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The 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers an appealing blend of touring car comfort and sport coupe performance, all wrapped up in a sexy package.
Stylish design, V6's ample power, balanced ride and handling, comfortable front seats, powerful Rockford Fosgate audio system, plenty of cargo room.
Heavy for a sport coupe, mediocre performance with four-cylinder engine, large turning radius, cramped backseat, no stability control.
Available Eclipse Hatchback Models
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An anti-theft system is now standard on all Eclipses, while the Sun and Sound Package (power sunroof, 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system, auto-dimming rearview mirror) makes its way to the GT's options roster, providing a cheaper way to get these popular items without purchasing the pricey Premium Sport Package. Mitsubishi has also added a midgrade SE trim level for buyers who prefer the four-cylinder engine but still want goodies like leather upholstery and the upgraded stereo.
The current-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse is something of a return to its roots, at least in spirit. Although not available with a turbocharged inline four or all-wheel drive, the newest Eclipse does just fine with a powerful V6 (in GT form) and a well-balanced chassis. That V6 is the same broad-shouldered 3.8-liter unit found in the Galant and Endeavor. Although the Eclipse is on the heavy side for a sport coupe (a GT tips the scales at roughly 3,500 pounds), it still makes for an entertaining drive on a twisty road, while providing a softer ride than some more sporting competition. Last year's redesign also yielded big improvements in the cabin, where higher-quality materials and a more cohesive, flowing design prove that prior criticisms were taken seriously.
Overall, the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse strikes a nice balance between hard-core handling and a plush ride. Although not quite the corner carver that a 350Z or RX-8 is and not as ripping fast in a straight line as a Mustang GT, the Eclipse still provides a large measure of fun on a twisty road, while the GT's muscular V6 offers enough effortless thrust to make your local cops happy if you're not careful. The Eclipse GT is worth serious consideration if you're looking for something more fun than an Accord or Solara but with more comfort and refinement than the full-on performance cars mentioned earlier. The four-cylinder Eclipse GS and SE share most of these advantages; however, in this price range, cars like the Volkswagen GTI and Civic Si offer more performance and better value.
A two-door, four-seat hatchback, the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse comes in GS, SE and GT trim levels. Included as standard on the GS are 17-inch alloy wheels; power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; cruise control; air-conditioning; a height-adjustable driver seat; a CD player; a spoiler and a split-folding rear seat. The SE adds a sunroof, leather upholstery and a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system that includes steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, nine speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer -- both the sunroof and upgraded stereo are optional on the GS as part of the Sun and Sound Package. The SE's upgrades revert back to the options list on the top-of-the-line GT, but you're treated to a more powerful engine, an upgraded suspension with a front strut tower brace, foglights and a compass display. Further upgrades can be had on any of these trim levels through an appearance package, which fits the Eclipse with exterior aero trim pieces. Additional GT options include 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control and a power driver seat -- all are part of the pricey Premium Sport Package.
The Eclipse GS and SE models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 162 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The GT model features a 3.8-liter V6 engine that pumps out a hearty 263 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The GS and SE can be fitted with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic with a sequential-shift Sportronic mode. The GT goes one better in each case, with a six-speed manual or an optional five-speed Sportronic automatic. The Eclipse's hefty curb weight taxes the base four-cylinder during higher-speed acceleration, such as when passing on the highway, while the gutsy V6 boasts plenty of power for most any situation as well as a satisfying exhaust note.
Antilock brakes (with discs all around), traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length head curtain airbags are all standard. Stability control is not available on either trim level.
Soft, flowing shapes, such as a wavy dash pad color-matched to the exterior paint, mark the Eclipse's cabin. Although there is some hard plastic here and there, the overall materials quality is pretty good, as is build quality. Ice-blue lighting and individual pods for the main gauges add to the Mitsu's sporty character. Although storage cubbies are few, a large rear hatch opens up to a generous 15.7 cubic feet of cargo space. The Rockford Fosgate audio system can only be had through pricey option packages, but its sound quality is easily best-in-class; unfortunately, it doesn't include an MP3 player jack. Front seats are supportive and comfortable, while those in back are best left for small kids or packages. Small rear side windows and a rear end that droops down out of sight make rearward visibility and parallel parking challenging, but such is the price to be paid for the Eclipse's eye-catching style.
Apart from its SUV-like turning radius of 40 feet that can be a hassle when trying to park in a crowded area, there's little to complain about as far as the Eclipse's driving experience goes. A well-sorted suspension keeps the hefty sport coupe buttoned down in the turns and the handling is relatively neutral and composed, making the Eclipse feel smaller the harder you push it. And the entertaining handling doesn't come at the expense of agreeable ride quality, as the Eclipse absorbs most road imperfections without disturbing the occupants, making this Mitsubishi sport coupe a fine choice for daily driver and road trip duties.
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