Sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,100*

1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS

1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse

1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse

1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse interior

1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse 2.0-liter engine

  • Acceleration (except base, GS)
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Wet-weather traction (AWD)
  • Cargo room
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

In our view, the first-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse ranks as one of the best values among small sports coupes. We rate the GS with the 135-horsepower DOHC 4-cylinder and the turbocharged all-wheel-drive GSX as the “picks of the litter.”


Built on the same assembly line as the similar Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon, the Eclipse is a rakishly styled sporty coupe. Base and ES Eclipses offered a 92-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder. Move up to the the GS, and Mitsubishi mounted a 135-horsepower 2.0-liter, twin-cam 4-cylinder. The GS Turbo and all-wheel-drive GSX got a 195-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. A 5-speed manual gearbox was standard, with an optional 4-speed automatic (not available initially on turbo models). Antilock brakes were optional, but airbags were not.

Yearly Updates

1991 Eclipse
Antilock brakes and a 4-speed automatic are new options for the Eclipse GS Turbo and all-wheel-drive GSX. When mated with the automatic, however, horsepower dips from 190 to 180. A limited-slip differential is now standard on the GSX, but requires you to forfeit antilock brakes.
1992 Eclipse
A new nose with exposed headlamps replace the previous rendering with its pop-up lenses. The 1992 Eclipse also sports a new front air dam and trim accents in back.
1993 Eclipse
Antilock brakes become standard on the GSX rather than optional, while the other versions of the 1993 Eclipse receive several cosmetic and equipment changes. The GS receives a new free-standing rear spoiler, while all but the base model come with a wraparound spoiler with the ubiquitous center high-mount stoplamp.
1994 Eclipse
Few changes are instituted for 1994 in anticipation of an all-new version for 1995.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

For its base and GS versions, Mitsubishi provides its 92-horsepower, single-cam 1.8-liter. Move up to the GS DOHC, and a dual-cam, 135-horsepower, 16-valve 2.0-liter engine takes over. For the GS Turbo and GSX, an intercooled turbocharger is added, providing anywhere from 180 to 195 horsepower, depending on model year and transmission choice. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 4-speed automatic is optional on all Eclipses.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 135
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 125
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 180-195
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 203
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/107
Engine HP 92
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 105
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Neither the base unit nor the GS equipped with the 92-horsepower 1.8-liter have enough low-speed muscle to be satisfying with the automatic transmission. However, when paired with the manual, these are fine for budget-minded sports-car lovers. The DOHC version is much quicker in traffic and more responsive to the throttle. Both the GS Turbo and GSX are faster still, but the front-drive GS Turbo suffers from very noticeable torque steer, which causes us to prefer the GSX, which spreads the abundant power evenly between all four wheels. The all-wheel-drive setup gives the GSX outstanding grip, making it the best-handling sports car in its class. While we appreciate the antilock brakes provided on the GSX, we wish Mitsubishi could provide them as an option on all models.

Ride quality varies, depending on model, ranging from compliant but occasionally choppy on base and GS version to taut and slightly choppy on those with firmer suspensions and larger tires.

The low-slung fastback styling and compact dimensions provide only modest interior room. The tight cockpit up front and “for-pets-only” rear seat may not appeal to all tastes.


Model Tested: 1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 3


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 7

Total: 44


2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
97.2 172.8 66.7 51.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.2 15.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.9 34.1 43.9 28.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Eclipse 2-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 121
Injury 139
Theft 77

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Noise-suppression shims were released to cure a squeaking problem with rear disc brakes. (1990-91)
Exhaust system
Description: Cars with turbo engines had an emissions recall to replace the oxygen sensor with one that could endure higher temperatures. (1991-92)
Oil pump
Description: Cars with the 2.0-liter engine have noisy oil pumps, and a counter measure pump (with helical cut gears) is available and quieter. (1990-92)
Poor transmission shift
Description: Manual transmissions in which the shifter does not move smoothly between gears need a bottle of friction modifier added to the oil through the speedometer gear opening. (1990-92)
Steering problems
Description: Cars that drift or pull to the right may be cured by replacing the lower control arm with one having rear bushing with a built-in offset. (1994)
Transaxle leak
Description: Transaxle end clutch oil seal could leak leading to a loss of overdrive (fourth gear). (1994)
Vehicle shake
Description: Drivetrain vibrations may be eliminated by replacing the transmission mounting brackets. (1990-94)
Vehicle shake
Description: Vibration at idle is probably due to the upper radiator mounting posts not being centered in the mounting brackets. (1990-94)

Recall History

Description: Operation of factory-installed sunroof in “nonstandard” manner may cause hinge disengagement.
Description: Diluted primer may have been used on windshield-opening flanges on a small number of cars, which would not provide required retention of glass.
Description: Headlamp-wiring harness on some early models may break due to stress created by their pop-up devices.
Description: Front-seatbelt release button can break and pieces can fall inside.
1990-94 w/AWD
Description: Lockup of transfer case can occur, due to insufficient lubrication.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

Share this: