Sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,500 – $4,500*


1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T 2-door coupe


1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX 2-door coupe


1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX 2-door coupe


1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX 2-door coupe


1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS-T 2-door coupe

Pros:
  • Acceleration (GS-T, GSX)
  • All-wheel drive (GSX)
  • Optional antilock brakes
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Acceleration (RS, GS w/automatic)
  • Cargo room
  • Rear-seat room
  • Road noise

Though still one of the best sports coupes, the competition caught up with Eclipse during its second generation. Other than the all-wheel-drive model, this version of the Eclipse offers nothing you can’t get for less money somewhere else.

Overview

Still mechanically similar to the Eagle Talon, the redesigned 1995 Eclipse got dual airbags, more-rounded styling, a larger interior, and a new base engine. Although the coupe’s wheelbase grew by 1.6 inches, it measured slightly shorter overall. Eclipse came in four models. The base RS, GS, and GS-T had front-wheel drive, while the top-line GSX was equipped with all-wheel drive. All models had 5-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed automatic. The RS and GS used a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. GS-T and GSX models used a turbocharged 4-cylinder, rated at 205 or 210 horsepower. Antilock brakes were optional on all models.

Yearly Updates

1996 Eclipse
Spyder convertibles debuted during the spring of ’96, in GS and GS-T form. Whereas the GS coupe used a Chrysler 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine, the GS Spyder adopted a 2.4-liter engine that made 141 horsepower. The GS-T Spyder, like the higher-performance coupe, got a turbocharged Mitsubishi-built 2.0-liter, rated at 210 horsepower. Both Spyders included a power top with a glass rear window and electric defroster, plus power windows and door locks.
1997 Eclipse
Facelifting included larger air intakes, more of a bulge in the front fascia and tail panel, reworked headlights, and revised lower-body cladding. Turbo coupes got a higher-profile rear spoiler.
1998 Eclipse
The Eclipse was a virtual rerun, following the previous year’s styling update.
1999 Eclipse
With the Eagle Talon gone, Eclipse carried on alone. Changes for ’99 included white-faced gauges on GSX and GS-T models and standard and optional equipment shuffles. A redesigned Eclipse appeared for 2000.

Engines

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

All Eclipse coupes held a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts. The normally aspirated engine in RS and GS models developed 140 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine went into GS-T and GSX models, making 210 horsepower (205 horsepower when equipped with an automatic transmission). Spyder GS convertible used a different engine: 2.4 liters and 141 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard in all models, with 4-speed automatic optional.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
22/33
21/31
27.5

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/143
Engine HP 141
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 148
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed manual
22/30
20/28
21.5

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 205-210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 214
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
23/31
20/27
22.7
18.4

Road Test

The base engine revs smoothly and quickly without excess noise, but it’s no powerhouse. Therefore, acceleration with the automatic transmission is marginal for freeway on-ramps and in passing sprints. Progress is livelier with the slick-shifting 5-speed manual gearbox. Turbos are decidedly faster. Unfortunately, Eclipse still suffers from some “turbo lag.”

All Eclipse models offer nimble handling, good grip, and quick, accurate steering. On the downside, the ride turns choppy on freeways and rough roads, especially on turbocharged models. You also must endure plenty of road noise. All-wheel-drive models are capable of exhibiting race carlike moves, of the sort matched only by big-buck coupes.

Front occupants have adequate head room but may still feel crowded. The tiny back seat is strictly for preteens. The dashboard is well laid out, except for a center-mounted stereo unit that’s too low. Cargo space is adequate, but with a tall liftover for loading and unloading.

Spyder convertibles look sharp, and deliver fun-in-the-sun driving at a comparatively reasonable price. Unfortunately, several convertibles we’ve driven have suffered from serious shakiness, even when rolling down smooth roads.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS 5-speed

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.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 2
20%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 43

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.8 172.2 68.3 51.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
5.1 16.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 34.9 43.3 28.4
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.8 172.2 68.3 50.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.6 16.9 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.9 34.3 43.3 28.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Eclipse 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

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

Collision 123
Injury 105
Theft 203

Trouble Spots

Air springs
Description: The front springs make creaking, popping, or squeaking noises when going over bumps requiring insulators to be installed on the upper coils. (1995-99)
Crankshaft
Description: Rough idling, difficulty shifting due to thrust bearing wear and crankshaft movement (fore/aft) also known as “crank walk.” (1995-99)
Engine misfire
Description: Misfiring is common due to carbon on the spark plugs and is corrected by replacing the plugs and plug wires. (1995)
Fuel pump
Description: The vehicle is sensitive to fuel starvation caused by a clogged in-tank filter. (1995-97)
Fuel pump
Description: Noisy fuel pump may be result of a bad fuel-pressure regulator. (1995)
Rear axle noise
Description: Squeaking, rubbing, knocking, or tapping noises from the rear are eliminated by replacing the trailing-arm bushings (1995-97) or the shock-absorber insulator assembly. (1997-98)

Recall History

1995-96
Description: Rubber boots on lower ball joint can become damaged, allowing dirt and water intrusion, which can cause excessive wear and possible separation.
1995-96
Description: Incorrectly installed gaskets for fuel pump and/or gauge unit could allow fuel or fumes to escape.
1995-98 w/AWD
Description: Lockup of transfer case can occur, due to insufficient lubrication.
1997
Description: On a few cars, improperly welded passenger head-restraint support bracket on passenger side can break.
1998
Description: Dash-panel pad can shift, interfering with throttle-cable control.
1998-00 Spyder
Description: Bilingual English/Spanish removable airbag warning labels on dashboard and sunvisor do meet size requirements.
1999
Description: The battery-cable wiring harness can become heat damaged, leading to malfunctions in the turn signals and oil-pressure lamp.
1999
Description: The steering-column multifunction switch levers can become loose or break.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

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.