All-new from the ground up, the fourth-generation 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse shares only its name with the outgoing 2005 model.
The new Eclipse has a more rigid platform (which it shares with the Galant and Endeavor), fully independent suspension, larger dimensions, bold styling and a choice of two new engines: a 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder on the GS, and a 3.8-litre V6 on the GT. Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic with the four-cylinder, and a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic on the V6.
The GS features variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and locks with keyless entry, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, 50/50 folding rear seat, cloth interior, anti-lock brakes and CD/MP3 player with six speakers.
The GT adds fog lamps, centre audio display with clock, outside temperature and compass, front strut tower bar and traction control. Options available on the GT that can’t be added to the GS include heated mirrors, 18-inch wheels, automatic air conditioning, power driver’s seat, leather interior and aluminum pedals.
Originally popular with the tuner-car crowd, the Eclipse has matured into a handsome, swoopy coupe that’s a bit bigger, although not exceptionally roomy, and very powerful in GT configuration. It’s fun to drive, although a wide turning circle and a large blind spot created by the thick C-pillar detract slightly. It can also get fairly pricey once you start adding options. For 2006 the Eclipse is a tin-top only; a Spyder convertible should be coming soon.