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Avg. Price Paid:$7,347 - $10,366
Original MSRP: $19,999 - $29,599
MPG: 20 City / 28 Hwy
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2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse was new.

Test drivers say the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse's performance is fine, but not near the capabilities of the top sports cars. AutoWeek reports that the car "shifts and steers well, but not great; it's fast, though not thrilling fast; and it handles nicely." Meanwhile, Car and Driver notes that the Eclipse's road characteristics show "it's now become more of a grand tourer than a back-roads blaster."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse is available with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine or the GT trim's 3.8-liter V6. Most note that the four cylinder with 162 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque is a capable engine, even if it's not the favorite. MarketWatch says it's "not as refined as some of the Honda fours," but nevertheless "is most pleasant to live with. Out on the highway the four settled down nicely at normal cruising speed and was little heard from." AutoWeek also notes that the engine "performs more than acceptably as well, and even at mild elevation (just more than 2000 feet above sea level), never feel wheezy or strained for breath." When it comes to fuel economy, the Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2008 Eclipse at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on highways with a five-speed manual transmission. With the four-speed automatic transmission, the Eclipse rates at 20 mpg in the city, 26 on highways.

The GT's V6 with 263 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque is considered the best choice. Motor Trend says the engine is "smooth, lusty, and great-sounding" while USA Today warns that "it has enough muscle that you'd better be ready when you floor the gas." Other reviewers notice a growl at high speeds that not everyone finds pleasant. Although Edmunds says the "buttery-smooth" engine "makes a great exhaust note, and pulls really hard," Car and Driver remarks that "this latest Eclipse cruises serenely until you zing the V-6 to its 6500 rpm-redline, where it aurally resembles something created by Alfa Romeo."

Of course the extra power is a trade-off for lower gas mileage, but MarketWatch still says the GT's numbers are "not bad for a sporty car." The EPA rates the Eclipse GT at 16 mpg in the city, 26 on the highways, when using a six-speed manual transmission. The GT with a five-speed automatic rates at 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

The Eclipse also has various transmission options. The base trim with the four-cylinder engine is paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. The GT trim has either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic.

Reviewers generally agree that drivers who prefer to shift their own gears will be pleased with either trim's manual setup. USA Todaysays the base model's five-speed "clutch engages so gracefully that you have to try pretty hard to stall the car from a standstill, or to accomplish a jerky shift. The shift lever moves crisply, which is an accomplishment in a front-drive car." USA Today finally concludes that the five-speed manual adequately adds "to the four-banger's fun level."

Acceleration is also sufficient with the Eclipse's five-speed manual. Car and Driver says the base model could achieve 60 miles per hour in 8.2 seconds with the five speed, "not thrill-ride territory, but adequate if haste isn't a major issue."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel especially likes the "rocketlike acceleration" provided with the GT's "fluid-shifting" six-speed manual. Meanwhile, Edmunds states that "with medium throws and easy clutch work, our six-speed Eclipse GT pulled a 6.8-second 0-60 and a 14.9 quarter-mile."

Reviews are not as glowing about the Eclipse's automatic transmissions. Edmunds finds the base trim's four-speed automatic "short of passing power," while USA Todaythinks the GT's five-speed "shifts almost urgently among gears, but never ruffles the power flow whether going up or down through the gears."

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers see good and bad in the 2008 Eclipse's road manners. Edmunds determines that "the Eclipse is not a model athlete like the 350Z or RX-8, but turn onto a twisty road, and it's ready to run." However, when it comes to the Eclipse's independent suspension -- MacPherson strut with coil springs in the front and multi-link with coil springs for the rear -- most say the ride is punishing. Consumer Guide reports "noticeable impact harshness over sharp bumps," while the Los Angeles Times writer says, "I do not expect nor require flying-carpet ride from short-wheelbase sports coupes, but the Eclipse GT's suspension is choppy and head tossing on anything but rink-smooth asphalt."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks the suspension coupled with the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering "make the Eclipse feel racy." Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times calls steering "quick" and the Sacramento Bee says it's "instantly responsive and precise." But other writers are not impressed. The Los Angeles Times says the sports car's 40-feet turning circle is "laughable. That's city bus territory. I tried to turn into my driveway and missed it by about 5 feet." Consumer Guide also has problems with the turning radius and describes it as "a real hassle in tight spots."

A good number of reviewers also complain about torque steer with the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse, especially with the higher level GT. Consumer Guide specifically notices the problem "in brisk acceleration," and the Los Angeles Times explains that the Eclipse "tends to get fretful on trailing throttle. Generally, the car doesn't feel very secure when driven hard." The Arizona Republic finds "a strong tendency to understeer in turns ... the car plowing ahead ponderously rather than nimbly responding to steering and throttle inputs."

Some others suggest torque steer "shouldn't be a surprise when you put that much power through the front tires," as Edmunds states. To the Orlando Sentinel, "it isn't a problem once you grow accustomed to it. The Eclipse GT has traction control, and it kicks in before the torque steer becomes annoying."

There's a variety of opinions concerning the Eclipse's disc brakes. Consumer Guide finds both "good stopping power" and pedal feel and USA Today agrees, calling them "spot-on in feel and apparent prowess." But the Los Angeles Times describes them as "grabby and unprogressive," and Edmunds claims they "aren't on the same level" as class competitors. "They felt solid during repeated runs on twisty roads, but when we summoned their full reserves at the test track, the best they could do from 60 mph was 131 feet. A Mustang GT can do it in 121. An RX-8 can do it in 108."

Review Last Updated: 2/20/09

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