Mike Krebs, vice president-product strategy for MMNA, wants to make it clear that the Eclipse is no longer a hot little sport compact like the 1st and 2nd generations were, and in doing so has stated emphatically that AWD will not be an option on the new Eclipse. Krebs blames the extra cost and weight of AWD as the primary reasons for its absence, as well as the 3% take rate of AWD on the last models for which it was offered.
I doubt any sport compact enthusiast is really crying over this news, since the Eclipse has neither been sporty nor compact since the 2nd gen. Adding AWD to the new model would make it weigh as much as a Mercedes and cost more than its quicker brother, the Evo. Indeed, tuner folk have long since said their goodbyes to the quick and sharp handling Eclipses of old. There are a few good 3rd gen. tuning shops around (like these guys), but it?s a challenge trying to tune a vehicle the manufacturer doesn?t want modified (see this forum post for an explanation on how it seems that Mitsubishi intentionally made the 6G72-powered 3rd gen. Eclipse nearly impossible to boost).