Used 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Convertible Review

A fun drop-top, but those seeking real performance should look elsewhere.




what's new

Only trivial changes are in store for the Eclipse drop-top this year. Two new exterior colors (Titanium and Flash Blue) are added, and as well as a Mitsubishi triple-diamond chrome badge. The interior is upgraded slightly with illuminated vanity mirrors and a glovebox lamp.

vehicle overview

The Eclipse Spyder is intended to appeal to those who seek reasonably priced convertible fun and sporty looks, but don't want to sacrifice a rear seat or comfort by opting for a two-seat roadster.

The Eclipse is offered in two trim levels: GS and GT. Both models can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The automatic features Mitsubishi's Sportronic, a special mode that allows the driver to select gears sequentially. The base four-cylinder engine found in the GS displaces 2.4 liters and produces 147 horsepower (140 hp with the automatic). The GT model comes equipped with a responsive 3.0-liter V6 engine making 200 horsepower.

Both Eclipse Spyder models are heavy on standard equipment. Highlights include power windows and door locks, a power-operated top, an engine immobilizer and anti-theft system, air conditioning, a CD player and remote keyless entry.

For the most toys, pick the GT. This nets the 17-inch wheels and four-wheel disc brakes, as well as opening up access to the swank option packages. The Premium package adds items like a premium audio system with an in-dash four-disc CD changer, power leather seats, antilock brakes and front side airbags. Traction control is also part of this package, but only if the automatic transmission is ordered.

Mitsubishi calls the Eclipse's styling "geo-mechanical." Our editors are split on the overall look, but the arched fenders and ribbed doors certainly give the Eclipse an edge in distinctiveness.

The interior is less successful. Featuring a symmetrical cockpit design, it is lackluster in appearance and heavy on low-grade interior materials. At least the convertible top is simple to use; push the buttons in the two latches to release it, and then let the automatic mechanism take over. Once the top is in its well, the hooks of the latches stick out, so it looks more polished with the soft tonneau cover in place. Mitsu is kind enough to provide a glass rear window and associated defroster.

With the windows up, the driver and front seat passenger are well-shielded from wind buffeting; a veritable Fort Knox maintains your 'do, while giving you enough wind-and-sun exposure to remind you that yes, indeed, you are in a convertible. Rear seat passengers, however, don't have it so good. Not only are they bombarded with what feels like the mistral, they have minimal knee room, toe space or shoulder space.

The Eclipse Spyder is generally pleasant to drive. The ride quality isn't abrasive, and both engines work fine (though the V6 certainly makes the experience more enjoyable). Non-demanding consumers should be happy with this car.

But the remainder will likely find the Eclipse coming up short. The almost unanimous consensus amongst Edmunds.com editors is that they would purchase, as well as recommend to others, a Ford Mustang convertible long before they would the Eclipse Spyder. We would even suggest that a Mazda Miata would make a fine choice if you don't absolutely, positively need that rear seat or 2 more cubic feet in the trunk.

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.