Since 1989, Mitsubishi Motors has been producing Mitsubishi Eclipse, a right-hand drive coupe. The company claimed that the name Eclipse has been taken from the 18th century English racehorse that won 26 races. However, it has also been marketed as Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser captive imports via Mitsubishi’s kinship with the Chrysler Corporation. The partnership between Mitsubishi Motors and Chrysler Corporation was called the Diamond-Star Motors or DSM.
In 2011, the Eclipse is officially launched in North America, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and China. However, it was launched in Oman, South Korea, Philippines and Brazil in 2009.
According to statement released by Mitsubishi, the production of the Eclipse will be ceased in August 2011.
Since its first appearance in 1989, it has gone through four different generations. The first two generations (1G and 2G) were closely related to Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser, while the third generation model was launched with completely new platform. In May 2005, the last generation of Eclipse was introduced.
First Generation (1990-1994)
The first generation Eclipse was available from an entry level to mid-level 4-cylinder sports coupe. There were five trim levels offered for the first generation Eclipse including: Eclipse Base, Eclipse GS, Eclipse GS DOHC, Eclipse GS Turbo and Eclipse GSX. The first four of them were the front wheel drive, while the last GSX trim version was available as all-wheel drive. All the trim levels were available with turbocharged engines.
Second Generation (1995-1999)
The second generation Eclipse was introduced with several styling and engine variations. Alongside coupe, a convertible model named the Spyder was added in the lineup in 1996. The convertible Eclipse was available in two trim levels, GS and GS-T. The GS trim version came with non-turbo 4G64 engine, while GS-T received a turbo 4G63.
Although, the turbocharged engine option remained the same as first generation, it was upgraded to achieve more power.
Third Generation (2000-2005)
The third generation Eclipse was introduced by Mitsubishi in 1999 which was closely related to the Mitsubishi SST design study revealed at the North American International Auto Show in 1998.
The previous 4G63 was discontinued and two new powertrian options were introduced, i.e. a 2.4-L 16-valve SOHC 4-cylinder 4G64 (147 hp) and a 3.0-L 24-valve SOHC V6 4G72 (205 hp). All-wheel drive platform was dropped from the lineup.
The different trim levels offered include: Eclipse RS & GS, Eclipse GS Spyder, Eclipse GT, Eclipse GT Spyder, Eclipse GTS and Eclipse GTS Spyder. The GTS trim version was launched in 2002 as 2003 model year powered by an engine with 10:1 compression ratio as well as an enhanced Mitsubishi Variable Induction Management (MVIM) air intake system.
Fourth Generation (2006-2011)
The fourth generation Eclipse was launched 2006. The fourth generation model received some revised styling, though some of the features were taken from second generation model. Different engine options available for the fourth generation model are, a 3.8-L MIVEC V6 engine for GT trim (2009) generating 263 hp (196 kW). However, the later models have the capability of developing 265 hp. The non-turbo GS trim comes with 2.4-L MIVEC I4 engine generating 162 hp (121 kW).
The trim levels available for fourth generation Eclipse are: Eclipse GS Sport Spyder, Eclipse GS Sport, Eclipse GT, Eclipse GT Spyder, GS Standard, GS Spyder, GT Standard and GT Spyder.
The company announced that the 2012 facelift will be the last of the production model of Eclipse as Mitsubishi is going to cease the production in August 2011.