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Three new colors debut on the 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse. Audio systems are revised, and RS models can be ordered with a rear spoiler. Remote keyless entry systems get a new panic feature.
Since 1990, the Eclipse has been giving budget-minded enthusiasts style and performance at bargain prices. Last year's redesign of the Eclipse improved on this great idea.
The RS, GS and GS-T have front-wheel drive, but different engines. A twin-cam Chrysler motor powers the RS and GS, while the GS-T gets a potent turbo version of a Mitsubishi 2.0-liter engine. The top-of-the-line GSX gets the Mitsubishi power plant, and an all-wheel-drive system for less than hospitable climates.
Prices have crept up a bit and the Eclipse faces stiffer competition in the sport coupe class than it did when it was first introduced in 1990. Still, with all-wheel drive, good looks and fantastic performance, the GSX is worth consideration at $25,000. The GS and GS-T must duel with competitors that offer the same level of refinement and power, often at lower prices.
To keep the Eclipse in the hunt, Mitsubishi has made several improvements for 1996. Audio systems have been substantially revised, optional remote keyless entry systems get a Panic feature, and upper trim levels, and a Homelink transmitter comes standard on GS, GS-T and GSX models. Three new colors are available, and buyers of the base level RS model can opt for a spoiler this year.
The Eclipse is essentially the same car as the Eagle Talon, but the Mitsubishi looks much better, to our eyes. The tail is tidier, and the roof of the Eclipse is painted the same color as the rest of the car, unlike the Talon's all-black roof treatment. Dual airbags are standard for this sleek sportster, but antilock brakes are optional on all models. The interior is a nice place to spend time, with an organically shaped dashboard that sweeps in front of the driver and between the seats, putting all controls in easy reach.
Shop carefully for a sport coupe, but definitely consider the Eclipse, especially over its less sophisticated sibling, the Talon.
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