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Muggy heat roasts the morning traffic, you’re sweating in your best suit and tie, and the air conditioning is having trouble erasing the combined effect of the baking sun and the suffocating humidity. The drudgery of the daily commute in your sauna-on-wheels builds resentment while weaving your way through traffic – and then a sleek new convertible slides up beside you at the next light, driven by someone who clearly has no particular place to be except behind the wheel and having fun. Envy and imagination are sparked, and it’s easy to picture yourself swapping business attire for shorts and sandals, cruising a coastal highway and looking good with the top down and the tunes playing. Then a sharp horn blast snaps you back to reality and you continue the tedious journey to work, wallowing in your jealousy while weighing the possibility of trading in your plain-Jane sedan for one of those sporty topless beauties.With the onset of summer, the desire to drive a convertible can cause irrational thinking. convertibles are impractical and expensive, yet the desire to break out of our everyday routines and let loose can get the best of us after a long, gray winter yields to sunny blue skies and warm summer temperatures. To help sate this desire, Mitsubishi adds another option to the pool of available convertibles for 2007 by way of the redesigned Eclipse Spyder. Better yet, this car is within financial grasp, and is more practical than any roadster on the market thanks to its rear seat, which doubles as a cargo area when necessary. That makes the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder a viable option with which to enjoy the endless days of summer driving with the top down and the wind in your hair.
To create the Spyder, Mitsubishi chops the top off the ever-popular Eclipse coupe, long a favorite of the Mitsubishi model line-up. The Spyder is available in two models, the GS and the GT. The big difference between the models is the engine and drivetrain – though on the GT you also get automatic climate control, a center display that shows audio, outside temperature and compass direction, and a stainless-steel exhaust tip.
Select the GS and you get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 162 horsepower and either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Step up to the GT and you get a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower as well as your choice of a six-speed manual or a Sportronic five-speed automatic with sequential manual shift control. Our test car was a GT dressed in Liquid Silver Metallic paint with a Medium Gray leather interior and a six-speed manual transmission for $33,075.
Every 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder comes with an electric soft top; a nine-speaker, 650-watt six-disc CD and MP3 compatible stereo system with an integrated eight-inch subwoofer; steering wheel-mounted audio controls; and 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels. Mitsubishi also includes a front strut tower brace, a theft immobilizer, antilock brakes, front and side airbags, and an integrated rear spoiler. Other standard features include power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; and a six-way adjustable front driver’s seat and a four-way adjustable front passenger’s seat.
Two main option packages are available for both versions of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. The deluxe leather package for the GS gets you heated leather front seating, heated power side mirrors, and a center LCD display which shows time, audio selections, outside temperature, and compass. The premium Sport Package for the GT upgrades you to heated leather front seats, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, 18-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, alloy pedals, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, and a wind deflector.
Is the new 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder good, bad or indifferent? That depends on your personal take, but read on for a little insight from our editors.
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Don’t expect a sports car if you plant your butt behind the wheel of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT Spyder. This car is a cruiser, a quick cruiser, an athletic cruiser, but a cruiser nonetheless. It’s got a good ride, the structure is stiff enough to resist bending and flex, and the V6 is strong with a pleasing burble of an exhaust note. The car can handle mid-speed corners nicely, the steering’s got decent heft, the gearbox is crisp and refined, and the brakes are responsive and easy to modulate. What keeps it from being a sports car is its weight, its girth, and the seats’ inability to hold you still while carving turns. The Eclipse Spyder is a pleasing car to drive, but not a fun car.
Thom Blackett’s 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Driving Impressions:
Though admittedly not a huge fan of the 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe for a variety of reasons, I have to say that the convertible, or Spyder, is a thoroughly enjoyable ride, provided one doesn’t get saddled in the so-called rear seat, doesn’t mind an interior wrought with hard shiny plastics, and doesn’t expect an Evolution under the curvaceous skin. More on those points later. In terms of driving, Mitsubishi deserves some praise for the Eclipse Spyder, a model accented by tight steering; responsive and easily-modulated brakes; lively performance from its V6 engine; a six-speed manual tranny working with a light-effort clutch to make rowing fun; and handling that’s acceptable, if not outstanding. Like the coupe, there’s too much torque-steer, but unlike the hardtop version, the Eclipse Spyder allows its occupants to enjoy its symphonic exhaust note, possibly the most alluring aspect of the vehicle. It’s one of those cars that makes you want to goose it at red lights just to bathe in that audible delight.
Interestingly, I harped on the coupe we drove last year for brakes that were hard to gauge and an interior that was too quiet. Top up or top down, the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder does little to keep noise out, so that’s a non-issue. But the brakes on our soft-top tester were noticeably better than those on the coupe, a fact worth applauding.
Visibility, on the other hand, just plain stinks. The front view is ok, and thanks to the absence of a B-pillar, over-the-shoulder peeks are easy. But with the top raised, the rear view is seriously lacking. There’s a tiny slit for a back window and wide swathes of fabric comprise the C-pillars. Signal early and use those mirrors for all they’re worth.
Ron Perry’s 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Driving Impressions:
The 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder surprised me. The engine is smooth and pulls hard, though you have to fight the torque steer if you get on the go-pedal a bit too hard. The six-speed transmission works through the gates with no issues and keeps the engine revs low at freeway speeds, which makes the Eclipse Spyder a joy to drive. A well-tuned exhaust note adds to the enjoyment, and though the Spyder does feel heavy the V6 does a good job of keeping the drive spirited. I found no issues with the steering or the brakes. Both were right on target and gave me the necessary feedback and feel I desire.
Inside, the seats are comfortable with enough bolstering to keep me planted in tight turns and finding a comfortable driving position was no problem. Visibility with the top down was, as expected, excellent, but driving with the top up means dealing with blind spots. I found the gauges difficult to read and would prefer larger numbers and more contrasting colors, though the layout works great. Buffeting is minimal but there still is some cowl shake that comes through over rough roadways.
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Despite the lack of a telescopic steering column, I had no trouble getting situated in the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse’s driver’s seat. It’s wide and flat for a sporting machine, soft yet supportive, feeling terrific for a longer drive. I sit high enough, with a good view out, and while the upper door panel sill is hard plastic, I’m fine with crooking my elbow on the seam between the plastic and the soft vinyl door insert. Heated seats are nice since the Eclipse Spyder has a drafty interior, and the climate control system can keep you warm on chilly days as long as the side windows are raised. A telescopic wheel would be nice, but its absence is not a deal breaker for me.
I didn’t get into the back seat. What would be the point? There’s virtually no leg room, the front seatbacks are hard plastic, the rear seatback “cushion” is nearly vertical, and a third of the seatback is a hard subwoofer enclosure. This serves as little more than an extra place for luggage, which would then block the subwoofer and two other speakers mounted low in the side panels. Or, you can hoist your luggage over the tall rear liftover into the rather small trunk. Just make sure to pack light.
Thom Blackett’s opinion of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s Comfort:
As a two-seater, the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder can be considered comfortable. You’ve got to fall into the low bucket seats, but once inside the driver and passenger will appreciate the firm cushions, decent bolsters, integrated headrests, and padded armrests on the doors and between the seats. Our tester featured a power driver’s seat for proper positioning as well as a standard tilt steering wheel.
Rear seat passengers are not recommended, as the rear buckets are inhospitable to even small children. There’s a quick-release button on the back of the front passenger seat that’s hard to get to, and crawling in with the top up is a chore. Get back there only to find a vertical seat back, flat bottom cushions, negligible foot and leg room, and wide plastic side panels lacking any armrests. To top it off, there are no cubbies, cupholders, or head rests for rear passengers, the front seat backs are hard, and a center armrest is impossible thanks to the placement of a subwoofer. Headroom is limited with the top up.
Ron Perry’s opinion of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s Comfort:
I found the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder comfortable to drive. Seating is well bolstered and padded and the seat adjustments allowed me to find a comfortable driving position. On a cold morning the seat heaters will definitely keep your backside toasty and the heater will keep your front free of frostbite. These are two things you definitely need to work well on a convertible because you don’t want to drive one with the top up, even on chilly mornings. Wind buffeting is minimal, allowing for normal conversation at freeway speeds, but backseat passengers won’t be privy to whatever information is shared up front. Actually, if you can get passengers over eight years of age into the backseat they will be very uncomfortable. There is no leg or foot room back there with the front seats in a normal driving position.
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You’re not going to confuse the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder for a luxury car on the inside, but the quality of the leather and the soft color-matched dash pad help distract your eye from the acres of hard, cheap, glossy plastic. The center console, the lower dash panels, the door panels, and the switchgear look rather cheap. Assembly quality isn’t the best, either. The passenger’s airbag cover was bowing out on our test car, as was a rubber gasket on the passenger’s side A-pillar. Glove box door fits were off, too.
Thom Blackett’s opinion of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s Quality:
When last we visited the Mitsubishi Eclipse, it was in the form of a 2006 coupe, an example with questionable build and materials quality. This week’s tester, a 2007 Eclipse Spyder, featured the same low-budget plastics on the dash, doors, center console, rear side panels, and most every other nook and cranny. And, to be sure, there were some assembly issues, like irregular gaps around the dash, jagged plastic on the underside of the instrument panel, a few loose pieces on the rear parcel shelf, headlights that were a bit off, and large gaps where the doors met the front fenders and A-pillars. However, the Spyder exhibited better overall quality when compared to the 2006 Eclipse coupe we previously drove.
Ron Perry’s opinion of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s Quality:
The inside of the Eclipse Spyder feels and looks cheap. From the unfinished top release latches to the doorsill covers and the low-quality look of the emergency brake handle, the Eclipse Spyder’s interior screams for an upgrade. I also feel the switches and gauges look cheap for a car that costs this much, and there were fitment issues with the cupholder cover and glove box. Minor changes could drastically change the overall impression one gets from sitting in the Spyder. Outside, the Eclipse Spyder’s quality improves drastically. Seams are tight all around, as are the gaps at the hood and trunk. Panels and pieces are tightly fastened, but the black honeycomb grille inserts look cheap, like they were borrowed from a Pontiac.
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The 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder does not appeal to me. The wheels are too small and plain, the fenders too large and exaggerated, the side sills too high and confining. The top takes its merry time raising and lowering, wind buffeting is severe enough that an empty drink cup will blow right out of the cupholders, and the front quarter windows remind me of driving a minivan. I did, however, like the Liquid Silver paint job on our test car, and this interior is much better decorated than the garish orange Eclipse coupe we drove last year. The color-matched dash pad looks better in gray than in orange.
The Eclipse Spyder’s control layout is standard issue, except for the stereo display. The display sits up high on the dash, and the radio is in the center of the dash. I find myself looking in two different places rather than one, which adds distraction time when tuning a station or adjusting audio levels. Climate controls are large, simple knobs. I thought the roof latches required too much fiddling, adding time to stoplight roof raising and lowering.
Thom Blackett’s opinion of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s Design:
Let’s start with the inside. The GT coupe we previously tested featured a two-tone, orange-and-cream front seat area and a plain black rear seat area. Not good. But our 2007 Eclipse Spyder GT test car had a nice, black and gray two-tone interior…front and back. A welcome concept, though there’s still room for improvement.
Interior storage is woefully insufficient, consisting of a good-sized center armrest cubby, two front cupholders, an average-sized glove box, and two utterly useless door pockets (not even big enough to hold a wrinkled Snackwells wrapper with authority). That’s it – no other useful cubbies, and virtually nothing, not even a cupholder or seatback pocket, for rear seat passengers. The trunk is tight, but that’s typical of most convertibles.
Exterior design mirrors that of the coupe, aside from the electric soft top. Within 19 seconds, the top can be raised or lowered with no impact on trunk space. Cutting off the roof causes some shaking of the windshield frame, but overall the structure feels solid.
Ron Perry’s opinion of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s Design:
The 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is one of a few cars that, in my opinion, actually look better as a convertible. The Eclipse’s distinctive bodylines sit below the beltline and are retained when the top is removed – unlike most cars that lose their design flair with the removal of the top and C-pillar. The removal of the top also reduces the heavy appearance of the Eclipse’s rather large rear end. Having the top stow below the hard cover continues the clean line, reducing weight at the back.
Inside the Eclipse Spyder there aren’t any standout designs. The interior is plain and unimaginative. I also really disliked the combined information center and radio display on the screen at the top of the dash. It is hard to see and inconvenient. Designers also need to pay more attention to rear seat accommodations and overall trunk space. Both are minimal, limiting use of the car for anything other than a commuter to work.
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The main reason to consider the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is because you’re bowled over by its styling, inside and out. Don’t buy it because you think you’ll take three friends for a ride, and don’t buy it because you think it’s a sports car. You won’t, and it’s not. The Eclipse is a styling statement, and if you like the look, Mitsubishi provides no credible reason to skip the car in terms of driving pleasure, comfort, or convenience. With some attention to detail on the quality side, the Eclipse would be just about perfect for its likely demographic – people wanting a flashy, affordable convertible that sounds good and goes faster than whatever they’re driving now. A terrific powertrain warranty only sweetens the pot. As for me, I’m shopping for a Mustang, even if it’s a V6 version.
Thom Blackett’s Advice about the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder:
Whether it’s because of the drop-top driving experience, open access to that sweet exhaust note, or mostly agreeable driving dynamics, I’m left feeling in favor of the Eclipse Spyder, whereas it was “good riddance” with the coupe. Granted, the rear seat is a joke, as is rear visibility, and the interior materials need some upgrading. But the base price of the GT is less than $30,000, putting the Spyder right in the heart of its competitive segment. Plus, there’s powertrain coverage spanning 10 years or 100,000 miles and a basic warranty that lasts five years or 100,000 miles. If you’re a buyer, it would appear Mitsubishi’s got your back, in which case this ride would be worth consideration, especially if sales-hungry dealers are cutting prices. However, recent news reports suggest that Mitsubishi is in live-or-die mode in the U.S. – if sales don’t pick up with cars like the Eclipse Spyder, Mitsubishi just might sail back to Japan. Is that enough to sway a buying decision? Shoppers uncomfortable with risk would likely say yes.
Ron Perry’s Advice about the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder:
All in all, the Eclipse Spyder is a fun car to drive and soak up some summer sun, but as a friend of mine who sells cars says: “Mitsubishis are great used car buys.” The depreciation they take in the first year of ownership is horrific. The Eclipse is one of the more popular models, so if you are in love with the car and plan to drive it until the wheels fall off, buy it. If you plan to change cars every couple of years I would have to say stay away. I don’t really have anything against the Eclipse Spyder except that I feel there are better values out there for the same or less money.
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Price as Tested: $33,075 (including the $625 destination charge)
Engine Size and Type: 3.8-liter V6
Engine Horsepower: 260 at 5,750 rpm
Engine Torque: 258 lb.-ft. at 4,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Curb weight, lbs.: 3,671
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): 17/26 mpg
Observed Fuel Economy: 18.5 mpg
Length: 179.7 inches
Width: 72.2 inches
Wheelbase: 101.4 inches
Height: 54.4 inches
Leg room (front/rear): 42.8/27.7 inches
Head room (front/rear): 39.6/35.7 inches
Max. Seating Capacity: Four
Max. Cargo Volume: 5.2 cubic feet
Competitors: Chrysler Sebring Convertible, Ford Mustang Convertible, MINI Cooper Convertible, Pontiac G6 Convertible, Toyota Camry Solara Convertible, Volkswagen Eos
Photos courtesy of Mitsubishi Motor Sales N.A. & Ron Perry
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