With eye-catching style and heart-thumping mechanics, the Mitsubishi Eclipse sport coupe — in production for more than 20 years — was an Eclipse you couldn’t help but stare at.
Its low, road-hugging stance stood out among other sporty coupes and promised to raise its owners’ street cred. In the face of countless competitors, the two-door, four-seat Mitsubishi sports car maintained continued success over four generations and, to this day, has a strong fanbase of car aficionados and motorsport enthusiasts.
A True Driver's Car
The first generation Eclipse — designed in the U.S. at the Mitsubishi Motors North America Design Studio and introduced in 1990 — was available in four trim levels: Eclipse, Eclipse GS, Eclipse GS-T (Turbo) and Eclipse GSX. With the exception of the all-wheel drive GSX, each Mitsubishi Eclipse was front-wheel drive.
Both the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo and Eclipse GSX were equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4G63 engine that achieved up to 195 horsepower, and could go from zero-to-60 in less than seven seconds. With its spirited acceleration and precise handling, it was entirely befitting for the purpose-built Eclipse to be named after an 18th century English racehorse with a record number of wins.
Over the years, new models were added and Eclipse continued to anticipate desires and exceed expectations of form, function, beauty and technology — as a true driver’s car should. But as Mitsubishi’s global focus shifted towards meeting environmental targets around the world, the company announced the discontinuation of the Eclipse, to invest more time and effort into developing battery technology.
To mark the end of the Eclipse’s illustrious career, a final special edition was created for both the sport coupe and Eclipse Spyder models. The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Special Edition featured distinctive badging, leather interior with contrasting stitching, a sunroof for the coupe version, and a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 162 hp, or 3.8-liter V6 cranking out up to 265 hp.
Today, while the Mitsubishi Eclipse sport coupe is no longer produced, drivers can still be the envy of the masses with Mitsubishi’s lineup of versatile crossovers, including the Eclipse Cross — a crossover SUV with sharp coupe looks that builds on a history of style, and fun-to-drive dynamics.
FROM ECLIPSE TO ECLIPSE CROSS
The Eclipse Spirit Lives on
Mitsubishi designs are rooted in Mitsubishi heritage. And since there was much to love about the Mitsubishi Eclipse sport coupe, it was only natural that it would inspire one of the best-loved vehicles in our current lineup: the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.
Although the two vehicle platforms are distinct, both are driver-centric. Many features that made the Eclipse a success — from the ergonomically-designed cabin to the turbo engine — were fined tuned and live on in its namesake.
The GSX’s all-wheel-drive technology continues in the Eclipse Cross with a new version of Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC). And much like the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T and GSX, the Eclipse Cross is equipped with a turbocharged engine that encourages weight savings.
While the coupes’ Sportronic® transmission is not akin to the Eclipse Cross’ CVT, it did inspire Mitsubishi to add paddle shifters to the Eclipse Cross’ steering column, giving the crossover a sportier feel. In addition to the available paddle shifters, the 8-step sport mode lets drivers shift manually for maximum control.