Used 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Hatchback
- Distinctive styling, plenty of standard equipment, V6 power in GT trim.
- Doesn't provide much driving excitement, uninspired interior design, antilock brakes are available only as part of an expensive package.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse is more of a comfortable cruiser than an apex-strafing sport coupe.
Last redesigned in 2000, the Mitsubishi Eclipse stakes its claim on edgy styling and quick performance at an affordable price. While Mitsubishi's sport coupe is a popular seller, 2002 brings on a host of new or revised competitors, and many of them are superior choices in our opinion.
The Eclipse is offered in three trim levels: RS, GS and GT. All three models can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, with GS and GT automatics featuring a sequential-shift Sportronic mode. The base four-cylinder engine found in the RS and GS models 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.
Standard equipment on every 2002 includes power windows and door locks, an engine immobilizer and anti-theft system, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a CD player, auto-off headlights and alloy wheels. The mid-level GS gets 16-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, cruise control, remote keyless entry, lumbar support and a split-folding rear seat.
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, a power sunroof, 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 coupe-like roofline, arched fenders and ribbed doors certainly give the Eclipse an edge in distinctiveness.
Less successful is the interior design of the car. Featuring a symmetrical cockpit, it is lackluster in appearance and heavy on low-grade interior materials. The Eclipse does have a unique top-mounted display for the audio system, with the idea being that this keeps the driver's eyes on the road. In our experience, we still have to look down to fiddle with the buttons on the stereo, so what's the point?
The front seats are softly padded, a nice attribute for long commutes. More aggressive drivers will be begging for additional side support, and rear passengers will want more of just about everything, including headroom, legroom and thigh support.
Eclipses are generally pleasant to drive. Power from the four-cylinder is certainly adequate, and the V6 provides ample torque throughout the rpm range. Dynamically, the car is better suited for cruising rather than hard driving. The suspension is softly tuned, and driver involvement is minimal.
While the Eclipse is a decent car, buyers looking for more excitement should check out the Acura RSX, Toyota Celica or Ford Mustang. And if you want a quality interior and a refined image, European-designed two-doors, such as the Volkswagen GTI or the upcoming Mini Cooper, are superior.
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Features & Specs
Used 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Hatchback Overview
The Used 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Hatchback is offered in the following styles: GS 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GT 2dr Hatchback (3.0L 6cyl 4A), RS 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GT 2dr Hatchback (3.0L 6cyl 5M), GS 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M), and RS 2dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 5M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.