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!