Mitsubishi released retooled versions of its popular Eclipse sport coupe as early 2003 models, and 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 2003 lineup.
The RS has been dropped for 2005. A new optional Remix package for the GS model includes top-stitch charcoal leather front seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a six-speaker 210-watt audio system with a six-CD changer.
A redesigned Eclipse is expected as a 2006 model. Eclipse coupes and Spyder convertibles are built in Normal, Ill.
(Skip to details on the: Eclipse Spyder Convertible)
Other than front-end modifications in 2003, the current Eclipse’s overall appearance is similar to the 2000 – 2002 models. Composite taillights use three lamps behind clear lenses. Finned-spoke 17-inch wheels go on GT and GTS models, while the GS gets 16-inch aluminum wheels.
All coupes ride a 100.8-inch wheelbase, stand 51.6 inches tall and measure 176.8 inches long overall. A rear spoiler is installed on all models, and the GT and GTS coupes get integrated fog lamps.
The Eclipse coupe seats up to four occupants, but the backseat is tight for adults. Cargo space totals 16.9 cubic feet.
All models have air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and 50/50-split folding rear seatbacks. The GT adds steering-wheel audio controls, a 210-watt CD stereo and premium sport fabric upholstery. The GTS features leather front seating surfaces and a 210-watt stereo with a six-CD changer.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the GS coupe 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. The Eclipse’s available four-speed automatic 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 trim levels.
The GTS coupe does its job well, but it comes across as a little lifeless compared with Eclipses of the past � almost like 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 that bothersome. Acceleration from a standstill and when 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.
A GTS edition joined the 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, 3.0-liter V-6, while the GS continues with four-cylinder power.
Little has changed for 2005 other than three new body colors and the addition of a Remix option group (like the one offered for the Eclipse coupe) for the GS convertible. All convertibles have air conditioning, a 210-watt CD stereo, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Back to top