When the Eclipse was first introduced in 1990, its primary competition were cars like the Acura Integra and Toyota Celica. It was a small sport coupe, and it offered AWD which was not an option for most of its competition. At the time, the Eclipse and the rest of its DSM (Diamond Star Motors) cousins shared a platform with the Galant. The Galant was a small car by today's standards when the Eclipse was introduced. As time went on, the platform grew. It is almost inevitable that every automotive platform evolves in size over time. The Eclipse has always been at its core a Galant coupe, for lack of a better term. That is more evident now than ever.
Compare the relationship between the Accord Coupe and the Accord Sedan and you will see how the Eclipse and Galant complement each other. There has been a lot of fuss from the automotive press and enthusiasts since the high performance AWD Eclipses disappeared. Sure, the generation 3 (2000-2005) model did not set the world on fire but the new gen 4 solidily places the Eclipse as a GT version of Mitsubishi?s Galant sedan. So, while all of us enthusiasts and auto journalists would love to run around in AWD turbo coupes, a 263 hp coupe is still a quick car. In fact, the new Eclipse is reported to do 0-60 in 6.8 seconds which is only a few tenths off of the AWD Turbo Eclipses from a few years back.
So, perhaps the fairest analysis of the new Eclipse is that which acknowledges its new competition is not Acura RSX or Nissan 350z, but Accord Coupe or maybe the new G6 coupe.