Portland Oregon was the beginning point for the test drive to southern Oregon in a 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS 2-door sport coupe. I panicked because I realized I still had my travel bag with a huge golf bag and all the other stuff I picked up at Pinehurst, NC. Once I saw this small sports car I was certain I would have to strap the club bag to the top.
But when I opened the hatchback I was amazed and relieved all at the same time.
This Eclipse was a pleasant surprise of great new styling and more importantly everything fit comfortably. And if you can believe this, I could have had a friend join me for a twosome with equally large golf bag and luggage to boot. Wow. Thank you Mitsubishi.
It is about 5 hours from Portland to Medford and although I had hoped to hit the links the weather didn’t cooperate. The ride however did and that was a delightful drive.
Parts – 47% US / Canadian, 35% Japan including engine and transmission.
Assembly – Normal, Illinois, USA
Class: – Subcompact
Cars: Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Montero, Outlander and Raider.
Handling & Performance:
You gotta just love the excitement of driving a sports car. It is no surprise such cars are the choice of many men in their second midlife crisis. It truly makes you feel young again.
If 162 hp (up from 147 in ’05) horsepower isn’t enough for you the GT model sports a 3.8 liter 263 hp (up from 210 in ’05) V6 engine. However you’ll give up 5 mpg around town and for my money that is not a necessary tradeoff. I never wanted for power – ever, as the gearing is great for the 162 horsepower at my disposal.
Front wheel drive is a departure from the all wheel drive previous generation and with several hundred pounds added weight you’ll notice a slight change in steering characteristics. I didn’t find it a problem however and it shouldn’t deter you from considering this very capable sports car.
A four speed automatic is optional which isn’t recommended for the smaller engine. Traction control and Stability control is not available on the GS but I couldn’t get too excited about that for the price. For $4,000 more you can get the GT with Traction control standard with the 3.8 liter 263 hp engine.
Perhaps this is the best-looking Eclipse ever – in my opinion. Its racy new design may remind you of the Lexus SC 430 as it does me. This new Eclipse is roomier and larger … but you may be disappointed with the marginal rear seat space. However that is true of the much more expensive ($65,000) Lexus SC430 as well.
Perhaps the most common complaint is the limited rear seat space. But in a pinch it is usable which can’t be said for “no, zip, nada, none” as in a two seater.
Fit and Finish:
Very good to outstanding.
Great pricing in these days where the dollar seems to have lost its value. Before looking at the price I drove the car over 300 miles. After that familiarization I was impressed with how affordable it is.
All the usual stuff – enough but not too much. And for the money you won’t do any better.
Drive the Nissan 350Z and then the more affordable Eclipse before you make your decision on the sports car to own.
Mitsubishi Eclipse $19-24,000, Mazda RX8 $25-32,000, Toyota Celica $18-22,000, Scion tC $16,000, Ford Mustang $19-31,000, Acura RSX $20-24,000, Nissan 350Z $27-40,000.
Decent fuel economy, well priced, fun to drive, good hatchback storage space closed off from the front that makes it a trunk with great access.
Very small rear seat area.
2.4 liter 162 horsepower inline 4 cylinder engine with anti theft immobilizer, 5 speed manual transmission, dual front and side and curtain airbags, upper and lower child restraint anchor system, power assisted 4-wheel ABS disc brake system, power rack and pinion steering, 4-wheel independent suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, AM/FM with CD player and six speakers and MP3 playback, cruise control, 6-way power driver seat with lumbar support, remote keyless entry, 50/50 split fold down rear seat and height adjustable steering column.
23 City and 30 Highway MPG
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