Used 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Review

Edmunds expert review

Though more grown up and better equipped than the previous generation car, the 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse lacks the spunky personality of its predecessor.

What's new for 2001

The 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse, based on the Galant sedan platform, was redesigned inside and out last year, and embodies a youthful image and providing a sporty drive. The new year for the Eclipse sees a standard spoiler, tether anchors for child seats and meets LEV emissions standards.

Vehicle overview

Since 1990, the Eclipse has delivered edgy styling and quick performance at bargain prices. The 1995 redesign improved on this idea and last year, the Eclipse got another makeover - complete with enhanced four-cylinder engine performance, sophisticated technology and a new image.

Mitsubishi calls the Eclipse's styling "geo-mechanical," with an unbroken roof arch, a swell in the hood that rolls across the upper fenders, a lateral accent line and ribbed contours in its doors and front fascia. The spoiler that reminds us of the St. Louis Gateway Arch is now standard.

Inside, styling is one part futuristic and two parts sporty with a dash of luxury sprinkled in. Featuring a twin-cockpit design, the interior is symmetrical and functional, with some components appearing melded into the dash while others protrude aggressively. Materials include soft-touch appointments with titanium-finish details that look rather cheap.

The Eclipse is offered in three trim levels -- RS, GS and GT. The base four-cylinder engine found in the RS and GS models displaces 2.4 liters and produces 155 horsepower. The GT model comes equipped with a 3.0-liter V6 engine making 205 horsepower that offers increased responsiveness to throttle input. The turbo engine has been dropped in favor of the more refined V6. Regardless of engine selection, a five-speed manual transmission is standard fare. For those desiring an automatic tranny, Mitsubishi offers a four-speed automatic with "learned control" that tailors its shifting characteristics to the driver's style, or a Sportronic automanual transmission that allows drivers to change gears without using a clutch.

The 2001 Eclipse also incorporates a front suspension with large-diameter front struts and a multi-link rear suspension with tubular steel arms. A stiff sub-frame and a longer wheelbase also add to ride quality. Safety features include front-seat force-limiter seatbelts and front seat-mounted side airbags that are optional on the GT model. Traction control is offered only on GT with an automatic transmission, which leaves us wondering why it isn't available with the manual. And why can't buyers of the RS and GS models get antilock brakes?

With all these features, the value of Eclipse hasn't been lost. Standard equipment on every 2001 model includes power windows and door locks, an engine immobilizer and anti-theft system, microfiltered air conditioning, height-adjustable driver's seat, CD player, auto-off headlights, and alloy wheels. The mid-level GS also gets standard 16-inch wheels, cruise control, power sunroof, remote keyless entry, fog lamps, lumbar support and a split-folding rear seat. Step up to the GT and consumers will receive the V6 engine, 17-inch wheels, improved brakes, upgraded seat fabric and wider tires. The power sunroof is optional on the GT, as well as an audio and premium package with side airbags and a 4-disc CD changer.

Hardcore Eclipse fans will be upset that Mitsubishi no longer offers the turbo and all-weather GSX model this year in order to focus on attracting middle-market buyers. There's certainly no denying the huge leap that Mitsubishi has taken with the 2001 Eclipse. From styling to drivetrain, the car is totally different from the previous version that wore an "Eclipse" badge.

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.