Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Overview
Mitsubishi touts its U.S. cars and trucks as "Driven to Thrill," and its newly freshened 2009 Eclipse Spyder as the "attainable exotic." Based on the fourth-generation Eclipse coupe, the Spyder is available as the four-cylinder GS or V6 GT, and features a standard premium audio and a power cloth top that tucks away under a flush tonneau in about 19 seconds. It looks great and is pleasant to drive, especially the 265-horsepower V6 GT, but it's also bigger and heavier than ever. And, unlike some previous generations, it's front-wheel drive only – there's no available all-wheel drive or turbocharged model.
This would be a good choice if you want a well-equipped, reasonably priced open-air sportster with look-at-me styling, moderate-to-good performance and token rear seats. Compared to its closest competitors, Ford's iconic Mustang and Toyota's roomy Solara, it's less common than the former and less pricey than the latter.
If you want the lithe agility of a Mazda MX-5, Pontiac Solstice or Saturn Sky, the aggressive dynamics of a Nissan 350Z or the raw performance of a Chevy Corvette (all two-seaters), this is not your ride. It is fun to drive, but it's no true sports car.
The Eclipse Spyder receives a new front and rear fascia, with the GT trim gaining a new, throaty dual exhaust and Active Stability Control. New colors include a yellow paint bright enough to earn the name "Solar."
At nearly 3,500 pounds base curb weight – more with the V6 engine and a load of options – the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is no lightweight, ultra-agile sports car. That said, it looks terrific top-up or top-down and can be great fun to drive on twisty two-lanes, especially the V6-powered GT with its available Premium Sport Package, which includes 18-inch performance tires. The handling is good, the steering crisp and the braking strong, but accelerating hard out of a tight turn or from a stop is asking a bit much of the front-drive layout and therefore results in noticeable torque steer, which is felt as tugging at the wheel. Despite that, 60 miles per hour from rest comes up in a respectable seven seconds. The attractive interior is ergonomically excellent and the seats are first-rate. But be careful: The low, thick-pillared convertible top leaves substantial blind spots to the rear quarters.
Power Cloth Soft Top
The multi-layer fabric top, with its polyester and cotton interior headliner and heated glass rear window, provides a surprisingly quiet cabin when it's up, and a hydraulic system, quieter than the previous model's electric motors, folds it completely out of sight under a flush-fitting power tonneau in about 19 seconds.
Rockford Fosgate Premium Audio
This surprisingly standard high-end system pumps 650 watts of peak power through nine speakers, including an eight-inch, long-throw subwoofer in a designed-in, fiberglass-reinforced, acoustic-suspension enclosure between the rear seats. It includes a six-disc CD changer with MP3 playback capability, plus unique automatic sound equalization for top-up or top-down driving, custom music genre and sound field settings and an industry-first memory that stores DSP settings in six presets.
The "wave form" instrument panel houses easy-to-reach controls and motorcycle-inspired gauges lit at night by ice-blue LEDs. The high-back, adjustable-lumbar-support "race-inspired" bucket seats have open headrests for enhanced rear visibility and the faux leather-covered four-spoke tilt steering wheel has remote buttons for the standard Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Despite being the largest Eclipse to date and having more interior room in every dimension, the rear seats are still pretty much useless for adults. They do, however, feature three-point belts and anchor points for child restraints. The center console offers storage pockets, large covered cupholders, a covered storage box big enough for CD cases and a pair of 12-volt power outlets.
Compared to the previous generations, the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is wider, taller and longer, sporting a wide track and the longest wheelbase to date. Despite the increased dimensions, the Spyder's curvaceous body, muscular shape and crouching-tiger presence make it look somewhat smaller than it is. Impressive in this price range is the fully-automatic folding cloth top that hides itself beneath a power tonneau cover in less than 20 seconds. The Spyder's new wide-mouth grille, aero-wedge profile, tightly stretched skin and a laid-back windshield make a bold statement. Despite the inclusion of rear seats, the car comes off visually as a two-seater with a low, tight-fitting "speedster" top.
The four-cylinder base GS is well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, power cloth soft top with powered tonneau cover, theft-discouraging engine immobilizer and a noteworthy 650-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. Standard safety features include dual-stage front airbags with front-passenger occupant sensors, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, HID headlamps, tire pressure monitor and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). The GT adds the V6 engine, electronic traction control, Active Stability Control, dual exhaust, an outside temperature and compass display and larger ventilated rear disc brakes in place of the GS model's solid rear discs.
An optional Leather Package available on the GS includes leather seating surfaces, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, aluminum pedals and an outside temperature and compass display. A Premium Sport Package for the GT adds all that plus 235/45R18 performance tires on machine-finished 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control system and eight-way driver's seat.
The standard GS 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates decent performance, at least partially due to its patented Mitsubishi Innovative Variable timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) system, which varies intake valve timing to enhance both low-end torque and high-rpm power. The GT's 3.8-liter V6, which also benefits from MIVEC, offers significantly more horsepower to much better motivate the Spyder's considerable mass. Both available automatic transmissions feature Sportronic shifting for manual control of gear changes when desired.
2.4-liter in-line 4
162 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
162 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 19/26 (automatic)
265 horsepower @ 5750 rpm
262 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (manual), 16/24 (automatic)
The well-equipped 2009 Eclipse Spyder GS powered by the 162-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and five-speed manual transmission has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at around $26,500. The optional four-speed automatic adds about $1,000. The Eclipse Spyder GT with the 3.8-liter 265-horsepower V6 starts near $30,000 and tops out at about $33,000 fully loaded. Before you set out to buy your new Eclipse, be sure to check the New Car Blue Book Value, which shows the typical transaction price paid in your area. The 2009 Eclipse Spyder is priced similarly to the Mustang Convertible, Saturn Sky and Toyota Solara, yet, over time, we expect that the Eclipse Spyder GS and GT will be slightly behind all three competitors when it comes to resale value.