Mitsubishi For 2000
By Carey Russ
Mitsubishi has two new vehicles for 2000. The popular Eclipse sports coupe has grown up. The 2000 Eclipse is a clean break from previous versions, and offers more room and comfort than was found in earlier models. The Montero Sport mid-size sport-utility doesn't look as changed as the Eclipse, but nonetheless has important revisions.
The Eclipse has been the most important car in the Mitsubishi franchise in recent years. Company spokespeople like to say that a little bit of Eclipse is found in every Mitsubishi. At the time of its introduction, it brought the spirit and high-tech specifications of the then-ascendent Japanese supercoupes to the popularly-priced coupe class. But times have changed. The Japanese supercoupes are history, and comfort, style, and spaciousness are now as important as performance to many coupe buyers. So the first really all-new Eclipse since its debut in 1989 is larger in every way, with a more spacious, comfort-oriented interior with real room in the rear seat for two people. It's a definite eye-catcher, with "geo-mechanical" styling closely following that of the SST show car. Despite the increased size and emphasis on comfort, performance is not too seriously affected, and actually improved for the base model. A 2.4-liter, 154-hp four-cylinder replaces the old 2.0-liter unit. The turbo and all-wheel drive variants are gone, but the new 3.0-liter V6 produces equivalent power. The optional "Sportronic" automanual transmission is one of the best such made. As the original eclipse was a car for its time, so too is the new one.
It takes a close look to tell the 2000 Montero Sport from the 1999 version, but from behind the wheel there's a world of difference. Outside, although the basic body shape is unchanged, the grille and front bumper styling and taillights are new. Mechanically, all 2000 Montero Sport models are powered by a V6 engine, of 3.0 liters for most versions and 3.5-liters for the top-of-the-line Limited. A new three-link coil-spring rear suspension significantly improves the ride and handling. Two- and four-wheel drive versions are available.