A good way of getting attention
You see, we purchase a convertible for one sole reason: to maximize our exposure to the little sun and nice weather that we have during summer. Ok, ok, we don't buy just any convertible, we choose one that we like. We choose one that also has style and one in which we'd like to be seen behind the wheel of.
The fourth-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse, the second sold on Canadian soil and the third to be available topless, has all the merits mentioned above, and others. It also has a few irritants.
What I particularly like about the Eclipse, is that it's always attractive, even with the top up. Other convertibles have tops that don't seem to assimilate with the lines of the car; in the Eclipse's case, the fluidity of the silhouette is sustained.
As for the top's operation, nothing could be easier. After releasing the two latches, we activate the power top with the help of a button located above the shift lever. In a few seconds, the windows lower, the rear window lifts up, the tonneau cover lifts up backwards, the top folds in like an accordion and hides itself, right before the cover closes back down. Voilà!
I prefer convertibles that have metal tops that are lowered in 2 or 3 sections, but if I absolutely had to choose a model with a cloth top, the Eclipse would be one of my choices. In addition, the windows lower a centimetre or two when you open the doors, and rise back up when the doors are closed; it improves the car's water-tightness and contributes to reduce wind noise.
On the road
The GT-P is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that develops 260 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual. On paper, this engine promises brilliant performance, but in reality, the experience is somewhat tarnished by excessive torque steer. The front wheels have too much trouble in controlling all the unleashed power, that the car can't keep a linear trajectory during hard acceleration. Even the traction control system seems to be on coffee break. The same frustration carries on in curves and highway off-ramps; you can't accelerate without getting the tires screaming and spoil that moment of sporty driving. However, once we're under way, this annoyance virtually disappears, and when we drive at a normal and legal pace, the torque steer is not really a problem.
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