Used 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

Sundance Plum Pearl exterior paint replaces Magenta Gray Pearl, black leather interior replaces the gray, and the GS-T model gets white-faced instrumentation.

Vehicle overview

Capitalizing on the recent success of convertible sports cars, Mitsubishi released a topless version of its 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.

The Eclipse Spyder has attractive look-at-me styling that is a good component of any convertible design. Fine interior ergonomics and an excellent driving position compliment the sleek, compact body and tidy dimensions of the car.

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 feeble, 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; 14 percent more is 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 $28,000. GS-T models come packed with goodies that include leather seats, an in-dash CD player, cruise control, security system and air conditioning. Unfortunately, antilock brakes are conspicuously absent from the GS-T's standard equipment list.

We cannot point to many reasons to pass over 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 does not mean the Spyder isn't a worthy contender, but 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.