The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse quickly became a popular sport compact car due to plenty of factory options as well as a great number of aftermarket parts and designs. It doesn’t deviate from this path, providing bargain performance right off the factory line as well as a platform for plenty of modification. The GSX is very similar to Mitsubishi’s sport coupe flagship, the 3000 GT. While it doesn’t have all the tricks and performance technology as the 3000 GT, the fully-loaded GSX is still less expensive than the bare-bones 3000 GT base model.
The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse provides the addition of the Spyder convertible. This is not just a convertible roof tacked on to the Eclipse, but a development of the platform to provide the new models the same performance capabilities. There is a new panic button system, updated audio, and some cosmetic updates.
Body Styles: coupe, convertible
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mitsubishi Eclipse RS, Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T, Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GS-T
The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse gets little in the way of updates. The remote keyless entry key fob gets a panic feature, while the audio system has been modernized. The RS is now able with a rear spoiler added as an option, and three new colors are available. One major update is the availability of the new convertible model, the Spyder, which is not merely a convertible option but is a ground-up redesign of the Eclipse platform to keep performance capabilities intact. This means that, unlike many vehicles where the convertible model is much heavier and performs much differently from the base model, it's only 50 pounds heavier and performs nearly identically. Some of this stems from the 2.4-liter engine that provides higher output than the standard two-liter in the coupe, the rest from a stiffer chassis.
The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse is sleek and streamlined with some slight curves to the sides but nothing outlandish. The front fascia is softer and rounder than its 3000 GT cousin, but the trademark hump in the front hood still looks awkward.
The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse has an attractive interior that is easy to navigate, if not slightly tight. It has a simple instrument cluster and console that’s well laid out. While it does have a back seat, it’s not good for anything other than children, small pets, or cargo. There is a surprising amount of cargo space in the rear for a sport compact. Thin pillars and no rear wing on base models allow for great visibility, and the addition of a wing does not diminish that visibility by much. The ride is a little harsh, but that is to be expected from a sport compact.
Performance & Handling
The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse has a two-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder on the base model that's spritely when it's partnered with the five-speed manual. However, it doesn’t quite perform up to par when tied to the four-speed automatic. The two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is wonderfully powerful. Paired with the five-speed manual, it can reach 60 mph in below seven seconds, which is almost two seconds faster than the base 3000 GT. Both engines can keep it cruising on the highway at a good clip, and both are ripe for performance upgrades and tuning. The suspension is stiff enough to help out the handling but not so stiff so it's uncomfortable. Handling is tight with great turning and responsive brakes on the upper-level models.
The 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse provides standard driver and passenger front airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are available across all models but are not standard on any of them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Eclipse four out of five stars in both passenger and driver safety.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mitsubishi Eclipse, 2.0-liter, four-speed automatic: 18/27 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Eclipse, 2.0-liter, five-speed manual: 19/29 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Eclipse, 2.4-liter, four-speed automatic: 18/26 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Eclipse, 2.4-liter, five-speed manual: 19/27 mpg city/highway
- Smooth styling
- Comfortable interior
- GS-T and GSX competes with much higher-priced vehicles
You Won't Like
- Base engine is slightly weak
- Back seats are useless
Bargain performance with tons of options.
If You Like This Vehicle
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