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#8

in 2012 Affordable Sports Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $12,694 - $17,964
Original MSRP: $19,499 - $32,599
MPG: 20 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Not as performance-oriented as many of its rivals, test drivers say that the front-wheel drive 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse is a comfortable daily driver with a sporty edge. Still, reviewers note that base four-cylinder models lack adequate acceleration when equipped with an automatic transmission, while V6-powered GTs are prone to torque steer under acceleration. Additionally, a large turning radius makes this affordable sports car less maneuverable than you might think.

  • "Not quite as sporty as its looks imply, but any Eclipse corners with ample grip and minimal body lean. Convertibles are impressively solid, suffering no noticeable handling penalty. Lighter GS models feel a bit better balanced than GTs. GTs do suffer torque steer in brisk acceleration, though convertibles slightly less so." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Behind the wheel, the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse underwhelms. The four-cylinder engine can barely propel the hefty car with any authority. The more powerful V6 is better suited to this application, though hard acceleration usually results in spinning tires and heavy doses of torque steer." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The front-wheel drive Eclipse is available with two engine options. The GS, GS Sport and SE models feature a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 162 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 162 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. A five-speed manual comes with the GS, while GS Sport and SE models get a standard four-speed automatic transmission that reviewers don’t like. They say that the combination of the automatic and the four-cylinder makes the Eclipse sluggish on the highway, although the combination is adequate if most of your driving is in the city.

Test drivers generally prefer the GT's 3.8-liter V6 engine that makes 265 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 262 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, although this increase of power comes at a significant price hike of roughly $10,000 compared to the base GS. However, reviewers say that adding more power to the Eclipse also equates to torque steer during acceleration. Additionally, shoppers who’d like to row their own gears can’t get GT models with a manual transmission. While drivers can choose between five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions for the GS, the GT is only offered with a five-speed automatic.

According to the EPA, the 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, GS Sport and SE net 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway regardless of the transmission. While the automatic Eclipse GT gets 17/25 mpg city/highway, fuel economy estimates are slightly lower for the Eclipse Spyder, which gets 20/27 and 16/24 mpg city/highway with the four-cylinder and V6, respectively.

  • "Manual-transmission GS models have adequate pep for most needs, but demand fairly frequent shifting to coax real life from the 4-cylinder. With automatic transmission, 4-cylinder models are acceptable around town, but lack highway passing punch." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 265-horsepower V6 powering the Eclipse GT is a better fit for the car's avant-garde styling, but again it's outclassed. Most current V6 sport coupes and convertibles boast at least 300 hp and better fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "The base GS comes with a 2.4-liter, 162-horsepower I-4 that, while not as refined as some of the Honda fours, is most pleasant to live with." -- MarketWatch

Handling and Braking

Test drivers report that the Mitsubishi Eclipse is a sporty car, but not a sports car. It’s unable to match the performance dynamics of class competitors, but serves as a comfortable daily driver with a sporting edge. Still, reviewers say that the Eclipse’s large turning radius means that this affordable sports car isn’t as maneuverable as you might think.

  • "A surprisingly large turning circle is a real hassle in tight spots. Eclipses exhibit good stopping control and brake-pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling is competent, though the large turning circle hampers slow-speed maneuverability. The Spyder exhibits noticeable chassis flex over rough pavement, but not enough to detract from the joys of al fresco motoring." -- Edmunds
  • "The car's chassis is considerably stiffer than that of its predecessor, improving handling. Meanwhile, four-wheel independent suspension ensures the ride is still comfortable." -- Left Lane News
  • "Brakes are spot-on in feel and apparent prowess." -- USA Today

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