SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 20,187 Price As Tested $ 23,544 Engine Type SOHC 24-valve 3.0 Liter V6 w/SMFI* Engine Size 181 cid/2972 cc Horsepower (200 hp CAL/NEV) (205 hp FED) @ 5500 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 205 @ 4000 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 100.8"/68.9"/175.4" Transmission Five-speed manual Curb Weight 2852 pounds Fuel Capacity 16.4 gallons Tires (F/R) 215/50R17, 90V Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/front-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Four-passenger/two-door Domestic Content 53 percent Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) 0.30 PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 20/28/23 0-60 MPH 7.5 seconds 1/4 (E.T.) 16.0 seconds @ 90.5 mph Top speed N/A * Sequential multi-point fuel injection
(Matt Hagin says the new millennia is bringing changes to the sports car business and that Mitsubishi has "tamed" its Eclipse. Bob Hagin finds the new Eclipse to be almost a replica of a Mitsubishi "concept" car of a few years ago but lots more practical.)
BOB - The Eclipse is 10 -years old now, and it was due for another makeover. In '98 Mitsubishi displayed its concept car, the "SST," at several of the big auto shows and the design has been transferred over to the new Eclipse almost unchanged. It replaces last year's top-of-the- line Eclipse GSX which was a genuine hot-rod with a turbo and all-wheel drive. Great for the Banzi Runner kids but it was a bit much for the average new car buyer who just wanted more cosmetic pazazz in his or her daily driver. The Eclipse is a more "drivable" car in its '00 form since it is, in effect, a Galant sedan with a much more "swoopy" body and a few more horses.
MATT - The new Eclipse is considerably more civilized under the skin too, Dad, and it's going to have lots more appeal to the general public. The car comes with an in-line four as the basic unit. The car can also be had with a new V6 engine that is the same unit that was put into last year's newly redesigned Galant. The Eclipse is offered in three different trim levels, starting with the RS then the upscale GS, both of which come standard with the four-cylinder. At the top of the heap is the fancy GT which can only be had with the six-banger. Our tester this week was the GT with a five-speed manual transmission. Although I find the stick-shift to be more fun, I think the automatic will be the transmission of choice for most buyers.
BOB - The automatic can be has with a neat feature called "Sportronic" which comes close to giving the driver the kick of running up and down through the gears without having to live with a clutch in urban stop-and-go traffic. It came on the GT and it's part of a package that has a traction control anti-slip system built in. The automatic offered for the GS has the automatic-manual system as well but it doesn't have traction control even as an option. The traction control isn't offered with the manual transmission and the RS can't be had with either Sportronic shifter or traction control.
MATT - Mitsubishi has done away with the turbos that have been in a Mitsubishi feature for a long time and it's probably for the better. The two engines are offered for the '00 Eclipse, the 2.4 liter in-line four cylinder and the 3.0 liter narrow-angle V6, are uncomplicated and straightforward. Both have single overhead cam designs with four valves per cylinder. This year-old V6 design is very smooth and pumps out a very torquey 205 horses without the quirkiness of the older turbocharged Eclipse engines. With the market for coupes cut in half over the last decade, Eclipse had to have a loyal following to have survived 10 years.
BOB - The '00 Eclipse is two hundred pounds heaver, three inches lower and a little wider than last year and is much more stylish. The tires on our GT were V-rated 215/50's mounted on 17-inch rims. The GT's come with ground affects add-ons and a rear spoiler to make it look lots more racy than it really is. Up front there's a low-mounted air dam that holds a pair of standard-equipment fog lights. There's no way around that fact that the Eclipse is really most comfortable as a two-seater but there is room in the rear for a pair of adult as long as the distance to be traveled isn't too far.
MATT - The GT come with disc brakes on all four corners but the four-cylinder cars use drum brakes in back. This new version has a lot of standard feature like 30-second-delay power windows, power door locks, an air filtration system, an anti-theft feature that disables the engine, tilt steering and a split-fold down rear seat back for extra long items like skis. The hood has two non-functional bulges in the hood and I guess it must be an Eclipse trade mark since they were on the older models, too.
BOB - Street racers are going to be put off by the new "gentrified" Eclipse GT, Matt, but we "mature" drivers will like it just fine.