2003 Eclipse New Car Test Drive
Mitsubishi says the Eclipse symbolizes what the brand is all about: style, fun, performance, and value. Eclipse comes in coupe and Spyder body styles, the latter with a soft convertible top. Their styling is bold and distinctive, suggesting a supercar, like a Ferrari.
The GT and GTS models back up this statement with a superbly smooth and powerful V6 engine. The Eclipse is agile, quick and goes where you point it. The ride is smooth and comfortable, but doesn't isolate the driver.
Eclipse does all this for a compelling price and that's why it's so popular. This is one of the most reasonably priced sporty cars on the market. The fun per dollar quotient is high.
Mitsubishi builds the Eclipse as a sleek hatchback coupe or as a two-door convertible. The coupe is available in RS ($18,167), GS ($19,077), GT ($21,277), and GTS ($24,247) trim. The convertible, which Mitsubishi calls the Spyder, comes in GS ($23,917), GT ($25,997), and GTS ($28,367) trim.
RS and GS models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 158 pounds-feet of torque. The RS is the entry-level Eclipse, but it comes with a plethora of features that make it attractive: 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows and locks, multi-adjustable front seats, folding rear seat, an interior air filtration system and a 140-watt AM/FM/CD stereo.
GS comes with a higher level of equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55HR16 tires for more grip, a rear stabilizer bar for sportier handling (less understeer), fog lamps, power mirrors, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, lumbar support added to all those seat adjustments, a rear spoiler, and a split folding rear seat. The GS Spyder is equipped even better than the coupe, with a 210-watt stereo and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
GT steps up to a substantially higher level of performance. The GT coupe comes with a 24-valve V6 that delivers 200 horsepower and 205 pounds-feet of torque. The GT Spyder uses essentially the same engine, but with higher-compression pistons and Mitsubishi's new Variable Induction Management (MVIM) system bumping output to 210 horses and emissions down to the Ultra Low (ULEV) range. GT coupe and Spyder both use aggressive 17-inch tires, an upgraded suspension and four-wheel-disc brakes to help keep the increased power on the pavement. Integrated fog lights, chrome exhaust tips and color-keyed ground effects add image to the GT's performance image.
GTS adds ABS, side-impact airbags, 12-way adjustable leather seats, a six-disc CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The GTS coupe gets a sunroof. GTS also gets a slightly more powerful V6 that benefits from variable induction and higher compression pistons.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard in all models. A four-speed automatic is optional for RS ($800). On GS and GT the automatic ($1000) Sportronic manual override. On GTS, the automatic ($1290) comes with Sportronic and traction control.
GS and GT coupe buyers who want just a little sunshine can opt for a power sunroof, packaged with the 210-watt stereo and steering-wheel audio controls ($1170). Leather trim is optional for the Coupe GS and GT ($1780) and Spyder GS and GT ($600).