Mitsubishi released “retooled” versions of its popular Eclipse sport coupe as early 2003 models. The Eclipse Spyder convertible earned comparable treatment.
The restyling was moderate in scope, but the new urethane front fascia borrowed heavily from Mitsubishi’s SST concept vehicle. A new GTS model joined the base RS, midrange GS and performance-oriented GT coupes in the lineup. (Skip to details on the: Eclipse Spyder convertible)
For 2004, the RS coupe gains power mirrors and a six-speaker audio system. A 210-watt stereo system with an in-dash six-CD changer and steering-wheel controls is available in the GS and GT models. Eclipse coupes and Spyder convertibles are built in Normal, Ill.
Except for front-end modifications in 2003, the current Eclipse’s overall appearance is similar to the 2000 – 2002 models. Composite taillights use three lamps that sit behind clear lenses. Finned 17-inch wheels go on GT and GTS models, the RS runs on 15-inchers, and the GS gets 16-inch aluminum wheels.
All coupes ride a 100.8-inch wheelbase and measure 51.6 inches tall and 176.8 inches long overall. A rear spoiler is installed on all models except the RS, and the GT and GTS coupes get integrated fog lights and ground-effects body components.
Eclipse coupes seat four occupants, but backseat room is tight for adults. Cargo space totals 16.9 cubic feet.
All models have air conditioning, power windows and locks, and an engine immobilizer anti-theft system. The GS has cruise control, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and split, folding rear seats. The GT adds a cargo area light and premium port fabric upholstery. The GTS features a leather-trimmed interior, steering-wheel audio controls and a 210-watt stereo with a six-CD changer. Leather upholstery is optional in the GT.
Under the Hood
The RS and GS models use a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower when connected to a five-speed-manual transmission and 142 hp when teamed with the optional four-speed automatic. The 3.0-liter V-6 in the GT coupe makes 200 hp and 205 pounds-feet of torque. The V-6 in the GTS coupe has variable induction, which boosts output to 210 hp. Mitsubishi’s Sportronic automatic transmission in GS, GT and GTS Eclipses has a separate gate to permit manual gear changes.
Side-impact airbags and antilock brakes are included in the GTS coupe. These features are not offered on other coupe trims.
Even though the GTS coupe does its job well, it comes across as a little lifeless compared with Eclipses of the past — as if it’s been toned down too much. The GTS handles capably and is easy to drive, but it doesn’t feel as sporty as it looks. It corners crisply, steers with a satisfying level of precision and feels light on its feet.
Ride quality is great on smooth roads, and most bumps aren’t all that bothersome. Acceleration from a standstill and for passing is excellent, and the automatic transmission shifts smoothly when left to its own devices. The seats are highly supportive but lack side bolstering. The rear spoiler impairs rearward visibility.
Related Model: Eclipse Spyder convertible
A GTS edition also joined the previous GS and performance-oriented GT Spyder convertibles in 2003. Mitsubishi describes the GTS as “the most potent, performance-ready, fun-brokering Spyder to date.” Both the GT and GTS convertibles use a 210-hp V-6 engine, while the GS continues with four-cylinder power.
Little has changed for 2004 other than two new colors for the soft-top and three new body colors. All models have air conditioning, a 210-watt CD stereo system, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an engine immobilizer anti-theft system. Back to top