1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Review


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List Price Estimate
$294 - $685

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Capitalizing on the recent success of convertible sport cars, Mitsubishi releases a topless version of its extremely successful pocket rocket, the Mitsubishi Eclipse. Unlike most convertibles, the Spyder is not merely a chopped version of the coupe. Instead, it was designed from square one to be a convertible. This results in a drop top that is extremely rigid with only a 50-pound weight gain over its hardtop sibling.

Available in entry-level GS or performance-oriented GS-T trim levels, the Eclipse Spyder is destined to impress the most demanding of taskmasters. Instead of the bellicose Chrysler-built 2.0-liter engine common to the GS coupe, the GS Spyder receives a 2.4-liter engine pulled from the Mitsubishi Galant. Horsepower figures are nearly identical for both power plants but the Spyder's engine has the definite edge in torque; 14 percent more available at a relatively low 3,000 rpm. The real excitement, however, lies with the GS-T. Using a proven Mitsubishi 2.0-liter intercooled turbo engine producing 210 horsepower, the GS-T offers more power than convertible competitors from BMW, Saab and Toyota. Pretty impressive for a car that costs less than $26,000.

The Eclipse Spyder has very attractive look-at-me styling that we think is a good component of any convertible design. The sleek, compact body and tidy dimensions are complemented by fine interior ergonomics and an excellent driving position. GS-T models come packed with goodies that include leather seats, an in-dash CD player, cruise control, security system and air conditioning; to name a few. Unfortunately, antilock brakes are conspicuously absent from the GS-T's standard equipment list and are unavailable on the GS model.

We cannot point to many reasons to not buy the Spyder; it has a respected bloodline, attractive looks and promising performance. However, in the $25,000 price range it places itself in direct competition with two of our perennial favorites, the Mazda Miata and the Ford Mustang GT convertible. Both offer rear-wheel-drive performance that will appeal to most enthusiasts and are solid in construction and design. This is not to say that the Spyder isn't a worthy contender, just that it makes the decision difficult. Well, that's one tough decision we would love to make.

1996 Highlights

Sleek and eye-catching, the Spyder makes its debut this year. This convertible is based on the popular Eclipse.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

better than i thought
the turbo whine is enough of a jolt to the system to almost make me forget the car's an automatic. 82k miles and its still pulling strong
Fun to drive, great to drop the top
Fun little car. Bought a 5-speed blue Spyder. Handles great at all speeds, nice ride, peppy engine. Good gas mileage. I owned a BMW 325iC convertible before this, and this car is quieter than my BMW convertible was. Decent seats, and overall interior is pretty good.
Love my Spyder
Tim D'Angelo,05/25/2003
I love my spyder. It is probably one of the most underrated cars. The engine is screaming to be upgraded and when you do hang on to your hat. I've left many 50k performance cars wondering what just beat them. Get one, learn about it and then mod it...
Drained my wallet
The car is the worst I have ever purchased in my life. From its mechanical failures to its plastic body feeling, it has totally failed me. I bought the car for my daughter and the car has not gone 2 mths without something going wrong. Just be careful when you purchase a vehicle like this. The oil pan leaks, which burnt the heads and now the transmission is slipping. Need I say more. I will. The interior is falling apart. The plastic inside is crap. thats it, i am out.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder features & specs 


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

Used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Overview

The Used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is offered in the following submodels: Eclipse Spyder Convertible, Eclipse Spyder GS-T. Available styles include GS 2dr Convertible, and GS-T Turbo 2dr Convertible.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyders are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder.

Can't find a used 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyders you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $9,526.

Find a used Mitsubishi for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $14,049.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder for sale - 10 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $9,278.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mitsubishi for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $20,549.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mitsubishi lease specials
Check out Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder lease specials