More scoops than an ice-cream cone distinguish the wider wheelbase 2007 Eclipse coupe and convertible Spyder from other cars on the road. After 16 years of turning drivers into fanatics, things are looking up for the fourth incarnation of the Eclipse, but there is still a lot at stake for Mitsubishi. When the Eclipse first debut in 1990, it became an instant hit in the rave young car buyers’ demographic, helping Mitsubishi launch additional models including the mid-sized Gallant and the compact Lancer Evolution. In 1995, the car was redesigned to compete more aggressively with Honda Civic and the Acura Integra. Although the 2007 Eclipse has curb appeal – with shapely wheel wells, a lavishly appointed interior and a torque rich engine (263 horsepower in GT and 162 horsepower in the GS), there are a lot of cars in the $19,669 – $25,389 price point. Facing competition from the Acura RSX, Mazda RX-8, and Toyota Scion, the 2007 Eclipse has been extensively reworked to retain its share of the youth market.

Open up. Communicate in your own way. Don’t just pass through the world, be a part of it. This is the premise for the restyled 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe and Spyder. The wheel arches have more flair, hinting at the improved, higher performance engine that gives 23 mpg city; 30 mpg highway. Get behind the wheel and the car feels different from previous models. The ergonomically contoured cabin is well put together, featuring a twin scooped Alfa Romeo style rpm/velocity dials, and supportive seats that provide exceptional driving position. The cabin is sleek with tactile buttons. The engine is loud, which can be a good thing if you like aural feedback or bad if you prefer quieter driving.

Overall, the new Eclipse has a very clean fit and finish. But there are few things that could improve upon. The car’s turn radius, for example, has grown to a whopping 40 feet. A two-door sports coupe should be able to turn more succinctly. Additionally, the car with its front mounted engine and front wheel drive has 62% of its weight in the very front, rather than towards the center, compromising cornering. Moreover, the 2006 Eclipse does not feature traction control for better handling to compensate for this imbalance on wet or slippery surfaces on all its models. (Traction control is only available as an option on the more expensive GT.) Lastly the new Eclipse has gained weight. At 3,450 lbs – it’s not the lithe, minimalist two-door sports car should be.

Two excellent engines are at the heart of 2007 Eclipse. The GS features the 2.4 liter inline-four engine with 162 horsepower, and the GT (grand touring) has a more powerful 3.8 liter V6 engine with 263 horsepower. Peak output occurs at 4,500 rpm propelling the GT from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. Additionally, the new car is filled with a variety of safety innovations, such as front and side airbags, ABS braking, impact absorbing cabin that detracts from the more Spartan racing feel of the predecessor.

One look of the 2007 Eclipse Coupe or Spyder proves that life doesn’t have to be boring. In the Spyder, the roof can be lowered in 19 seconds to instantly improve your outlook. And the coupe with its quintessential high-performance flourish invites you to be always on the go. While the 2007 Eclipse may not be the ultimate of the ultimate, its torque loving engine, sophisticated interior, and engaging body language – all have the “look at me baby” factor favoring the hyper-real driving enthusiast. Drive on.

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