2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse

By February 21, 2008
2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse
On Sale: Late Spring
Expected Pricing: $20,000-$30,000

Mitsubishi redesigned the Eclipse for the 2006 model year, adding a big 3.8-liter V6 instead of a turbocharged four-cylinder and opting for front-wheel drive instead or rear- or all-wheel drive.

At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Mitsubishi showed it is sticking with that plan for 2009 while giving the Eclipse freshened styling, slightly more power, and additional features.

The Eclipse coupe and Spyder convertible will continue in four-cylinder GS and V6 GT models for 2009. The mid-line SE model will be dropped.

The biggest news is the new exterior.

Up front, the 2009 Eclipse and Eclipse Spyder get a new grille, new front and rear bumper fascias, and a larger rear spoiler for the V6-powered GT model. The grille features a blackened center section that plays off the design theme of the 2008 Lancer Evolution. The bumpers are body color on the GS and two-tone on the GT. The overall effect is a tauter, more attractive look.

More features are on the way. The Eclipse GT gets high-intensity discharge headlights and electronic stability control, while the GS model's Sun & Sound package adds aluminum pedals. Three new colors are available as well: Maizen Blue pearl, Quick Silver metallic, and a yellow color called Solar.

The Eclipse remains largely unchanged under the hood, but the addition of dual exhaust boosts the 3.8-liter MIVEC V6 from 263 horsepower to 265 horses at 5750 rpm. Torque is also up slightly to 262 pound-feet at 4500 rpm. The V6 is offered with a standard six-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic transmission. The GS comes with a 162-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic.

The Eclipse is built at Mitsubishi's plant in Normal, Illinois. Pricing hasn't been announced, but it should be little changed from the current model, which starts at $20,000 and tops out at $30,000 for a GT Spyder. Look for the 2009 model in late spring.

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