Used 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS-T Review

Edmunds expert review




What's new for 1997

The 1997 Spyder gets revised front and rear styling. Antilock brakes are now available on the GS model. Two new exterior colors, new seat fabrics and a new interior color combination round out the changes.

Vehicle overview

Capitalizing on the recent success of convertible sport cars, Mitsubishi released a topless version of its extremely successful pocket rocket in the spring of 1996. Unlike most convertibles, the Spyder is not merely a chopped version of the Eclipse 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 powerplants but the Spyder's engine has the definite edge in torque; fourteen percent more available at a relatively low 3000 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, anti-lock brakes are conspicuously absent from the GS-T's standard equipment list.

We can not point to many reasons to not by 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.






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.