Traditionally, those buyers have been women, but Mitsubishi thinks the latest iteration of the Eclipse Spyder will also appeal to men. Why? It’s not a “chick car.” Rather, the redesigned Eclipse Spyder has been boldly styled and engineered for truly responsive sports car handling, and even though it has seats for four and is heavier than pure performance machines like the Mazda MX-5 Miata or Honda S2000, it’s up to the task – especially in GT attire. As for the styling, during a test drive of nearly 200 miles, it attracted plenty of attention among onlookers – from both Mars and Venus – who gave a thumbs-up for its alluring appearance, which looks more like a pricey Lexus SC430 or Audi TT than a mainstream Mitsubishi.
While the racy Lancer Evolution sedan clearly represents Mitsubishi’s flagship performance standard, the Eclipse has always stood for affordable performance, without the bone-jarring ride and boy-racer equipment of the Evo. Now it has gone upscale in many respects, and Mitsubishi claims its new 2007 Eclipse Spyder is a “reward car” built for “Gen-E” (for everyone), but we disagree. We still see it as a boy- or girl-racer ragtop, a car sold on good looks and Mitsubishi’s hip Japanese-cool advertising imagery. But hey, sometimes distinctive styling and a catchy ad campaign are all you need to sell affordable performance to the masses.
Like its sibling, the Eclipse coupe, the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder comes in GS and GT trim. Base GS models arrive with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 162 horsepower, equipped with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic with a Sportronic manual shift feature. Standard GS equipment includes a power cloth convertible top, an integrated rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels, power windows/locks/mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control and a tilt steering wheel.
Opting for Spyder GT classification yields a 3.8-liter V6 delivering 260 horsepower, set up with a standard six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic with Sportronic shifting. Fog lights, traction control, a compass, and an ambient temperature gauge are also added to the equation. The optional Premium Sport Package, available exclusively to GT buyers, brings 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/45 tires, power six-way driver’s seat adjustment, automatic climate control, leather seats with front heaters, heated exterior mirrors, and aluminum pedals.
Both GS and GT models are equipped with a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system that includes a six-disc in-dash CD changer, eight-inch subwoofer and automatic sound optimization that adjusts the audio volume according to wind noise. The subwoofer is placed between the two rear chairs, creating a pair of buckets for short riders and short rides. To protect those riders no matter how short the ride, all 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyders receive dual stage front airbags and front seat-mounted side-impact airbags. And, for those who think blue backlighting is still a novelty, Mitsubishi has illuminated the instrument cluster with “ice blue” LEDs.
Mitsubishi expects to sell equal numbers of GS and GT models, and hopes that the addition of the Spyder to the Eclipse lineup helps bolster this Asian automaker’s bottom line. Speaking of the bottom line, we found the Spyder’s quite favorable. The base price for the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS is $25,984 – a bit higher than a Ford Mustang V6 Premium Convertible – while the uplevel GT model starts at $26,864 – lower than a Ford Mustang GT Deluxe Convertible. Those prices include Mitsubishi’s $595 destination charge. Eclipse Spyders will appear in dealerships as 2007 models at the end of March, 2006, just in time for spring.
Nuts and Bolts
Although the 2.4-liter four-cylinder under the hood of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS retains the coupe version’s output of 162 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 162 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm, the GT model’s V6 loses ponies and pull due to revised exhaust routing in the convertible version. However, with 260 horses at 5,750 rpm backed by 258 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm, power is still plentiful. Just be advised that premium fuel is recommended for the V6.
Both of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s powerplants employ MIVEC, Mitsubishi’s Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control. When these engines spin below 3,500 rpm, MIVEC tailors itself to provide better throttle response, while at higher speeds it increases power by adjusting airflow into the combustion chambers.
A manual transmission sends power to the Eclipse Spyder’s front legs…er, wheels. The GS gets five forward gears, while the GT is equipped with six cogs. Customers opting for either automatic transmission get Sportronic shifting, which provides responsive manual control of gear changes. With a manual transmission, the shift knob is covered in handsome baseball-stitched leather. Fuel economy ratings for the GS are expected to be 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Estimates for the GT aren’t set, but Mitsubishi says they will be “slightly lower” than the GS. Based on the Eclipse GT Coupe’s figures, this translates to about 18 in the city and 27 on the highway.
The 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse also comes with a fully independent suspension equipped with front and rear stabilizer bars, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and EBD, and P225/50R17 tires wrapped around 17-inch alloy wheels to ensure proper balance and road holding ability. GT models include a thicker rear stabilizer bar and four ventilated rotors in place of the GS model’s ventilated front and solid rear discs.
As opposed to the last generation Eclipse, which relied on grooves stamped into the door panels to create visual interest, the all-new 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder uses exaggerated concave and convex surfaces to excite the eye. Although the custom crowd will certainly modify the body contours, Mitsubishi has already integrated the door sills and lower spoilers to form a factory “body kit” on this halo model.
“Designed for people who like to be noticed,” there are two looks to the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. With the top raised, the Spyder has the look of a “chopped” coupe. Drop the roof to create more of a “speedster” image. With the Spyder’s power convertible top, Mitsubishi has gone upscale for the new model, making it a multi-layered cloth roof with a glass rear window and defogger that opens in a sprightly 19 seconds. What’s more, the unit stows underneath a flush tonneau cover, for attractive, clean lines when motoring under the bright blue sky. Mitsubishi says the fit and operation of the Spyder’s top is worthy of a $40,000 vehicle.
On paper, all of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder’s dimensions have grown since the last generation car: overall length increases 2.9 inches, width is up 3.3 inches, and height rises by 1.6 inches. The wheelbase has also been stretched just over half an inch. Despite these gains, the rather pudgy Eclipse Spyder is still smaller than a Mustang convertible.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but there are no arguments against the improvements to the Spyder’s interior ergonomics. That taller, wider body and longer wheelbase provides more room inside, too. Front seat occupants get more than a half inch of additional headroom (38.5 inches) and legroom (42.8), and enjoy “best-in-class” shoulder room (52.2 inches) and hip room (53.7) – all good features given the expanding American waistline. Interior room drops off in the rear, per our evaluation, and we would recommend that the Eclipse Spyder’s back seat be used only for extremely short passengers, or for extremely short distances. While children in car seats can be accommodated, the placement of the sound system’s subwoofer between the rear seats will force you to make a choice between carrying children or listening to great music, supplied by the standard Rockford Fosgate audio system.
We drove all four versions of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, and our favorite was the GT with the manual transmission. Though Eclipse fans might not want to hear it, the GT’s 3.8-liter V6 is the most powerful engine ever installed in a Spyder. And though it rates slightly lower in terms of horsepower and torque than the coupe upon which it is based, the drop top has a more rigid body than the already stiff coupe for safety support in the convertible. This increase in stiffness creates a solid, sure-footed feel and responsive handling, but it also makes for high shock value when going over low-speed, speed bumps.
While the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS has enough everyday scoot for city and highway driving, and we enjoyed the Sportronic shifter that runs into the redline without shifting on its own, the V6 manual is clearly the top dog for enthusiasts who desire more power and performance. This six-speed shifter has triple synchronizers on the first three forward gears, as well as a dual-cable linkage to assist shifting duties, giving you a silky, smooth, short-throw shifting experience comparable to other sporting cars.
Not to be forgotten – or labeled as unenthusiastic – is the Sportronic feature mated to the GT’s five-speed automatic. This combo supplies people who cannot operate a clutch a best-of-both-worlds driving experience. Customers tired of pushing a clutch, city dwellers, and those who travel backed-up freeways with frequency will prefer the Sportronic automatic.
The Eclipse Spyder’s brakes and steering are adequate and perform their respective duties in a way that adds confidence to quick stops and driving windy roads. Although we found the steering weighted perfectly for sporty driving, we were disappointed in the Spyder’s wide turning radius, which made quick U-turns impossible on small roadways.
With the Spyder’s top raised, the interior is quiet enough to carry on conversation in normal tones. With the Spyder’s top dropped, airflow management keeps unwanted buffeting to a minimum, but we still appreciated the optional windscreen that helps reduce air flow into the cabin. The windscreen takes a few minutes to install and renders the back seat unavailable to passengers.
FAQs and Specs
When does the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder go on sale?
The 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder will appear in dealerships at the end of March just in time for spring.
How many versions of the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder are available?
The front-wheel drive 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is offered in GS or sportier GT trim levels. The GS has a four-cylinder engine, while the GT is powered by a V6. A five-speed manual is standard on the GS, while the GT gets a six-speed manual. Optional automatic transmissions include Mitsubishi’s Sportronic manual shift feature.
What is the derivation of the word “Mitsubishi,” when was this company founded, and who owns it today?
Mitsubishi is the Japanese term for “three diamonds,” hence the corporate logo for this Asian automaker. Founded in the early 1870s by Yataro Iwasaki, Mitsubishi is a wholly-owned Asian company today, and is no longer owned, in part, by DaimlerChrysler.
Test Vehicle: 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
Price Range: $25,984 (GS); $26,864 (GT – prices include $595 destination charge)
Engine Size and Type: 2.4-liter four-cylinder (GS); 3.8-liter V6 (GT)
Engine Horsepower: 162 at 6,000 rpm (GS); 260 at 5,750 rpm (GT)
Engine Torque: 162 lb.-ft. at 4,000 rpm (GS); 258 lb.-ft. at 4,500 rpm (GT)
Transmission: Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic (GS); six-speed manual or five-speed automatic (GT)
Curb weight, lbs.: 3,500 – 3,700 (estimated)
EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): 22/29 mpg (GS, five-speed manual); 22/28 mpg (GS, four-speed automatic); GT estimates not yet available
Wheelbase: 101.4 inches
Length: 179.7 inches
Width: 72.2 inches
Height: 54.4 inches
Leg room (front/rear): 42.8/NA inches
Head room (front/rear): 38.5/NA inches
Max. Seating Capacity: Four
Max. Cargo Capacity: 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