Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS-T Convertible (213)


The Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS-T is quickly identified this year by its newly added chrome plated 16″ wheels. But it’s the turbocharger that will propel those chrome wheels out in front of traffic where the highway patrol can keep an eye on you – especially if you opt for a red one like the one I tested.

I was impressed with the overall quality and performance as it reminded me a little of the Acura NSX. I mention the comparison loosely, especially since the NSX is one of my all time favorite sports cars. But when I pulled along side a pretty black NSX I had to reflect on the cost to value ratio and would find it difficult to justify three times the dough for the added snob appeal you’d get with the NSX.

Cars like this Spyder GS-T are for the “young and the restless” because it makes you want to go. But then you have to be young, without kids, and know how to travel light at the same time. There isn’t a lot of space for more than you and a friend and very little luggage. Of course it does have a small rear seat that you could use for storage.

Eclipse debuted in 1990 and unique to the Eclipse line is the convertible Spyder, which is also available in an all-wheel-drive version – the GSX. Both are turbocharged. You may recall the difference between “Turbo” and “Super”-charged is that the boost from the turbocharger comes from an exhaust driven turbine where the supercharger is driven by a belt drive much like your air conditioner, etc. The supercharger is quicker off the line but it takes horsepower for the belt drive. The turbocharger is more efficient and you sense the “neck snapping” thrust shortly after you build up Rpm’s.

This Spyder is well detailed with nice touches such as a leather wrapped wheel and shift knob that add to the sporty feeling. It is also surprisingly tight for a convertible. Mitsubishi attributes that to the fact that it was built “as” a convertible and not simply a modified coupe as is the case with most convertibles. If you’ve ever driven a convertible Camero you’ll really appreciate the difference. Camero creaks, squeaks, moans and groans every time you go over a dip or bump – like your driveway. In addition, the power drop-top is easy to operate and it can be lowered or raised without setting the parking brake or putting the shifter into park or neutral. It senses movement and only requires that you are not moving. Finally the spoiler gives it that added touch of sportiness.

The Competition:

Acura Integra $16,200 – $23,500, Dodge Avenger $15,370 – $17,645, Eagle Talon $14,505 – $20,715, Ford Mustang $16,150 – $28,510, Honda Prelude $23,300 – $25,800, Hyundai Tiburon $13,599 – $14,899, Nissan 200SX $13,149 – $16,749, Pontiac Firebird $18,015 – $29,715, Toyota Celica $20,111 – $24,550, Volkswagen Golf $13,495 – $20,235.

Good News:

California convertible, fast & fun to drive, 1/3 the price of an Acura NSX.

Bad News:

Limited storage space, my lower back tells me it’s hard to get in and out of, and if I wore a skirt it would even be more difficult.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder 210 horsepower engine, 5-speed manual trans, dual air bags, power rack & pinion steering, 4-wheel independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, power soft top, air conditioning, security system with keyless entry, stereo with cassette and CD player 8 speaker sound system, cruise control, power widows and door locks, 6-way power driver seat, leather, tilt wheel and power mirrors.

Gas Stats:

23 City/ 31 Highway MPG.


MSRP is $26,660 and the model I drove added the ABS (anti-locking brake system) for a total of $27,852.

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