Mitsubishi rolled out a new Eclipse sports coupe in the fall of 1999 and follows this spring with the introduction of the Eclipse Spyder convertible as an early 2001 model.
Both are built at Mitsubishis plant in Normal, Ill., which also turns out the Galant sedan. The Eclipse is based on the front-drive Galant platform, but it sports unique styling. The new Eclipse is larger than its predecessor and is now available with a V-6 engine.
The turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive that were available on the previous generation are gone from the current lineup. All models come with front-wheel drive.
The new Eclipse wears what Mitsubishi describes as geo-mechanical styling with arched lines for the hood, roof and rear end accented by lower-body ribs at the front and along the sides. Overall length grows 3 inches to 175, and the new models are slightly taller and wider.
Like the previous coupe, the new is a two-door hatchback. The convertible comes with a power soft-top and has a glass rear window with a defogger as new features.
Mitsubishi says the new model is roomier than the old, but the back is still hard to get in and out of and will cramp the style of anyone more than 5 feet 8 inches tall. The rear seatback on the coupe folds for extra cargo space but is fixed on the convertible to allow space for top storage.
Air conditioning, power windows and locks, and an adjustable steering column are standard on all models.
Under the Hood
Base RS and mid-level GS models come with a 2.4-liter inline-four-cylinder engine used in the previous generation, but this year it is rated for 154 horsepower instead of 141. The GT models use a 3.0-liter V-6 that is new to the Eclipse line and produces 205 hp. With either engine, a five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional.
Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats are available only on GT models as part of option packages that start at $2,600.