2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder Review
Whenever a carmaker launches a new coupe, it is not
unusual that a convertible version arrives shortly thereafter. Usually, the
convertible models are pleasant but ultimately not as complete a packages as the
hardtop version, but in the case of the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder the opposite
For some odd reason, Mitsubishi has made the Spyder
a much nicer car than its coupe siblings. Just take a look at the Eclipse's
styling, for example. The Coupe's sporty roofline, distinctive face, and
rounded, bulgy haunches are positives, however, the backside is large and
totally at odds with rest of the car.
In convertible form, the canvas roof extends several
inches beyond the coupe's roofline, giving the Spyder a stubbier and tidier rear
end. It also looks wider and squatter overall, while its topless shape also
highlights the neat design of the doors and the sporty rake of the windshield.
It is just so much more visually arresting and elegant than the coupe,
regardless of whether the top is up or down.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder's interior is
essentially the same as the coupe. The rear seats in both coupe and convertible
derivatives are something of an afterthought, so much so that Mitsubishi did not
bother to put headrests in the back of the Spyder. And the engineers even stuck
an 8-inch subwoofer in the middle of the rear seatback. It is part of an
impressive 650W six-CD Rockford Fosgate system that is included with every
Eclipse Spyder and is just another example of how there seems to be more love in
the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder than the hardtop.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder's roof is solid and
slick. Top comes down in at about 19 seconds. Two windshield rail latches have
to be released before the roof can be folded away electrically. Roof-up wind
noise is well suppressed, though there is still a bit of tire noise. Even with
the windows wound all the way down and driving along at highway speeds, the
interior remains relatively calm and free from buffeting.
On the move, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder's chassis
is evident in not only the virtual elimination of cowl shake, but also in the
way the car feels. At 3,472 pounds the four-cylinder convertible is about 200
pounds heavier than the coupe, but its 162 horsepower, 2.4 liter engine doesn't
struggle as you might expect and compensates for its lack of power by revving
happily and sipping gas sparingly in the process.
The six-speed, 260 horsepower, 3.8 liter V-6 is best
avoided because a fidgety suspension and excessive
torque steer makes it too much work to drive even with moderate enthusiasm.
The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder's steering does not offer enough feedback but at
least it is reasonably quick.
Body control and rider quality is impressive on the
2.4 liter model too, while the five-speed manual gearbox is light and precise.
At $25,389 for the 2.4 liter and $28,269 for the
V-6, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is not cheap but it somehow feels better
value than the coupe because it is so much more desirable.