Used 1996 Eagle Summit Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

Nothing changes for the Mitsubishi-built Summit except a new choice of paint colors. The Summit wagon, a cross between a sedan and a minivan, gets new colors and seat fabrics.

Vehicle overview

Poor Eagle. Dodge and Plymouth get sporty and attractive Neons, while Eagle must make do with the Mitsubishi-built Summit. We don't think that the Summit is a bad car or anything, but its styling looks a little milque toasty next to its well-groomed cousins.

The Coupe, however, can be turned into a slick little performer when it's equipped with the ESi Package. The addition of alloy wheels rounds out this not-bad looking coupe and the 113-horsepower engine can move its 2200 pounds with alacrity.

The Eagle Summit Sedans are flying with clipped wings when they compete against compact sedans from Chevrolet and Ford. Once again, the car is competent, but invisible in this market. Nothing about the Summit sedan stands out, and its relatively high cost, due to the rising yen, makes this car impractical for those who are shopping for a value-priced compact.

Summits are decent cars, and the ESi coupe is a pretty good value; optioned out it costs under $14,000 and delivers a good time. Steer away from the Summit sedan if possible. Better deals are available down the road at a Ford, Chevy, or Dodge dealer.

A cross between a mini minivan and a mid-size station wagon, the Summit Wagon is a direct descendant of the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista from the late Eighties. Mitsubishi pioneered the mini minivan concept nearly a decade ago, when it's funky wagon was first distributed through Chrysler dealerships. The Colt Vista became a minor cult favorite with active families because of its versatility and reliability.

In 1992, Mitsubishi followed up with this little number, and again offered Chrysler the opportunity to distribute a version at Jeep-Eagle stores. Lacking the four conventionally-opening side doors that the Colt Vista had, the Summit Wagon makes do with a sliding right side door and a tailgate. Available with all-wheel drive, the Summit Wagon plays many roles for its owner. With the rear seats folded, it can haul a week's worth of camping gear to your favorite site. Or, with the rear seat in place, it comfortably seats five passengers and a generous amount of cargo. The Summit Wagon is at once a minivan, sport utility and midsize sedan.

Unfortunately, not many buyers seem to want such a versatile vehicle. Mitsubishi canceled its versions of these wagons last year due to lackluster sales, and Eagle is expected to do the same soon. Changes for 1996 are limited to color and fabric changes. There are several mini minivans similar to the Summit in size and concept due on the market soon; one of them is already here, and it's available at your local Honda dealer. We think the Summit Wagon is a far better value than the Odyssey, but test drive both to be sure it's right for you.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.