2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Preview
By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
- Fresh front and rear styling for 2009
- Hatchback coup_ and Spyder convertible body styles
- Four-cylinder GS or V-6 GT engine
- Greater differentiation between GS and GT models
- GT gains 2 hp, adds Active Stability Control
- New spoiler and high-intensity-discharge headlights on GT
Both the low-slung Eclipse hatchback coup_ and its Spyder convertible companion come with either 4-cylinder or V-6 power, but the V-6 engine is now rated at 265 hp. In 2008, the V-6 engine generated 263 hp in coup_s, or 260 hp in convertibles. A new dual-exhaust finisher for the GT accounts for the 2-hp boost and promises more powerful sound. Known for its sporty nature, the Eclipse has been part of Mitsubishi's lineup since the 1990 model year. A while back, Eclipses came with front-drive or all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is the only choice now. Both body styles can seat 4 passengers. Like Mitsubishi's Galant sedan and Endeavor SUV, Eclipses are manufactured in Normal, IL.
One model has been dropped from the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse lineup: the SE coupe, which had the GT's V-6 engine. Otherwise, nothing has changed. GS and GT models come in both body styles. New 2-tone bumper fascias, front and rear, are supposed to give GT models a more aggressive appearance. Mitsubishi says the latest Eclipse wears the same jet fighter-inspired nose as the recently-launched Evo sedan. A large rear spoiler is newly standard for GT editions. So are high-intensity-discharge headlights. Spyder convertibles have a power-operated, 3-layer fabric top with a full inner headliner and a heated glass back window. The cloth roof stows beneath a solid cover.
Engine choices for the 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse are essentially the same as in the 2008 models. GS coup_s and Spyders hold a 4-cylinder engine, while GT versions get V-6 power. For 2009, the GT's 3.8-liter V-6 produces 265 hp-up from 263 in the 2008 coup_. Either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission works with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. A 6-speed manual is standard with V-6 power, with a 5-speed Sportronic automatic optional. On GT models, alloy wheels hold 18-inch tires.
Coup_s are equipped with curtain-type air bags, which protect front-seat occupants. Convertibles lack the curtain air bags, but both body styles include seat-mounted side-impact air bags. Active Stability control is standard on GT models, but not available for the GS. Anti-lock braking is standard on all 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipses. Traction control is installed on GT Eclipses.