2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Review
Test drivers say the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse has an aggressive look, but lacks the performance to back it up. Although the Eclipse’s affordable sports car competitors offer more thrilling performance, the Eclipse is well-suited to those who are looking for a sporty design, but don’t need a powerful engine under the hood.
The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse doesn’t perform as well as many of its affordable sports car competitors. Reviewers note that while four-cylinder models are adequate for commuting, you shouldn’t expect them to burn rubber. In addition to being short on power, the Eclipse is front-wheel drive, which is uncommon for an affordable sports car. This means that its handling isn’t as engaging as cars like the Mazda Miata or Nissan 370Z.
Better performance is available by opting for the GT trim, which comes with a 265-horsepower V6 engine, but test drivers complain that it’s downside is too much torque steer (a condition that causes front-wheel drive cars to pull to one side during acceleration). The Eclipse’s suspension is also tuned to provide drivers with a comfortable daily commute. While this might be a detriment to enthusiasts, shoppers interested in the Eclipse’s sporty looks and comfortable ride may not mind as much.
Inside, the Eclipse is also a mixed bag. Reviewers say that its interior is attractive, with comfortable front seats, but they’re turned off by the cheap plastics and sub-par materials. Although the front seats are generally regarded as comfortable and supportive, more than one reviewer has added poor outward visibility and a cramped back seat to the Eclipse’s list of demerits. Perhaps the Eclipse’s greatest attribute is its long, 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe matches the Eclipse’s lengthy coverage and is ranked at the top of its class for its performance, practicality and price.
Other Sports Cars to Consider
If you're in the market for a four-passenger affordable sports car that matches the Eclipse’s long powertrain warranty, but also want more power and standard features, as well as a more useable back seat, check out the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. At $22,250, the base Genesis Coupe is $2,750 more than the base Eclipse, but it also provides 48 more horsepower, as well as standard Bluetooth and USB connections. Unlike the Eclipse, the Genesis Coupe is rear-wheel drive, which contributes to its sporty nature. However, unlike the Eclipse, the Genesis Coupe isn’t offered as a convertible.
Shoppers who’re drawn to the Eclipse Spyder, but would like a sporty convertible with impressive handling may want to test drive the Mazda Miata. With prices starting at roughly $23,000, the Miata undercuts the Eclipse Spyder’s base price by nearly $5,000 and matches its cargo capacity. The downside is that you’ll lose the Spyder’s back seat, but most reviewers say that it’s not very spacious or comfortable. Additionally, the Miata can’t match the Eclipse’s long powertrain warranty, which may appeal to shoppers who seek the assurance of Mitsubishi’s lengthy coverage.
Mitsubishi Eclipse: The Details
With the exception of the new SE trim, which adds dark alloy wheels, black mirrors and rocker panel graphics to the GS Sport trim, the Mitsubishi Eclipse carries over into the 2012 basically unchanged.
Starting at about $19,500, the base Eclipse GS coupe comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and locks, keyless entry and a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary input. At almost $25,000, GS Sport models carry these features, and also add a four-speed automatic transmission, heated leather front seats, a sunroof and a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo system. If you want additional power, the Eclipse GT starts at roughly $29,400 and comes with all the features listed above but substitutes a 3.8-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Shoppers interested in a convertible can expect to add roughly $3,000 to the coupe’s price to get the Eclipse Spyder, which is available in GS Sport, SE and GT trims.
- "Cramped, noisy, and difficult to see out of, Eclipse sacrifices much for the sake of style. No version possesses the handling poise of rivals that benefit from lighter weight and/or rear- or all-wheel drive. Still, Eclipse's sporty character, powerful available V6, and a convertible model hold some appeal for buyers who favor youthful exuberance over balanced performance." -- Consumer Guide
- "Outdated in just about every aspect, the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse just can't keep up with the latest sport coupes and convertibles." -- Edmunds
- "While other two-door hatchbacks, such as the Volkswagen GTI and Mini Cooper, fall into the same price range as the Eclipse Coupe, neither can match the up-level Eclipse GT's 265-horsepower engine. However, the V6-powered Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are both less expensive and more powerful than the Eclipse GT." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "If you don't want your car to feel old in a couple of years, Mitsubishi's futuristically retro, sporty-sounding Eclipse will keep both of you feeling young." -- Road and Track
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