Used 1997 Eagle Talon Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

New front and rear fascias, bodyside cladding, bright new paint colors and "sparkle" wheels and wheel covers are guaranteed to attract attention to this overshadowed model.

Vehicle overview

The first-generation Diamond-Star coupes won countless awards during their four-and-a-half year run, which began in 1990. They could be had as sporty econocars, turbocharged street racers, and all-wheel-drive sport coupes. A joint development between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, the coupes were built in Illinois and sold under Eagle, Mitsubishi and Plymouth banners.

1995 brought a new generation of Diamond-Stars, and rather than arriving as triplets, they came as Eagle and Mitsubishi twins. The shape is low, wide and provocative. The interior features a sweeping center console and excellent ergonomics. As before, the Talon is equipped with a hatchback and folding rear seats that increase utility. The engine lineup includes a Chrysler 2.0-liter, four cylinder powering the base models, and a tweaked turbo engine motivating the TSi and TSi AWD. Chrysler claims the turbocharged TSi can get from zero to 60 in a speedy 6.5 seconds.

Like the rest of the Eagle lineup, however, the Talon is not selling. After getting beaten in sales 2-1 this year by the mechanically identical Mitsubishi Eclipse, stylists at Chrysler seem to feel that making the Talon bolder in appearance will increase sales. We disagree; the additional bodyside cladding and giant emblem on the hood renders the car comical. Even Pontiac, the long-reigning champion of putting cladding on anything with four wheels, is starting to realize that side skirts and obnoxious plastic doesn't make a car faster or more attractive. If anything, we think that Eagle should have toned down the cars appearance from 1996. Offering a body-color roof, instead of the standard gloss black, and deleting the bright orange reflector from the rear decklid would probably have made the car more palatable to society at large.

Other than our aesthetic quibbles, we like the Talon. It's quick, handles well, and the top-rung model offers the security and stability of all-wheel drive for drivers who regularly pilot rain-slicked or snow-covered roads. We would, however, like to see ABS standard on the TSi and TSi AWD. Chiseling a few hundred more dollars away from consumers for ABS on a sports car seems rather cheap to us.

If you are looking for something quick and sporty with distinctive looks and all-wheel drive traction, this just might be your dream machine. If, however, you are not keen on attracting attention at every stop sign in town, check out the cool and restrained Mitsubishi Eclipse. It's the same candy, but we like the wrapper more.

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.