Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Review


2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT Convertible Shown

The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is a convertible version of the Eclipse coupe. In most regards, the Spyder provides a similar driving and ownership experience to the coupe, which means sleek styling, four-passenger seating, powerful engines and a reasonable amount of comfort.

In the affordable convertible segment, Mitsubishi has taken a balanced approach with the Spyder. With nimble and sporty two-seat roadsters on one end of the spectrum and four-seat family sedan-based convertibles on the other, the Eclipse sits comfortably in the middle. For most of its run, the Spyder's closest competitors have been convertible pony cars such as the Ford Mustang.

The Spyder has been available for all Eclipse generations except the first and has occasionally blipped out of existence as new generations of the Eclipse have debuted. Whether new or used, the Spyder should satisfy a shopper desiring a sporty two-door that provides plenty of wind-in-the-hair fun.

The latest Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is a new arrival for 2007. Like the coupe, it's built on the same platform used for Mitsubishi's Galant sedan and Endeavor SUV. There are two trim levels: GS and GT. The Eclipse Spyder GS is reasonably well equipped and comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 162 horsepower. The main draw of the Eclipse Spyder GT is its 260-hp, 3.8-liter V6. Both models have a power-operated convertible soft top.

The GS can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission with a sequential-shift Sportronic mode. The GT comes with a six-speed manual, with a five-speed Sportronic automatic optional. All Eclipse Spyders are front-wheel drive.

In past reviews, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder has earned favorable commentary for its powerful V6 engine, comfortable front seating and well-suited nature for top-down cruising. Noted downsides include a hefty curb weight that dulls handling, sluggish acceleration on four-cylinder models, poor top-up outward visibility and a large turning radius.

There are two previous versions of the Eclipse Spyder. A Spyder was available for 2001-'05 model years of the third-generation Eclipse. Like the current model, it had underpinnings similar to the concurrent Galant and a power-operated top. This Eclipse is somewhat smaller than the current model, however, and less refined.

This generation's Spyder GS was powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 147 hp. The GT had a 200-hp 3.0-liter V6. Both could be had with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Though this Eclipse was fairly popular with consumers, it attracted little critical acclaim. In tests, editors found that the car was not particularly fun to drive and had a noticeably low-quality interior.

The original Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder was available from 1996-'99 and corresponded to the second-generation coupe. The GS model had a 141-hp four-cylinder engine, and the turbocharged GS-T was capable of 205 hp. A five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic were offered. The Spyder's top was a particularly nice one, with excellent insulation, one-touch power operation and a heated glass rear window. Rearward vision was compromised severely when the top was up, but the rear seat was retained and the car's structural integrity was impressive.


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