Full 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse Review
What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Mitsubishi Eclipse features an auxiliary audio jack and stability control as standard equipment. Optional add-ons have been expanded to include Bluetooth and a rearview camera. A new GS Sport model combines the style of the range-topping GT with the affordability and fuel efficiency of the GS line.
Good looks will only get you so far in this world. This adage seems well-suited to the modernly attractive 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse. From outward appearances, the Eclipse looks to be a sporty, sprightly performer that can provide plenty of behind-the-wheel entertainment. But the reality is that this Mitsubishi is going to be a little disappointing for folks expecting high levels of performance.
The Eclipse isn't a complete impostor. In GT trim, it's got a throaty V6 that cranks out 265 horsepower -- a healthy number for this type of car. And its handling is sportier than that of most other midsize coupes. But the Eclipse is still mostly a sleek ride for those who appreciate style more than performance. And that's what the current Eclipse has been serving up since it took to the stage in 2006.
For the 2010 Eclipse, there are just a few feature and cosmetic changes. The biggest news is the addition of some desirable new features (an auxiliary audio jack being the most notable) and adjustments to the available trim levels. The addition of a midrange model -- the GS Sport -- embellishes the base four-cylinder GS model with styling and convenience features found on the top-of-the-line GT. The GT has more standard features (last year's Premium Sport Package option is essentially now standard) but the sticker price has gone up correspondingly.
Mitsubishi's 2010 Eclipse essentially serves as a middle ground between small and nimble coupes like the Honda Civic Si and bigger midsize coupes like the Nissan Altima coupe. Unfortunately, we just don't see this middle ground as all that appealing. The aforementioned Civic Si as well as cars like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Mazdaspeed 3 and Volkswagen GTI all provide more performance with comparable features and price tags. Midsize coupes like the Altima and Honda Accord coupe, meanwhile, are more comfortable, spacious and luxurious. For these reasons, we suggest that prospective Eclipse buyers weigh their appearance vs. performance priorities and carefully shop the competition.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse hatchback sport coupe is offered in three trim levels. The base GS comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, an integrated rear spoiler, keyless entry, cruise control, 50/50-split-folding rear seats and full power accessories. The standard six-speaker audio system includes a CD player with MP3 playback capability and an auxiliary audio jack. Options for the GS include a remote engine starter, an iPod adapter, various aerodynamic enhancements and a metallic fuel door.
New for 2010, the GS Sport trim level bridges the gap between the GS and GT models. The GS Sport features the four-cylinder drivetrain from the GS, wrapped up in the GT's exterior styling. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, a sunroof, a rear spoiler, a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system (with satellite radio), Bluetooth and a reverse camera with rearview-mirror-mounted display.
The V6-powered GT model includes the GS Sport's equipment as well as upgrades like foglamps, larger rear brakes, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, heated side mirrors, automatic climate control, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a compass, an outside temperature display and aluminum scuff plates and pedals.
Powertrains and Performance
The Eclipse GS models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 162 hp and 162 pound-feet of torque. The base GS has a five-speed manual transmission as standard or a four-speed automatic as an option. The GS Sport has the automatic as standard. The GT's 3.8-liter V6 produces 265 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque and comes paired to either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic.
Across the Eclipse range, fuel economy is just about average compared to other sporty coupes. The manual-equipped GS gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined; highway mileage drops to 27 with the automatic. The more powerful V6 checks in lower with 16/25/19 mpg for the manual and 16/24/19 for the automatic.
The 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse comes standard with antilock brakes, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. For 2010, stability control is standard for all Eclipse models. Open head restraints protect front occupants, but are absent in the rear. The Eclipse coupe has not been crash tested as of this writing, but the related Eclipse Spyder convertible received a top rating of "Good" for its performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Eclipse's cabin is both stylish and simple, thanks to a sweeping dash and attractive chrome-rimmed gauges with cool blue backlighting. Unfortunately, this pleasingly modern design is tempered by the use of some low-quality plastic materials. The front seats are well contoured and supportive, but the rear seats fail to provide much headroom due to the sloping rear hatchback. That hatchback design does provide some extra utility, however, as do the 50/50-split-folding rear seats.
For many drivers, the 2010 Mitsubishi Eclipse's driving dynamics may be a bit of a disappointment. The GT's V6 produces plenty of power, but getting all those horses to the pavement can often result in a large dose of wheelspin and torque steer. In contrast to the V6, the four-cylinder struggles with the Eclipse's heavy curb weight -- acceleration with the smaller engine could best be described as anemic.
Another item of contention would be the large turning circle, which necessitates many more multiple-point turns than with other vehicles. Overall handling should satisfy most drivers, but those with an appetite for performance would likely find inspiration in more nimble choices like the Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Genesis Coupe.