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Edmunds: Long-Term Test: 2006 Mitsu Eclipse GT

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Introduction

By editors at Edmunds.com

Date posted: 04-03-2006

Things have been a bit rocky at Mitsubishi lately, and the Japanese automaker has a lot riding on the flashy new 2006 Eclipse sport coupe. We gave the car a mixed review this past May, complimenting its sharp handling and distinctive styling, but knocking off points for excessive torque steer and a noisy cabin.

Rather than settling for a week in a press car that may or may not be representative for the breed, we requested a long-term test vehicle we could ring out for a full year. Mitsubishi complied, and in early August the company delivered a spankin' new 2006 Eclipse GT.

Loaded with Sunset Pearlescent Orange paint, a two-tone orange-and-cream interior and the Premium Sport Package, the newest member of the Edmunds/Inside Line long-term fleet is loaded for bear and sports a $27,694 price tag. Not cheap, but still reasonable for a comfy-yet-capable sport coupe.

So far, staff members generally seem to enjoy driving the car. Road Test Editor Dan Kahn was pleasantly surprised by the Eclipse's combination of comfort, style and speed.

"I'm a die-hard rear-wheel-drive fan, so I wasn't expecting to like the Eclipse," Kahn says. "But the 3.8 V6 is buttery-smooth, makes a great exhaust note, and pulls really hard. Of course 263 horsepower makes torque steer a major issue, but I learned to deal with it. I also really enjoyed the comfy seats and the car's incredible Rockford Fosgate stereo. Overall a great road trip car, maybe even better than the faster-but-harsher Nissan 350Z."

Senior Feature Editor Joanne Helperin appreciated the Eclipse's smooth clutch and powerful engine, as she taught herself how to drive a manual transmission in the car.

"I will always have affection for the Eclipse because it is the car that got me 'over the hump' when I was learning to drive a stick," Helperin says. "After trying four other cars and feeling like I might never get it, the Eclipse's clutch, in particular, made it possible. I found the clutch very forgiving, allowing me to get moving without stalling. The interior is roomy, and I like the interior color arrangements — particularly on the seats. I also like the details, such as the door handles. It's a cool-looking ride, something I would actually buy if I didn't have kids."

Not all reviews were golden, however. Several staffers complained about excessive road noise and unruly torque steer, while a few commented on the car's aggressive styling and unusual color scheme.

"The first time I saw the Eclipse, it took my breath away, and not in a good way," says New Vehicle Reviews Editor Jeff Bryan. "The color combo shocked even my color-blind eyes. I basked in the attention of frightened tourists. The suede seat bolsters are a nice touch, but I wonder how good they'll look after a year of wear and tear. Also, I noticed the Eclipse has quite a bit of road noise, especially at higher speeds. The rear hatch requires a healthy slam to close tightly, and the doors lack a reassuring thud when being closed."

After a scant six weeks of service, the Eclipse is proving to be quite the controversial little sports car, and after a few more months of steady use its true colors will certainly come shining through. In the meantime, sales have far exceeded Mitsubishi's initial goals for the car, and its unique lines and comfortable cabin may give the Nissan 350Z and Mazda RX-8 some unexpected competition.

Current Odometer: 1,382

Best Fuel Economy: 19.2 mpg

Worst Fuel Economy: 14.6 mpg

Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 16.5 mpg

Body Repair Costs: None

Maintenance Costs: None

Problems: None

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Link: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...02/pageId=65868

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March 2006 Update

The wheels of our long-term 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT have rolled many a mile since the car's last update. More than 9,500 miles have been added to the odometer between the introduction of this vehicle back in October and the present.

Senior Automotive Editor Brent Romans accounted for much of the mileage accumulation while driving the car near his home in Fresno. After nearly a month behind the wheel, he had plenty to say about it. "I love the exhaust note," he starts. "From 3-5 grand it has a nice snarl. It eggs you on to go faster and makes the Eclipse seem faster than it really is."

Apparently, the Eclipse doesn't just sound fast. Brent's subsequent logbook entry explains how he started his Valentine's Day on the side of the road, receiving a speeding ticket from a California Highway Patrol officer. Alluding to its Sunset Pearlescent paint job Brent adds, "[This is] one of the dangers of driving a bright orange sport coupe."

Brent's extended seat time in the Mitsubishi gave him some insight into the challenges inherent in the use of this car as a daily driver. "Outward visibility is poor, not unlike many sport coupes. For people who like to use head-checks for blind spots, the rear three-quarter view is challenging." The turning radius was also an issue Brent noted in the logbook. "I never encountered a situation where the car ran out of room, but it's very noticeable that there is not much room for the wheels to turn. Maybe because of that big V6 under the hood that's transversely mounted?"

Road Test Editor Brian Moody, like much of the Inside Line staff, is all too familiar with rush-hour traffic on that artery of anxiety commonly referred to as the 405 freeway. Since our long-term Eclipse has a manual transmission, it is all the more important when he notes that "1st gear is tall enough to leave it in for the 405 grind." As our resident sultan of stereos, Brian is impressed with the sound system in the Eclipse and describes the rear storage area as "large enough to hold groceries and some stuff, even with the big subwoofer." For those looking for sports-car handling from this coupe, though, he feels that the Mitsubishi is "a sport coupe that drives more like a sedan."

During this extended tour of duty, the Eclipse required a few stops at our local dealership for maintenance and repairs.

The "service engine soon" light first caught our eye and led us to Mitsubishi of Santa Monica at around 6,800 miles. It turns out that a misfire in the No. 3 cylinder was the culprit, so parts were ordered and the light reset. Since it was already at the dealer and time allowed, the Eclipse's prescribed 7,500-mile service was also performed. This service comprised a tire rotation, battery service, brake adjustment and oil change. The cost was $108.08 for parts and labor.

An encore appearance of the "service engine soon" light precipitated the arrival of new spark plugs and an ignition coil at our local dealer. The car went back to the dealership, the parts were installed under warranty and the light was reset. Issue resolved. No charge.

With nearly 10,000 miles on our Eclipse, it was a mystery that the car was still in need of a front license plate bracket. With this in mind, we made a third visit to the Mitsubishi dealer. The cost was $49.45 for the bracket and the labor to mount it, which required drilling holes in the front bumper.

Edmunds.com's editor in chief, Karl Brauer, summed up the consensus of the editors when he noted, "It's really interesting how Mitsubishi maintained the spirit of the Eclipse after all of these years." He continued, "I wish there were a turbo all-wheel-drive version available, but even as it is I enjoy the fun-to-drive aspect that its engine and handling provide."

Current Odometer: 10,950

Best Fuel Economy: 32.7 mpg

Worst Fuel Economy: 11.8 mpg

Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 19.6 mpg

Body Repair Costs: None

Maintenance Costs: $108.08 for regular maintenance service: tire rotation, battery service, brake cleaning and adjustment, oil and filter change. Install new front license plate bracket for $49.45.

Problems: Replace faulty spark plugs and ignition coil under warranty.

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Link: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...02/pageId=69355

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all I've seen driving these so far is women. It's really starting to get an image of "chick car" for me.

2 service engine soon lights in under 10K? Needed new spark plugs? :blink:

Edited by PurdueGuy

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I didn't know it was a mid-engined car.... Oh wait, that's the back end?? What are they doing putting head lights on the back too?

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Guest lance armstrong's Testicles

I didn't know it was a mid-engined car.... Oh wait, that's the back end?? What are they doing putting head lights on the back too?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

yeah, thats the same thing your mother said when you were born :hissyfit:

:pokeowned:

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oh cmon, bash the styling if you want, but first off, just about any large v6 will only get 20mpg combined. On the highway it should get more, and in case you didnt notice, it reported almost 33 mpg in one test.

the car drew some comparison with the RX and 350Z and that for a front driver is worth merit. It drew praise for its engine and drivetrain and nothing bad about nadling other than that it was more sedan like.

And the fact is that this car can do the 60 in the mid 5's, and isn't 35 grand like a 350Z. For folks wanting a coupe that hauls and be FWD its a nice offering.

Its ez to pile on Mitsubishi but this car is not that bad. Its got a niche in the market and it performs pretty good. Better than a G6 GTP apparently.

The styling and whether you like it or not is really the most debatable point about the car and that's fair criticism. I'm lukewarm to it, but I do like the choice of a FWD sports coupe with a v6 and a stick.

I don't think they've tried to position themselves directly to the 350z and G35, etc. I think they are going as an alternative to the RSX for those who may want something with a v6.

Edited by regfootball

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I didn't know it was a mid-engined car.... Oh wait, that's the back end?? What are they doing putting head lights on the back too?

Those tailights looks pretty damn cool, as with the headlights, they have a complex and interesting design that is for more interesting and cool than most designs on cars. It's clear because many people who bought Eclipses in the past would swap out the stock tailights for clear "altezza" aftermarket ones. So Mitubishi just gave `em what they want.

oh cmon, bash the styling if you want, but first off, just about any large v6 will only get 20mpg combined.  On the highway it should get more, and in case you didnt notice, it reported almost 33 mpg in one test.

the car drew some comparison with the RX and 350Z and that for a front driver is worth merit.  It drew praise for its engine and drivetrain and nothing bad about nadling other than that it was more sedan like.

And the fact is that this car can do the 60 in the mid 5's, and isn't 35 grand like a 350Z.  For folks wanting a coupe that hauls and be FWD its a nice offering.

Its ez to pile on Mitsubishi but this car is not that bad.  Its got a niche in the market and it performs pretty good.  Better than a G6 GTP apparently.

The styling and whether you like it or not is really the most debatable point about the car and that's fair criticism.  I'm lukewarm to it, but I do like the choice of a FWD sports coupe with a v6 and a stick.

I don't think they've tried to position themselves directly to the 350z and G35, etc.  I think they are going as an alternative to the RSX for those who may want something with a v6.

Wow reg, this has gotta be the first time I've seen you defend a car lol.

I think the styling is great, it took the daring but kinda ugly concept and made it into a sexy production car. What I love about the Eclipse is that no matter where you look, something interesting, detailed, and expensive looking is going on.

Edited by Dodgefan

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Interesting- it has the same beltline as the G6 yet no one mentioned 'goofy styling'.

Even if a mitsubishi was appealing enough to consider, I would be nervous about buying one while the threat of a market pull-out continues to linger.

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Interesting- it has the same beltline as the G6 yet no one mentioned 'goofy styling'.

Even if a mitsubishi was appealing enough to consider, I would be nervous about buying one while the threat of a market pull-out continues to linger.

Smart one... it isn't the G6's beltline, it is its ass that's goofy. And anyways, it's better looking than the Eclipse if you haven't noticed. All I see is a blob. A blobby excuse for an Eclipse. The only thing athletic about it... are the wheels. Funny.

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Those tailights looks pretty damn cool

I'll take all red tail lights any day. Clear looks dumb just as it did on the original Toyota Altezza.

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Smart one... it isn't the G6's beltline, it is its ass that's goofy. And anyways, it's better looking than the Eclipse if you haven't noticed. All I see is a blob. A blobby excuse for an Eclipse. The only thing athletic about it... are the wheels. Funny.

Well then you should pay more attention to thelines of the car, I can see them no problem...although yes it has a big butt, lol. BUt it looks alright, better than the Altima for instance (king of big car butts). I liked the G6 concept, the production model looks like what would happen if you asked Toyota to build a Pontiac...it looks too Japanese, and the coupe is a mess.

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Well then you should pay more attention to thelines of the car, I can see them no problem...although yes it has a big butt, lol. BUt it looks alright, better than the Altima for instance (king of big car butts).  I liked the G6 concept, the production model looks like what would happen if you asked Toyota to build a Pontiac...it looks too Japanese, and the coupe is a mess.

I've studied one up close and in person... It's still nothing more than a blob. A Pontiac Solstice is sexy, a Mitsubishi Ecplispe is not. It is a blob... like a new Honda Civic or a Toyota Yaris. Blobs aren't sexy... they are the furthest thing from it. I think an Accord, Altima, or Camry is sexier. How sad is that? :P

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I've studied one up close and in person... It's still nothing more than a blob. A Pontiac Solstice is sexy, a Mitsubishi Ecplispe is not. It is a blob... like a new Honda Civic or a Toyota Yaris. Blobs aren't sexy... they are the furthest thing from it. I think an Accord, Altima, or Camry is sexier. How sad is that? :P

lol that was low. :pokeowned: But i still like the Eclipse...the Solstice is sexier though, I'll give you that.

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The Ralliart concept looks pretty mean:

So is the Ralliart version still FWD?

And what is with these damn front bumpers?

GTR:

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Evo:

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VW:

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Audi:

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And now the eclipse?

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IMO, the blacked-out parts of the Ralliart concept looked like Paul Walker ran out of $$$.

He just had to get two of the big bottles :lovey::drunk::mind-blowing::nono::sneeze::dizzy::congrats:

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oh cmon, bash the styling if you want, but first off, just about any large v6 will only get 20mpg combined. On the highway it should get more, and in case you didnt notice, it reported almost 33 mpg in one test.

And the fact is that this car can do the 60 in the mid 5's, and isn't 35 grand like a 350Z. For folks wanting a coupe that hauls and be FWD its a nice offering.

my car has the same size v6 only supercharged and it gets 20+ MPG...

as far as a FWD coupe that hauls... monte carlo anyone? i think so. MUCH better looking than this... squished cricket thing... V8 with more horse and a ton more torque (or if you go to 00-05, V6 slightly less horse, still more torque) and it doesnt start falling apart before 10k miles... not to mention its a domestic

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my car has the same size v6 only supercharged and it gets 20+ MPG...

as far as a FWD coupe that hauls... monte carlo anyone? i think so. MUCH better looking than this... squished cricket thing... V8 with more horse and a ton more torque (or if you go to 00-05, V6 slightly less horse, still more torque) and it doesnt start falling apart before 10k miles... not to mention its a domestic

:rotflmao: You think the Monte Carlo looks better? I'm sorry but that's hilarious. The refresh gives the Monte Carlo a less ugly front end, but the rest looks the same, and it ain't pretty.

Edited by Dodgefan

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and you think the eclipse looks good at all? even if you dont like the looks of the monte... its the lesser of two evils

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