        9Exponent

        Your enthusiast car has made you such an interesting person.

  • avatar
    brux2dc

    I had a 3rd Gen 2000 Eclipse GS. First new car bought right out of college. I loved the looks, but looks didn’t match the performance at all. It was one hell of a good deal. All said, I do miss that car. It was the most reliable car I ever owned. Kept it for 9 years and 164,000 mi.

    I’d agree that the Civic Si would be the closest thing in spirit, though the Si would stomp all over that anemic 3G Eclipse.

  • avatar
    r129

    There are any number of cars that, from a performance or fun to drive standpoint, would be more than worthy successors to the original Eclipse. However, I don’t think that any sedan or 5-door hatch could be a true spiritual successor. It was a different time, when people didn’t care about practicality quite so much, and looks still mattered. You had to be willing to give something up in order to own one of these cars. Either that, or you had to be willing to own another car. I think it made more of a statement about your priorities in life than driving a fast sedan does today. Having said that, I realize that “looks” today don’t mean the same thing, and that a low, sleek two-door coupe is no longer the ideal shape for most. However, since it still is the ideal shape for me, I suppose I’d have no choice but to go with the upcoming Civic Si to most closely capture the spirit of the Eclipse. There are of course some rear-drive options out there, but just as was the case back then, it’s not the same thing.

    As for question one, no, there is no way that I would ever be interested in the Eclipse crossover. There is no way that I would ever be interested in any crossover.

  • avatar

    Given that Mitsubishi was caught having stuffed reports of customers’ paint quality complaints regarding the Eclipse into lockers, I’d say nothing could ever get me into an Eclipse.

    But as some people have reminded me here before, the proper response is not to cross off your shopping list cars from a company that engages in that kind of nonsense. Rather, you should accept that as just the cost of doing business with a make, and bend over and take it, since all the car companies “do it anyway”.

  • avatar
    Peter Voyd

    Taste of what? Try searching for the lost time a bit harder.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Since commenters get flagged for language, I think it’s time for writers to substitute euphemisms. YAFC should mean “Yet Another Fracking Crossover”. I hereby request that the editor compile a list of colorful words and phrases that get comments flagged, and create a list of standard euphemisms to be used in articles. This fracking, sock-chucking, bull-stucco double standard must be addressed!

  • avatar

    The only way I could see buying a Mitsubishi is if they brought back the real Montero/Pajero. I’m a sucker for real, BOF SUV’s.

  • avatar
    Kato

    0: WRX.
    1: No.

    When I was fresh out of engineering school I wanted the original Eclipse bad, more specifically, an AWD turbo Talon in dark blue. One of my classmates treated himself to one, I, however, had a fat student loan and interest rates were 15%. I continued driving the rusty ’78 Accord.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    So, here’s a sincere question: Sporty two-door coupes were plentiful since the dawn of motoring up until or slightly past the dawn of the new Millenium. Two-door variants of larger, more comfortable cars, like full- and mid-sized cars from all of the Big Three, were available for about the same period of time. So what went wrong?

    Four-door models always outsold two-doors, perhaps on a 70-30 perecent ratio. Maybe even 80-20 percent. What made Americans go so soft that they virtually stopped buying sporty two-doors almost completely? Just another part of our society becoming so cautious, boring and conservative (in a non-political sense)? Or is that scenario even correct? Would two-doors still manage to garner 20 percent of a given model’s sales, but it’s just that the automakers won’t bother with that anymore?

    All I know is, cars are very good today but most are pretty boring. Maybe that just reflects who we really are – not who we think we are?

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      My take on it is that automakers find that the costs involved for a 2-door variant of a sedan isn’t worth the investment. Or, not a great enough return on investment for all the various costs involved.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        I’d also add–and this is hard to quantify–that two-doors lost their stylistic advantage over sedans. It’s subjective, but I think most people would agree that the two-door pillarless hardtop was the most attractive body style for cars like the the ’55-’57 150/210/Bel Air or the ’65-’70 Biscayne/Bel Air/Impala/Caprice. Compare those to a mid-’80s Eurosport. I think the four-door Celebrities looked better than the two-doors, and that’s before you factor in practicality.

        Virtually no one except Mercedes offers pillarless body styles today, and with most other vehicles featuring a glossy, blacked-out B-pillar that mimics a pillarless design (at least at a quick glance), you lose that “I’m not sure why, but that one’s prettier” distinction that the two-door used to have.

        I do like the look of the two-door Accord better than that of the sedan, ditto for the 4th-gen Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Steve, I believe what has driven this trend is that there is absolutely nothing actually sporty or exciting about a door delete. Same product, same performance, but way less convenience. It’s just a weird old fad to folks my age (50’s) and younger, right up there with wire wheel covers and whitewalls.

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      Some part of it could be the increased use of car seats. When I was growing up in the 80s, at any age from 3 on I would just crawl into the back seat of whatever coupe we happened to be riding in. Most people seemed to have coupes then, and no one gave any thought to child safety seats, certainly not until the age of 12 or whatever it is now. The back seat of a coupe was considered a fine place for a child. Now a person who regularly, or even occasionally, carries a child in the car has to think about putting in some sort of seat or booster and making sure the child is strapped in.

      Overall though, I think the definition of style for most people has changed. More people think of an SUV as a stylish vehicle than those who think that a coupe is the ultimate expression of style. The stigma of four doors is all but gone. As for me, I’ll gladly take a coupe over a sedan if given the choice. As my grandmother would say, “Nobody has any business riding in my backseat anyway!”

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      “What made Americans go so soft that they virtually stopped buying sporty two-doors almost completely?”

      Answer: Significantly higher car insurance cost for sporty two-door cars, especially for young men. Add a back seat and two extra doors and “family car” insurance rates apply.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      The conventional wisdom when I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s is that a four door car was heavier than a two door car, and so not as fast. That, plus the styling aspect, is why they offered two door versions of the full- and mid-size cars of the time in addition to “personal luxury coupes.”

      The European sports sedans of the 1980s blew that idea away. Now, you had four door cars by BMW, Audi, and Mercedes that could perform just as well as their two door brethren. Shoot, there was even the AMG Hammer wagon, a station wagon that pull 1G on the skidpad, had a 150 MPH top speed, and could run with any sports car.

      Once you reached that point, the only reason to own a two door car was because you liked the look of it. But that was often outweighed by the fact that the longer two doors tended to sag as they got older and were harder to get in and out of in the parking lot; along with the fact that it was harder to get in and out of the back seat. Then, the SUV entered the scene, and the market for the two door coupe shrunk to where we are now.

      While I realize it is just a fiberglass outline, the replacement of the NASCAR Ford Thunderbird with the NASCAR Ford Taurus in 1997 marked the end of the era of the “faster” two door coupe. (They had to switch to the Taurus because the Thunderbird was no longer in production.)

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      To the above points, I’ll add moon roofs and standard, inexpensive, effective air conditioning. In decades past–and I suppose we’re at a point where many readers don’t have a living memory of this–AC was an expensive option for American cars. And for foreign cars, it was an expensive option worsened by the fact that the AC was crappy.

      Nowadays, 90% of drivers keep their windows up year-round, 100% of the time. In the past, a pillarless design provided a workable compromise between the pillared sedan and the convertible. Between AC for the hermetically sealed crowd and moon roofs for the fresh air crowd, pillarless designs don’t appeal to the average person as much. (I’ll add that, under 45 mph and in the summer, I’d *love* to cruise around in an E-Class or S-Class coupe with the windows down and sunroof open. That’s no longer a typical sentiment, though.)

      Edit: Yeah, I realize there were a lot of pillarless four-doors on American roads up through the mid-’70s, so this point doesn’t align strictly to the discussion of two doors versus four.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The idea that driving the coupe version of a mainstreamer makes one more interesting or tough is lol.

      What happened was people stopped buying cars based on image and started buying them based on usability. From that standpoint there’s absolutely no reason to have a 2 door car. I think the regular cab pickup truck essentially completely disappeared for the same reason.

      I suggested elsewhere that the sedan is the new coupe and the crossover is the new sedan. Despite the B&B’s protests crossovers definitely have more utility/usability than sedans AND wagons, and these days if you want something fun to drive you’re probably gonna get a sedan or 5 door hatch.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        I suggested elsewhere that the sedan is the new coupe and the crossover is the new sedan.

        I think there is truth to that; especially since sedans have adopted “coupe styling.” The era of the low slung car that started in the 1950s is dead; and the crossover is very close to the height of cars before that time.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        “The idea that driving the coupe version of a mainstreamer makes one more interesting or tough is lol.

        “What happened was people stopped buying cars based on image and started buying them based on usability”

        That’s partially true. If it were completely true, though, we’d see a far higher percentage of subcompacts, minivans, and C-Max-style five-doors on the road. On aggregate, today’s buyers vastly overestimate their needs with regard to engine power, ride height, ground clearance, AWD, and the need to haul or tow things. And that comes down, at least partially, to image.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Cheap thrills – give me the Plymouth Laser (badge-engineered Eclipse). I did have lust for the highest performance versions of the Eclipse/Talon/Laser back in my high school days.

    But as madanthony said, I’m much more likely to buy a Mitsu version of a 4Runner or Land Cruiser competitor than a turbo coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      Paragon

      I’m like you, Dan. While the Eclipse and Talon were the hottest of the three, I’d have loved to have gotten a base model Plymouth Laser with a manual transmission. I just wasn’t in the position to buy a new car at that time. But, I did visit the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership to check out one of those more affordable Plymouths.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Problem with the Laser was that it was only available in FWD. The AWD versions of the Eclipse and Talon were just so much nicer to drive and put down power seamlessly, unlike the torque steer prone Laser Turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      cls12vg30

      Gawd I remember the Laser could be had in this great electric blue, with dark grey mesh wheels, they were gorgeous.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    My encounter with Eclipse convertible was when a client who drove it hit a tree. The front of the car was just not a good protection for the client. So based on that crash data, I’d say any Fiat 500-related product is the modern equivalent of the Eclipse = they look different, they promise lots, they kind of drive, but you don’t want to crash in them.

  • avatar
    TCragg

    Thanks for the Seger reference. I spent my formative years living in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge on the Canadian side, listening to Detroit radio, and I consider “Live Bullet” (I know Hollywood Nights is off Stranger in Town, which was released two years later) to be one of the finest live albums ever recorded.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I found it amusing that the Romney campaign chose “Hollywood Nights” as their theme song, because nothing says “Mormon senior citizen” like a song about cruising the periphery of Los Angeles looking for places to have sexy-time with your latest squeeze.

    • 0 avatar

      No reference to Bob Seger and Canada would be complete without mentioning his song Rosalie, a tribute to the music manager at 50,000 watt, clear-channel CKLW radio, Rosalie Trombley. “She’s got the tower, She’s got the power, Rosalie.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeAK53Ejrbw

  • avatar
    olddavid

    A crab fisherman friend left me his Chrysler Sebring coupe (2000?) for the duration of the voyage. It had a 3.0 with auto and all accessories. I enjoyed driving that car, as it was a change of pace for me, but it wasn’t something I would pay money to own. In the end, weren’t they all manufactured by Diamond Star? I am with TCragg on Bob, but my favorites are on “Smokin’ OP’s”.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the original Sebring/Avenger, Cirrus/Stratus/Breeze cars were DSM.

      And “Night Moves’ is my favorite. The reflection on youth in middle age strikes a chord.

      • 0 avatar
        r129

        The original Sebring/Avenger was DSM, but the original Cirrus/Stratus/Breeze and Sebring Convertible were not. Things got a bit more confusing when they consolidated names with the second generation. The Stratus Coupe and second-gen Sebring Coupe were DSM, and not related to the Stratus Sedan, the Sebring Sedan, or the Sebring Convertible.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Bring back DSM!

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    One thing not mentioned is that the Eclipse cars became really expensive to insure, as the target market had a high accident rate.

  • avatar

    I recall this car. I drove the AWD turbo version….fast and my first look at using all the wheels to drive. The car was hit by someone else, assembled poorly by the body shop, and the messed up result went away. When it was new and tight, though, very nice.

    A friend’s wife bought the mid level version, non turbo but with the 16v engine, and it lasted them quite a while, till he made some money and mama got the Jag she always wanted.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    The Eclipse sort of suckered people into believing it was going to be like most Japanese cars and have super reliability. Instead it was Chrysler quality.

    I knew a few people that had these back in the day, they were nightmares even when relatively new.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I had one new in 1991. Beat the snot out of it. Never had a problem with it for the four years I owned it. Same deal with some of my friends who had them. I know that today they have a poor reputation for being reliable, but back when they were new, they were very good.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        Actually, they never had a good reputation if you look at publications like Consumer Reports. Even when new.

        It was a joint venture with Chrysler, and the “Eagle” line across the board was also typical Chrysler quality.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Sorry, but as an original owner, I’d have to use my own experience rather than a magazine rating. Like I said, I beat the snot out of mine for four years and the damn thing was bulletproof. I had several friends who did the same without any problems.

          BTW, the joint venture is true, but the cars were Mitsubishi, not Chrysler. Joint ventures are rarely a 50/50 propositions. The Eclipse/Talon/Laser all used Mitsubishi engines and drivetrains.

  • avatar
    omer333

    0: I have to go with the Toyobaru twins on this one. Although a case has been made for tarted-up Fords wearing an ST/RS badge, and the forthcoming Civic Si coupé could, I said could, be the bees knees.

    1. Considering I’ve been giving Porsche Cayennes and Maccans a hairy eyeball, I think I could be ok with a sub-$30k YAFC that’s putting down close to 400 hp. It would almost definitely be more reliable than the Porsches.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Ex 1996 Eclipse GS-T owner. Man I loved my Eclipse! 210 HP / 214 TQ all from a boosted 4 banger that got 30 MPG as long as you didn’t get into the boost constantly. Did 0-60 in same time as the V8 Mustang of the same era (6.4 secs I recall). The woosh of the turbo made driving that car a blast. Sure it had lag, but that was part of its charm. It went from quick to FAST once the PSI built up. It was one of those cars that dared you to play with the throttle. So its turning radius wasn’t great, the interior was bit tight, it burned oil constantly and the leather was garbage but it was just so fun to spool up and blast off.

    Today’s options? Sadly not much, mostly due the lack of 2 door hatchback choices. Maybe the FRS/BRZ. A turboed Civic or Focus could work but then you’ve got extra doors to drag around. I think the VW GTI checks all the boxes but they can get pricey compared to a Mitsubishi.

    Can any CUV get me interested? NO. I don’t have kids or dogs so honestly anything with more then 2 doors doesn’t turn my head. I don’t see the point of extra ground clearance just for looks. My parents have an Escape (and had a RAV4) and while those are fine vehicles I wouldn’t take one if you gave it to me for free.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Question zero, I think people are getting too hung up on the coupe body style.

    IMO, the most important spiritual boxes to be checked with regards to the Eclipse are:

    1. Compact
    2. Jekyll and Hyde turbo motor (not the small, low pressure turbos of today)
    3. AWD

    Those are the core attributes I think of when I think of the Eclipse.

    The coupe body style is secondary, there have been all kinds of coupes. The Eclipse being a coupe isn’t what makes it unique. Compact, AWD, and turbo were the Eclipse’s differentiators.

    That’s why the WRX is the correct answer to question zero.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Single, youngish men and women both bought these cars. The single young men have shifted to trucks and/or off-road vehicles. The single young women have shifted to compact and subcompact CUVs.

    The comments above correctly identify the successors for the tiny number of buyers who care about driving rather than image: the WRX and Civic Si. The GTI is also pulling in some of these buyers.

  • avatar
    Driver7

    Question Zero: The Subaru WRX.
    Question Two: Yes – if Mitsubishi used Virtual Reality techniques to make the the new Eclipse look like a CUV (from the inside and outside), and included a “Classic Eclipse” driving mode, which replicates the driving dynamics of the 1989 version.
    Bob Seger – great musician and songwriter: “Feel Like a Number,” “Fire Down Below,” “Get Out of Denver.”
    Re: Richard Scarry – this is such a perfect takeoff on Scarry (warning: includes political and social comment): http://www.gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug/2014/11/28
    Jack was right to avoid this, but I can’t resist (even though it’s a terrible song) – shouldn’t the headline be “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – ?

  • avatar
    Yesac13

    Answer to Question One:

    $199 per month to anyone with a pulse. 7 year note.

    It’ll sell like hotcakes. Sadly, the average driver don’t give a shit on the specs these days. Now, $199 a month… That’ll sell.

    Perhaps $299 a month is more realistic, tho. Still will sell well even then – just accept the crap credit scores and repossess the vehicle the instant a missed payment occurs. Keep a GPS transmitter somewhere so it can be found promptly…

  • avatar

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen both Bob Seger and Marcel Proust referenced in a piece about a car.

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    I’ve hated everything Mitsubishi since WWII.”

    Said my Grampa anyway.

    Truly, I don’t know of anything Mitsubishi that I ever liked. The engines they sold to Chrysler had soft camshafts, which caused my parents grief in a car they bought (and subsequently cause me grease because I offered to repair it). So other than perhaps a FaF appearance for drifters, I have nothing else to offer on this brand of machines.

  • avatar
    Sam Hell Jr

    0: No. Cars are just too big and heavy. They are marvels of safety and speed but even the ostensible performance models are utterly divorced from the Eclipse’s raison d’etre.

    1: Eh, I’d be impressed by a family SUV that had the bones to tow. I thought the Pathfinder’s beefed-up CVT tow package was intriguing as well. Not sure I’d trust any of today’s unibodies with more than a pop-up camper on the hitch.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Today while driving in Toronto I saw a red Dodge Stealth, license plate Dodge93 being driven around. Looked good and sounded just fine.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    Eclipse Cross PHEV will be big outside of USA.
    Bigger than Tesla 3, in unit sales volume.

    will it be relevant to USA, probably not.
    but mark these words, Eclipse is THE harbinger of the future.

    14kWh PHEV for the same price as a diesel.
    in post dieselgate UK/EU

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Answer to Question Zero: The Ford Focus RS is the only vehicle that comes to mind. Like the Eclipse, it is wickedly and unexpectedly fast for a car that doesn’t have the prestige to deserve such unbelievable performance.

    Answer to Question 1: It’s a crossover, so nothing will make me care about it. The last chance Mitsubishi had at truly reviving this name was when they released the beautiful fourth generation in 2006. Unfortunately, instead of giving us something that could’ve morphed into the spiritual successor to the 3000GT VR-4, Mitsubishi botched it and gave us a heavy and unbalanced pig.

    Bonus trivia: The Eclipse pictured in the article is was a version built for the European market. The breakaway mirrors are a giveaway. Unfortunately for those across the pond, European market Eclipses had neither the All-Wheel-Drive, or the turbocharger, and were stuck with the non-turbo 4G63 engine.

  • avatar
    mountainman

    I loved the first generation Eclipse. Looked like a shoe.

    Poor Mitsubishi…..
    Oh how you’ve lost your way….
    My Colt had a leaky sunroof….
    And my Super Shift died the next day.


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