To pass the time between now and 2011 when the Eclipse will be more significantly overhauled, Mitsubishi has clearly made the decision to snatch a bit of DNA from the Lancer Evolution for the 2009 model year. While the Eclipse wears the recognizable Mitsubishi trapezoidal-look well; how does what’s under it’s skin stack up?
There is really no mistaking who the Eclipse is marketed towards. Unlike the Evo, which at least could be marginally justified by a slick talking spouse as a everyday family car, the Eclipse simply does not have the space or let’s say “mature” styling that would appeal to anyone born prior to the Reagan administration. But even an old fogey like me can admit that the design, while youthful, is successful in overtly conveying a message of speed. Like nearly every 2+2 coupe produced, the back seat is mostly for show or the smallest of children. But because of the hatchback configuration, the net capacity of the Eclipse is still a decent 15+ cubic feet of space. Eating into this space and standard on the GT-P is a 650 watt Rockford Fosgate sound system that features nine speakers, complete with trunk-mounted subwoofer. I think it is safe to say that not only is the sound system a bit of a tip off as to the demographic that this car is aimed towards, but unfortunately the rest of the interior as well, which is a bit cheap-looking in comparison to the Lancer line of cars. Outside the top-end GT-P model is particularly aggressive looking with subtle alterations to the front fascia and fenders that are Lancer-like in their aggressive appearance. This especially evident from the rear which has a wrap-around wing and dual tailpipes that communicate a deep growl.
These vocalizations are the product of a 3.8 liter V6 that produces 265 horses and 262 lb. feet of torque. Getting to 60 mph is achieved with this powerplant in 7 seconds and mated to either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed Sportronic transmission good for 26 mpg on the highway. Other standard items on the Eclipse GT-P include High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and stability and traction control.
While many in the market for a coupe will opt for something that is a little less obviously intent on grabbing people’s attention, starting at $34,798, the Eclipse GT-P has a very high fun-to-dollars ratio which will still find plenty of young admirers and mid-life crisis victims.