The Eclipse just might be the perfect sporty car for the budding, budget-minded enthusiast.
While the last Mitsubishi Eclipse rolled off of the production line several years ago, you can still find this sleek and iconic little sports coupe in the market today. Americans enjoyed a 20-plus year love affair with this fun Japanese car and its powerful engines, sleek styling, and affordability. Used car research will almost certainly lead you to the last of four generations of this iconic vehicle that graced the roads from 1990-2012.
Here are 10 reasons to choose a used Mitsubishi Eclipse:
- Fun in the sun.The sporty looking coupe comes in a variety of base styles, but all models share front-wheel drive and a zippy 2.4L four-cylinder engine that delivers some decent horsepower. Find a GT model in this great used sports car and you will be indulging in a burly 265-hp, 3.8L V6 with larger brakes and a sport-tuned suspension.
- Extra features galore. Specifically in the 2012 GS Sport and GT models, elements such as heated leather front seats and a power-operated driver's seat make even a used Mitsubishi Eclipse feel like a much more expensive vehicle. If you're lucky, you might find a sport model with a rear wing and 18-inch alloy wheels.
- Five on the floor. For sports car purists, knowing you can manually shift when the spirit moves you can really amp up the driving excitement. The optional manual shift ("Sportronic") mode for the automatic version of the 2011 coupe doesn't quite have the same appeal—but it’s close!
- Turbocharged, yet affordable. These two words generally don't go together, but a used Mitsubishi Eclipse offers sporty suspension and handling for a broader swath of the population. The performance reputation of the GT model slips a bit in the GS model, but drivers still enjoy overall good handling with a compliant chassis.
- Standard features. The Eclipse offers a wide variety of airbags even on base models. Dual-stage front airbags, front seat curtain airbags, and even front seat-mounted side impact airbags are all standard. Other features include brake override logic, active stability control, and an ABS system.
- Serious curb appeal. Even used, the Mitsubishi can still turn some heads. The smooth, fluid lines have a look that would be acceptable in any sports coupe today. Add in some styling extras such as the sloped roofline and center valance opening, and you've got a pretty sexy vehicle on your hands.
- Perfect for budding sports coupe enthusiasts. The Mitsubishi Eclipse offers an exciting glimpse into the world of Japanese motorsports. Even older versions like the 2008 model year have a sleek look made famous by a variety of fast-paced movies. The molded seats are often described as very comfortable and help hug your body through the curves you'll want to cruise.
- Surprisingly roomy. Many of the excellent reviews from customers cite that the front seats of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, especially the newer models, are surprisingly roomy for a sports coupe. While the back seat is probably not the best choice for a six-footer, the front seats are roomy enough for nearly any driver.
- Upgrades available. Since the Eclipse was a moderately-priced vehicle even when new, there are plenty of after-market upgrades that you can find to rev up performance. The lighter engines suffer a bit on pickup, but you can easily find some mods to give the stylish ride a little boost.
- Pump up the jam. Whether you get the stock Infinity sound system or luck out and find a used model with a high end system, you won't be disappointed with the sound that surrounds you. Crank up the tunes and enjoy a beautiful afternoon cruising in your coupe!
Bonus tip: The Eclipse gets pretty good gas mileage for a sportster. With highway gas mileage as high as 28 mpg, you may find that this fun option could actually become your preferred commuter car—which would definitely make getting stuck in traffic more fun!
Still not sure the Mitsubishi Eclipse is exactly the right vehicle for you? Check out some of these similar options to find one that might strike your fancy: the Nissan 350Z, Nissan 370Z, or a sassy little Mazda MX-5 Miata.