2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT Convertible

Overview:

This week I drove the 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT Convertible. I drove the first year model out of the chute in June of 2000 and since it continues to catch my eye I thought it was worth a second look. I continue to be impressed with the sleek and eye appealing styling. Yes I have always had a love affair with cars and get high on speed and “G” force.

In High School I owned a Corvette powered Ford Sedan that defined who I thought I was and an expression of who I wanted to be. If you grew up in the 1950’s and ‘60’s you even helped to define what cars would be like today. Stock cars were unexciting and young men of the day tried to change that. Detroit and other carmakers stood up and took notice. For young men of past generations cars truly did define their manhood.

Today you seldom see radical modifications made to stockcars because carmakers are more in tune with what people want. This GT proves that you can be stylin affordably. It is also apparent that present day men “and” women have re-popularized Sport Cars and particularly convertibles. Trucks and SUV’s have made a big mark on our highways. I believe that is because of the freedom of mobility and independence that come as “Standard Equipment” in today’s world. Ferrari epitomizes our love of speed and beauty and Trucks and SUV’s gives us the impression we can get out of harms way if need be.

Soon you’ll see a flood of  “Hummer” wanna be’s, including Mercedes that will exploit man’s desire to out gun the bad guys, should they come knocking at our door.

Handling & Performance:

Low center of gravity cars are exciting to drive. They hug the corners like you should hug your mate.

And when you hug with a 200 horsepower V6 the thrill is even better. Manual transmissions help you become an integral part of the car and performance is enhanced by your touch and timing.

Styling:

I immediately liked the look of this sport car but it has grown even more pleasing to my eye over the year plus since I first drove it. If for no other reason than it is great looking it is worth a second look.

It is awkward for big people and women in dresses to get in and out of, but for the youthful driver (age not considered) it is worth the effort. In any case, there is no extra charge for the added exercise you’ll get.

The trunk spoiler is an annoyance because it blocks your rear view. No problem with the top down.

Fit and Finish:

Japanese standards. The Cadillac of quality carmakers.

Conveniences:

Most everything you ever wanted is included with a few notable exceptions. They should have included ABS and a power seat as standard equipment.

Cost:

Fair, but still on the high side. However, consumers will determine value by voting with their dollars.

Consumer Recommendation:

This is my pick of the bunch all things considered, although that opinion doesn’t include the Acura RSX or the Mercury Cougar, which I haven’t tested.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Options are too expensive. ABS should be standard.

The Competition:

Acura RSX $20-23,000, Audi TT $31-40,000, BMW Z3 $31-38,000, Chevrolet Camaro $18-30,000, Ford Mustang $17-29,000, Honda Prelude $24-26,000, Mazda MX-5 Miata $21-26,000, Mercury Cougar $16-20,000, Toyota Celica $17-22,000.

Good News:

Fast V6, state of art soft top, great ride and solid feel, distinctive styling

Bad News:

Small trunk and opening, small rear seat.

Standard Equipment:

3.0 liter 200 horsepower V6 engine, 5-speed manual trans, dual airbags, anti theft engine immobilizer, power rack and pinion steering, 4-wheel sport tuned independent suspension, 4-wheel power front ventilated disc brakes, power soft top, air conditioning, power windows, locks and side mirrors, Infinity stereo with CD player, 10-way adjustable driver seat, adjusting steering column, keyless entry, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel, power antenna.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 29 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,597.

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