2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Convertible (352)

Overview:

This week we’re visiting friends in the 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Convertible. If you read my reviews often you know that I have a love for speed. Just ask anyone who drives with me.Fortunately each year I get to drive all new cars on a racetrack, so I don’t feel the need to do it on the highways. I try to drive according to the posted speed laws, just like you. Right?

Handling & Performance:

The high-line GT model has a 200-horsepower V6, and that’s the one I tested, with the manual trans. You’ll have to pay an extra $1,000 if you want an automatic. The GT has a stiffer suspension than other models and bigger tires for better handling.

If fuel economy is a consideration for you, the 4-cylinder model with the manual transmission provides a few more miles per gallon at 22 city and 30 highway.

Stopping distances are good in this GT because of 4-wheel disc brakes necessary for performance driving and more demanding braking conditions.

Styling:

They have provided adequate room for two 6-footers, but don’t try to put them in the rear seat. The doors are long and make it awkward to get in and out, especially in tight parking areas. Front seats are comfortable and supportive in the curves.

The trunk spoiler looks cool, but it blocks your rear view with the top up, because the back window is small. But the rear window is glass and I’d rather have it small and glass than large and plastic.

Fit and Finish:

Typical Japanese quality in this area of construction. I’m rarely disappointed in how well them put things together. They’ve learned well from their conquering hero’s, eh.

Conveniences:

You get what you pay for, and this Eclipse is competitive in what they give you.

Cost:

Not bad, unless you opt for the premium package that includes ABS brakes, upgraded Stereo with cassette and 4 disc in-dash CD changer, leather seats, power drivers seat and side air bags where you’ll add $2,370.

Recommendation:

If a sports car fits your need at this time in your life, this is the best of the bunch, in my humble opinion. Plus, it has unique styling that stands out from the crowd in this price range. I’d be interested in your opinion if you test-drive some of the competition.

The Competition:

Acura Integra $19,400-24,450, Audi TT $31,200-38,900, BMW Z3 $31,300-37,900, Chevrolet Camaro $17,305-28,980, Ford Mustang $17,095-32,605, Honda Prelude $23,600-26,100, Mazda MX-5 Miata $21,180-25,715, Mercury Cougar $16,700-22,050, Toyota Celica $16,985-21,455.

Good News:

Fast V6, state of art soft top, great ride and solid feel, handles like a sports car should, distinctive styling

Bad News:

Small trunk and opening, small rear seat.

Standard Equipment:

3.0 liter V6 engine, 5-speed manual trans, dual airbags, anti theft, power rack and pinion steering, 4-wheel sport tuned independent steering, power ventilated disc brakes, power soft top, air conditioning, power windows, locks and side mirrors, Infinity stereo with CD player, 10-way adjustable driver seat, adjusting steering column, keyless entry, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, power antenna.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 27 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,407

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
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