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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Overview

In a Class All Its Own

The Eclipse truly is a do-everything sports car; in its segment, no other vehicle is as versatile or offers as wide a range of models and trims. The Eclipse comes as a sporty entry-level four-cylinder, a high-performance V6-powered touring coupe and a 2+2 Spyder convertible. Given the wide range of tastes and needs the car-buying public exhibits, Mitsubishis clever marketing of this hot sport coupe and convertible makes perfect sense and puts the Eclipse into a category all its own. Add to this the coupes enormous rear hatch and you truly end up with a very livable sports car.

Though there are many variations, all the Eclipse models ride on the same chassis, pulled by their front wheels and powered by a transversely-mounted engine. They also employ the same front strut, rear coil spring suspension, though differing trim levels receive varying shock settings as well as differing diameter stabilizer (anti-sway) bars. The Eclipse comes standard with a marvelously precise five-speed manual transmission, but you can opt for Mitsubishis 4-speed automatic with adaptive shift control or—on high-end models—the sophisticated Sportronic automatic with manual shift mode.

The Eclipse coupe offers a stylish, sporty mode of transportation that wont cramp your style—or your body. The Eclipse has a great set of front bucket seats that wont fatigue your back or legs, even after hours of driving. The drivers side seat can be equipped with a manual lumbar support, though no such convenience exists for the passenger. When it comes to interior room, the Eclipse is near the top of its class. Youll find ample head, hip and leg room up front and though the rear seat is small compared to most sedans, the deeply-sculpted seat bottoms allow two adults to fit somewhat comfortably in the back. Even the Sypder models offer a back seat, though understandably it is much smaller and narrower than that of the coupe. One other item worth noting on the Spyder is its thickly padded power top and glass rear window, both standard features.

On coupe models, a peppy 147-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Eclipse RS and GS. For a four cylinder, this engine exhibits surprisingly strong off-the-line acceleration and even better passing power. Though not as quick as the V6, the 2.4 offers its owners a nice combination of performance and fuel efficiency. The performance-oriented GT model gets a 200-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 (210 horsepower on the GTS). The Eclipse V6 is a strong performer, but it is not an all-out barn burner. The 3.0-liter V6 provides more than adequate acceleration and good low-end torque, but it also has a certain refinement and smoothness that makes it easy to live with during a day-to-day driving. The engines and transmissions are the same for the convertible Spyder trims, though no RS version is offered.

On the road, youll find the Eclipse delivers a controlled and balanced ride, nonplused by road imperfections such as potholes or speed bumps. Even on the GTS model, with its aggressive 17-inch wheels and tires, there is a very livable blend of performance handling and comfortable ride. You can push the Eclipse beyond its boundaries and force the car to understeer, but control is easily regained, especially if you have the Sportronic automatic which gets you the added bonus of traction control. The steering feel on the Eclipse is excellent, with a nicely weighted feel and pretty quick response times. On the GT and GTS models, the big wheels and tires that look so good act to hinder the cars turning radius, which is rather wide for a car of this size. Short of this one characteristic, youll likely find that driving the Eclipse is every bit as fun as the cars sexy exterior styling promises.

The base RS comes standard with air conditioning, engine immobilizer, power windows, power door locks, 8-way manual drivers seat, remote hatch release, AM/FM stereo with CD and 15-inch alloy wheels. The GS adds cruise control, keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, drivers seat manual lumbar support, color-keyed rear spoiler, dual-illuminated vanity mirrors, dual power sideview mirrors, tinted glass, a six-speaker audio system and 16-inch alloy wheels. The V6 powered GT models gets four-wheel disc brakes, integrated fog lights, larger anti-sway bars, color-keyed ground effects, 17-inch alloy wheels and cargo area light. The top-of-the-line GTS gets ABS brakes, side-impact airbags, 6-way power driver seat, leather seating, power sunroof (coupes) and 210-watt Infinity sound system with seven speakers and an in-dash 6-disc CD changer.

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