Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mitsubishi Eclipse 2011 Vehicle Overview

The 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe, however, just can't keep up with the latest sport coupes and hot hatches. Pros, Avant-garde styling, one of the few convertibles in its price range, powerful V6 in GT, comfortable front seats, relatively roomy cargo area. Cons, Poor outward visibility with convertible, sluggish acceleration with GS models, torque steer with GT, small backseat, no telescoping wheel, lackluster interior quality.

The dearth of similarly priced convertibles makes the Eclipse Spyder worth a look. The base 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse gets a price reduction for 2011 and standard alloy wheels. Heated leather front seats and a power driver seat are now standard on the GS Sport. The GT can no longer be had with a manual transmission. All Eclipse coupes get a blacked-out roof.

Powertrains and Performance
Every 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse is front-wheel drive. GS models are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 162 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. The GS comes standard with a five-speed manual, while a four-speed automatic is optional on the GS and standard on the GS Sport. Estimated fuel economy with the automatic is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.

The Eclipse GT gets a 3.6-liter V6 good for 265 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. This engine requires premium fuel and its estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

The 2011 Eclipse comes standard with four-wheel antilock brakes, stability control and front seat side airbags. The coupe features front side curtain airbags and the Spyder gets taller side airbags that cover occupants' heads. There are no rear head restraints. The Eclipse Spyder received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Driving Impressions
For many drivers, the 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse's driving dynamics may be a bit of a disappointment. The GT's V6 produces plenty of power, but getting all those horses to the pavement can often result in a large dose of wheelspin and torque steer. In contrast to the V6, the four-cylinder struggles with the Eclipse's heavy curb weight -- acceleration with the smaller engine could best be described as anemic.

Another item of contention would be the large turning circle, which necessitates many more multiple-point turns than with other vehicles. Overall handling should satisfy most drivers, but those with an appetite for performance would likely find inspiration in any number of competing sport coupes or hatchbacks. The Spyder exhibits a little more chassis flex over bumps than we'd like, but it's not enough to spoil an otherwise enjoyable driving experience.

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