By on October 1, 2011

The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse pictured above is the very last of its kind, the final hurrah for a vehicle that hasn’t sold well in years and is apparently missed by very few. Let’s put it this way: unlike the Panther, nobody was counting down to the final production model, and nobody wrote a requiem for “the last Japanese midsized specialty vehicle.” And despite the resounding silence that accompanied the death of the Eclipse, Mitsubishi execs still found a way to kill any remaining enthusiasm for the nameplate, implicitly comparing it to a cockroach or an irritating rash. As Greg Adams, Mitsubishi Motors North America’s vice president-marketing and product planning put it to WardsAuto:

The Eclipse “always comes back around sooner or later.”

Well, I guess we’ll all stop holding our collective breath then. And with that kind of attitude, I’m sure the new model will be every bit as thrilling and enthusiast-enticing as the current one. Meanwhile, I’ll continue making myself feel old by recalling the days when a Mitsubishi Eclipse (GSX, natch) was something to get excited about.

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39 Comments on “Quote Of The Weekend: Getting Excited About The Eclipse Edition...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The last time I was excited about the Mitsubishi Eclipse it had a twin over at the Eagle dealer called the Talon TSI AWD.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup. My first turbo and AWD combo. Woo HOO. Hated to give it back to the owner but learned a lot about the wonder of AWD for performance driving. Good seats, good ergos.

      There were three variants. The base engine was slow. You actually wanted the non turbo 16v, as it lasted forever and had good kick, esp with the 5 speed.

      All later versions lost the thread entirely.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    Bring back the Starion

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    How hard or expensive would it really be to make this a sexy 2 door Evo?

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Thats what it started out as before the ruined it and turned it into the ultimate chick car.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        What ruined it for me was seeing a ~165 HP engine powering this, IIRC 3500ish pound car, and Mitsu trying to pawn it off as “sporty.”

        There’s NOTHING sporty about a car that weight unless it’s pushing 250-300+ HP. Sorry.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I had an Eclipse Spyder convertible for a rental a couple weeks ago. Its ONLY redeeming feature was the folding top. It was pretty dire. Slow, noisy, poor ride, worse handling and an interior that would have looked right at home in a ’90s Pontiac. But, the weather was nice, the top was down, and I only had to drive it around Minneapolis for a couple days.

  • avatar
    Vega

    Also had it as a rental convertible on Cape Cod a few weeks ago. I had hoped for a Mustang, but had bad luck. Swapped it for an Escape after 2 days: Noisy, cramped, seats that give you back cramps, unbelievable scuttle shake. What a POS.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    The Eclipse died on the vine when they started concentrating on the Evo. No room for two halos.

  • avatar
    Marko

    The last generation of Eclipse reminded me of a Buick LeSabre, but with a pseudo-“sporty” body and less interior room.

    Kind of sad to see a “sport compact” devolve into that…

  • avatar
    thalter

    Sorry, but outside of this site and a few police stations, few people were counting down the end of Panther production. They were obsolete years ago, and even cab companies had moved on to more efficient vehicles. The market has spoken.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      You shut your face! Everyone loves Panthers! I don’t need you, I don’t need anyone!

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Thank you. Contrary to the impression this site gives, there were a lot of us who recognized the Panther for what it truly is: An incredibly long in the tooth mediocre (at best) automobile, good only for allowing blue hairs to stagger around on the highway at 49mph or issuing moving violations and jacking up your insurance rates.

      Good riddance to the overblown garbage.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah the Panthers were a rickety old frame with a shapeless body .. a lot like their drivers. The Eclipse had all the right curves and looked like an interesting ride even though in reality they were pretty dull and unreliable .. a lot like their drivers.

  • avatar
    siuol11.2

    Look on the bright side… After this, they have nowhere to go but up. (Crosses fingers)

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I grew up loving the eclipse. It was the poor man’s 2-door fun car that wasn’t for IROC mullets. Then I grew up and realized when I had the chance to buy an eclipse I couldn’t get my head into the car because I’m 6’3″ and when I finally did manage to shoehorn myself in after almost cracking my neck I was so cramped it wasn’t even funny. It’s interior was on-par with the suzuki sidekicks of the 1990s.

    One day the eclipse will come back as it seems the EVO is on it’s last legs as well. Perhaps then they can make a real sports car out of it. How hard is it to make something light, small, and fun to drive?

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    I never understood all the hate for these cars. Everyone goes around complaining that the Japanese don’t produce sporty two doors anymore, but here we had one that was being built all along which received little to no fanfare. No, it wasn’t a sports car, but at least it carried on the heritage of the Japanese coupe, which Toyota abandoned with the Celica and Honda abandoned with the Prelude.

    Did they sell well? Not nearly as well as the previous generation. But at least give credit where credit is due; they tried.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Wrong, they didnt try. They completely phoned it in for over a decade now. As you pointed out, the had almost the entire market to themselves, and STILL couldn’t sell these things. They took what was one of the most popular sport compact platforms ever, a car that was as popular as the Honda Civic with young people everywhere, a car that literally defined the tuner market for cheap performance, and they completely threw it in the garbage and lit it on fire. They bloated it up, slapped a silicone-injected body on the boring Galant platform, stuck it with a big V6 almost as powerful as the 350Z but hindered its performance with FWD-only. Thats why we hate it, because it could have been so great and they just trashed it. Its our generation’s version of the 240/260/280/300 Z-car bloat.

      I actually considered buying one in 2010, a base V6 coupe. It drove like a Pontiac Grand Am GT, it wasnt a horrible car, it was just a big coupe that my wife liked. It was brand new, and only cost $17999. There was a $10k discount on it… brand new… why?? Because it was a left-over 2008 model. 2 years sitting on the lot, no one wanted them, so the dealer finally blew them out with $10k discounts. And it wasnt even the only one, they had 6 of them, 3 left when I was looked at it. If not for the poor gas mileage I probably would have gotten it, hard to pass up that deal, and it wasnt going to be mine anyway.

      I wonder if you will be able to get the same deals in a couple years on the 2012 models? Probably not because Mitsubishi dealers wont order so many anymore! LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I think the problem with the Eclipse in particular (aside from the fact that I forgot the name and had to scroll back up to the top of the article) is that it was not sporty, did not handle well, and was a complete piece of crap. It had a lot more in common with a Pontiac Sunfire than an old school RWD Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        The comparison with the Pontiac Sunfire is accurate. In the time honored, traditional GM way of building vehicles, Mitsubishi would make each new Galant-based Eclipse different than the last generation, but wouldn’t really improve or make them significantly better in any way.

        In the pantheon of Pacific-rim vehicles, Mitsubishi (along with Suzuki) now seems to be in the bottom tier, having been overtaken by Hyundai and Kia. Even Daewoo seems to have better vehicles (as evidenced by the latest Sonic).

  • avatar
    Idemmu

    I recall driving one of these beauties back to back with a Chevy HHR and a Mazda 5. I was shocked at how much more sporty the 5 and the HHR were in comparison…This generation of eclipse should have been still birthed…

  • avatar
    mopar4wd

    I had two fiends that bought used GSX turbo AWD’s the summer out of high school. Awsome cars 100 mph in the rain all day long getting 23 mpg. I still have a piece of the molding off one. A friend was going to school in upstate NY and invited myself an one of the GSX owners up to Montreal for the weekend in the winter. Managed to average 90mph thru a sow storm entire way to the school. School to Montreal not so much. After sliding into a snow bank at 30 we decided to keep moving. Well we rolling about 45 mph I was sitting in the passenger seat. We start sliding I look out my window and see a snow back rapidly approaching my door. “this might hurt I say” Right then the world goes black. A couple minutes latter I realize were upside down. Well long story short we still managed to see the sites in Montreal that night but not with the GSX.

  • avatar
    Mark_Miata

    The first generation Eclipse and it’s Chrysler stablemates were iconic cars for a certain subgroup of car enthusiasts my age. They could be had with high tech features like turbos and all wheel drive, had interesting (not classic, interesting) styling for their time, they were not that expensive, and they promised (but did not deliver) Japanese levels of reliability as compared to, say, an Audi Quattro. In particular, you could crank up the boost to insane levels and have some straight-line fun.

    My friends owned them, and I had the up-market version (Dodge Stealth Twin turbo), and they were fun in the same way that coked-up blonde you picked up club could be – great for now, but no way you wanted a long-term relationship that involved a visit to your parents.

    I agree that the later versions were bloated and more civilized, but that’s the way most cars change over time. My friend, a retired college professor, has a convertible Eclipse, and he loves it – more room than a Miata, more practical in the snow than a Mustang, and comfortable on long trips. I’ve ridden in it, and it beats the first gen cars hollow as far as comfort and ride quality.

    I think the issue is that not many people are looking for what my friend looked for – Miatas handle better, Mustangs have more power, and there are lots of better moderately sized cars (maybe not convertibles) for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Reliability wasn’t very bad until you “cranked up the boost to insane levels”, and even then, it wasnt THAT bad… the 4G63 was a pretty stout engine. The Dodge Steath wasnt a upmarket Eclipse, it was heavier, much more expensive, and much more fragile technological features that didnt age well.

      And just because most cars also grow heavier and more civilized over time, doesnt make it right. Just because my friends all got fat when they got old doesnt mean I should too. You pretty much nailed it: a “retired college professor” loves his Eclipse convertible. Thats simply sad, back in the day the Eclipse was a bad ass street brawler car that a retired anything wouldn’t even consider riding in, let alone owning one.

      Oh and I love your analogy, but whats wrong with marrying the coked up blonde??? Life will never be boring!!! :)

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        FWIW, the basis for the Dodge Stealth was the rather garish (more scoops and spoilers) Mitsubishi 3000GT.

        The Mitubishi Eclipse was sold at various times as the:

        Plymouth Laser
        Eagle Talon
        Dodge Avenger coupe
        Chrysler Sebring coupe

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        The Avenger and Sebring coupes are based off the Galant platform, not the Eclipse. They do share some components but that’s it.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark_Miata

      Poor phrasing – what I meant by “upmarket version” was same concept (two door sporty coupe with available turbo and AWD) only more expensive, not that the Stealth shared the same platform as the Eclipse – I know they are very different cars underneath. I should have said “upmarket stablemate”, I suppose.

      As to reliability, well, maybe when it came to turning the key, starting the engine, and driving somewhere, but man did they wear out fast and break off chunks in other areas. The ones my friends had always seemed to have some niggling thing not working or some trim piece broken – the cars seemed to age rapidly and poorly.

      I fully agree that the 3000GT/Stealth twins were even worse in this regard – more technology to go wrong, particularly in the AWD version. I remember a fluctuating idle problem that consumed over 20 hours of diagnostic time at the dealer – they wound up not charging me a cent since they could not fix the problem. Two days after getting the car back, the problem went away. Fun car when it was running, but what a hanger queen. I sometimes thought it must have been designed in England rather than in Japan.

  • avatar
    skor

    There’s no market for front drive sports coupes anymore. 20 years ago the car makers sold a ton of Probes, MX-6, Eclipse, Acura RSX etc. Today you couldn’t give them away. Most teens and 20 somethings don’t have the money for new cars, while the folks who could afford such things are too old and fat to fit into them.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Skor,
      You’re a genius. You’ve managed to summarize the “sport coupe” market with the most direct and clear description I’ve read.
      Your post is a must read for all the “enthusiasts” who breathlessly await the rebirth of the Civc/Acura/Celica/etc. coupe, not realizing that they would never buy it themselves – having turned to more refined vehicles in their (approaching?) middle age; while younger people don’t remember or care about our dream coupes of 25 years ago and have no desire to relive someone else’s vehicular past – while lacking the cash even if they did.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Many people says they long for the return of the Starion. One company did produce something along the line of the Starion: the Hyundai Genesis coupe. If the demands were really there for Starion-like smallish, sleek RWD coupe, it would be flying off the dealer lot. It didn’t, so don’t expect Mitsubishi to follow the same road either.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Not exactly, since the Gen-coupe got saddled with the old turbo motor instead of the good direct-injected one. Its a little down on power and potential to attract the tuners, and the V-6 (which admittedly has good power), is then a bit too expensive and heavy, and really has almost no tuner support.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Except is the Eclipse really the last mid-sized Japanese specialty vehicle? I mean, it’s the last holdout from the ’90s, but does it really do anything that the Scion tC or Nissan Altima coupe don’t do in an equally mediocre manner?

    • 0 avatar
      Mark_Miata

      What made the reputation of the Eclipse was the turbo version that could be cranked up to insane levels of boost, AWD to put the resulting power down, and a fairly low price. That does not apply to the tC or the Altima – they have no halo version. The base versions of the Eclipse were thought of the same way as six cylinder Mustangs – something for the girls to drive, all show and no go.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Reliability?
    Since reliability has come up, here is one man’s experience
    ’90 Laser turbo FWD, purchased new.
    Recall for an O2 sensor.
    Recall for a timing belt tensioner.
    Exhaust manifold bolt sheared by different aluminum block / iron manifold thermal expansion rates. Repaired on warranty near end of the 7 year period.
    Just rolled 100,000 miles two months ago.
    Cruise control is intermittent, and of course works fine when its taken to the repair shop.
    Air conditioning finally leaked its old refrigerant last August, will need a conversion kit for the new refrigerants out there.
    Oh, and on about the 4th or 5th set of rear hatch struts.
    One regular maintenance item that makes me crazy because it is a ridiculously expensive job . . the toothed rubber timing belt, on the third one of those.
    I still love the car. Smooth 4 banger, fast around curves, strong acceleration , and quite fuel efficient. 30mpg overall.
    That is it. Over 100,000 miles, well admittedly no Toyota.
    Wanna hear how many repairs to prior early 80’s chevy? That could take all day.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      That is it. Over 100,000 miles, well admittedly no Toyota.

      Dude, the car is almost 22 years old, I’d say that list of repairs is pretty acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Dan I think he was trying to convey that it WAS very reliable, as opposed to others who said they were not reliable. My point was, if left stock (and thats a really big IF with these cars), they were not all that bad reliability-wise. Its just that almost everyone who owned one hooned the living hell out of them, so of course, then not so reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      DucRam

      I had a 1990 Eclipse Turbo. Loved that car. Lot’s of fun to drive and quite reliable. It lasted 210000 miles without any big problems. At 210k everything started going wrong and I ended up sending it to the crusher.

      I have been searching unsuccessfully for that combo ever since; reasonably priced, reliable, fast & fun to drive.

      I was extremely disappointed with the last version.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A sad mighty fall from grace. Mitubushi actually made and sold some worthy vehicles here in the U.S from the 80’s on Cordia, Trendia, Galant and the Sigma which was replaced by the Diamante. The 3000GT was ahead of it’s time w/AWD, Turbo. The retractable conv’t version is a future collectable.

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