Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
The fourth generation Eclipse received a facelift in October 2009 for the 2010 model year.
The facelift was introduced at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show and consisted of minor aesthetic retouches to the car’s front and rear fascia. The GT trim introduced a larger rear spoiler, high intensity discharge (HID) head lamps and Active Stability Control (ASC). Mitsubishi also fielded a new GS Sport trim level that borrows the GT’s exterior look, but retains the fuel economy of the 2.4L straight four. The 3.8L V6 petrol engine also received a minor boost in power, being rated at 265 hp instead of 263 hp.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse debuted back in 1990 as a sport coupe offered with powerful engines and even an all-wheel-drive system.
Reaching its fourth generation in 2005, the new Eclipse came with a redesigned sportier look and a choice of only two engines. The 2-door 4-seater was produced solely for the US and the Canadian markets.
Models came available in three trim levels: GS, GT and GTS. Every trim level came with standard power windows, power mirrors and power locks, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and cruise control.
With the GT trim level, the Mitsubishi Eclipse featured bigger 17-inch alloys, a chrome exhaust tip and fog lamps.
The top-of-the-range GTS trim level packed a sunroof, leather upholstery, a power driver seat and a premium 7-speaker Infiniti Audio system.
Many options available with the upper trim levels could be added to the base GS through the REMIX package. Besides that, the Remix Edition equipped the cabin with a distinctive shift knob and steering wheel.
Inside, the Eclipse featured a symmetrical cockpit. Although functional, the interior’s design was rather dull and fitted with low-grade quality materials.
While the front seats were comfortable and adequate for long commutes, they didn’t offer enough side support for sporty driving.
The standard safety features included antilock brakes, side airbags and traction control.
While its predecessors were hailed and praised by users, the third generation of the Eclipse didn’t live up to its name.
Moreover, it wasn’t available with an all-wheel-drive system.
Mitsubishi understood that the times for sporty coupes were mostly over, but it still had some nameplates in its inventory which might be useful. The Eclipse, for instance, was already known. To make more money with it, the Japanese carmaker tried to move the Eclipse sports car into a pricier segment, ditching the battle against Honda Civic. The third generation of the Eclipse shared its platform and assembly lines with the Chrysler Sebring Coupe and Dodge Stratus coupe. It was the Japanese cousin of the cloud-cars.
Thus, Eclipse’s third generation came with different styling. At the front, the headlights were not that aggressive anymore. They looked more like spread on the corners, flanking a curved hood that didn’t sport a bulge anymore, like its predecessors. The bumper was still a remainder about its sporty character and featured a trapezoidal grille in the apron. From its sides, the Eclipse showed a slightly ascending beltline and curved greenhouse.
Inside, the carmaker lost the appeal for sporty ambiance but left some touches here and there, such as the bolstered seats and the option for a manual transmission. Also, in the instrument cluster, the carmaker kept the big speedometer and tachometer in front of the driver. On the plus side, the Eclipse-3 provided more room for the rear passengers.
Under the hood, the carmaker installed a choice of two engines ranged between a four-mill 2.4-liter and a 3.0-liter V6. All versions were available with a manual or automatic transmission.
The second generation of the Eclipse was a joint project developed together by Mitsubishi and Chrysler, and it was a win-win situation.
The Eclipse starred in the first franchise movie, “The Fast and the Furious,” and it was a highly tuned car, but even the standard model was no joke in the sport-compact market. It was the only turbocharged all-wheel-drive coupe on the American market. Its drivetrain was developed by Mitsubishi, who had vast experience in rallying. The Japanese carmaker sold the car in four trim levels, depending on the options and performances. While Dodge Neon engines powered the base models, the turbocharged versions were powered by the renowned 4G63 unit used on the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
In 1995, the bio-design trend was at its highest levels, and the Eclipse was one of the finest examples of it. The narrow but rounded headlights, which replaced the pop-up ones used on its predecessor, the flowing lines of the bodywork, and the sloped tailgate fit into that trend. It announced the next design trend, the new edge, with its sharp angles on the rear side windows and on the taillights.
Inside, the carmaker installed sport bucket seats for the entire range. Its rounded dashboard featured a center stack slightly tilted toward the driver. The instrument cluster was very clear, with big dials for the speedometer and tachometer and smaller gauges for the fuel level and the coolant temperature. Even though Mitsubishi installed rear seats, those were fit only for small dogs and child-seats without a child inside.
Chrysler produced the base, 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engines. They offered decent performances, but the star was the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive version, which could complete the 0-60 mph (0-97 kph) run in less than seven seconds, while the turbocharged front-wheel-drive was even quicker.
The Eclipse stands for the alchemical process through which a horse is made into a car.
All jokes aside, it was named after an English racehorse which won a record 26 races during the 18th century. Naturally, the car was styled as a coupe and fitted with a variety of powerful engines to better express its revvy nature. Having shared its platform with the Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser, the Eclipse came with a choice of three petrol engines ranging in power output from 92 hp to 195 hp. Engines were couple with a choice of front-wheel drive systems fro the base and mid-level trims while high-end equipment levels were available in 4-wheel drive.