I brought this car with only about 110,000 miles and the only thing I had to replace was a valve cover gasket. The power on the car is ok just enough for passing. With the amount of performance parts out there, theirs a lot of potential for the 420A. It really shines in handling. The low stance makes it fun to drive when going around sharp corners or mountain passes. The cabin noise is a tiny bit loud, but it is a sports car so you can expect that. The outside is just simply amazing to look at. I fell in love with it once I seen it.
Overall I've been very happy with my 97' Eclipse GS. For starters, the car is absolutely gorgeous... easily one of the most attractive 90's sports cars. The interior is also very well designed. Small back seats.. but really, you shouldn't buy a car like this with backseat comfort in mind. No problems with reliability... give it routine maintenance and watch the gasket (as it seems to be the least reliable part of the car). The engine itself is decent in terms of performance. It is competant, but not particularly fast... If you're serious about speed look into a GST or GSX. Fuel economy is excellent, and the car handles very nicely. Pretty good sound system, too.
The second gen is by far the best looking Eclipse, a gorgeous car and a definite headturner, and in GS trim it will get you lots of attention. The 420A motor is reliable and has a lot of potential, but needs modification to realize it. In stock form it is merely adequate, due in part to this car's cumbersome weight. Acceleration is good enough to give you decent passing ability. Handling is very sharp, and the GS/GST/GSX versions have front and rear anti-sway bars. Ride is a bit rough, but it enhances the sporty feel of the car. Seats are comfortable, and the cockpit design wraps around the driver. The hatchback is adequate with the fold down seats.