For nearly 20 years, the Mitsubishi Eclipse has been one of America's more popular sport coupes. Reasons for its success include sleek styling, powerful engines, a decent amount of comfort and affordability.
The original Mitsubishi Eclipse was the result of a joint venture started in the mid-'80s between Mitsubishi and Chrysler, known as Diamond Star Motors (DSM). For model-year 1990, at a plant in central Illinois, the Diamond Star triplets bowed -- similar versions of the same Mitsubishi-engineered car, including the Eclipse, the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser. With the subsequent demise of the Eagle and Plymouth brands, only the Mitsubishi Eclipse remains in production.
The latest generation of the Mitsubishi Eclipse debuted for the 2006 model year. There were initially four trim levels: Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, Mitsubishi Eclipse SE, Mitsubishi Eclipse SE-V6 and Mitsubishi Eclipse GT. Not much changed until 2009, when the Mitsubishi Eclipse SE trims were dropped, stability control was added for the Mitsubishi Eclipse GT (and later became standard for all Eclipses for 2010), and the car received a mild face-lift that included a more aggressive, Lancer Evo-like front fascia.
A six-speed manual was standard on the Mitsubishi Eclipse GT until 2011, but otherwise, powertrains are the same as the current Mitsubishi Eclipse line. The Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Sport arrived for 2010 and for '11, 18-inch alloy wheels became standard for the base Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, the Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Sport received heated leather front seats and a power driver seat. That year saw blacked-out roofs on all Eclipses.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse comes standard with four-wheel antilock brakes, stability control and front seat side airbags. The coupe features front side curtain airbags and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder gets taller side airbags that cover occupants' heads. There are no rear head restraints. The Eclipse Spyder received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side crash tests.