Used 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1998

Eclipse Spyder GS gets air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with CD player and wheel locks. The Spyder GS-T is now flashier than ever before thanks to standard 16-inch chrome-plated alloy wheels. All models have a fresh black interior appearance with gray cloth.

Vehicle overview

Capitalizing on the recent success of convertible sports cars, Mitsubishi released a topless version of itsextremely successful pocket rocket in the spring of 1996. Unlike most convertibles, the Spyder is notmerely a chopped version of the Eclipse coupe. Instead, it was designed from square one to be aconvertible. This results in a drop-top that is extremely rigid with only a 50-pound weight gain over itshardtop sibling.

Available in entry level GS or performance-oriented GS-T trim levels, the Eclipse Spyder is destined toimpress the most demanding of taskmasters. Instead of the bellicose Chrysler-built 2.0- liter enginecommon 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 edgein torque; 14 percent more available at a relatively low 3000 rpm. The real excitement, however, lieswith 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. Prettyimpressive 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 anyconvertible design. The sleek, compact body and tidy dimensions are complemented by fine interiorergonomics and an excellent driving position. GS-T models come packed with goodies that include leatherseats, 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.

We cannot point to many reasons to not by the Spyder; it has a respected bloodline, attractive looks andpromising performance. However, in the $25,000 price range, it places itself in direct competition with twoof our perennial favorites, the Mazda Miata and the Ford Mustang GT convertible. Both offer rear-wheeldrive performance that will appeal to most enthusiasts and are solid in construction and design. This is notto say that the Spyder isn't a worthy contender, just that it makes the decision difficult. Well, that's onetough 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.