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What Year Did They Stop Making The Mitsubishi Eclipse?

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For over two decades, the Mitsubishi Eclipse carved its name into the hearts of Canadian driving enthusiasts. This sleek and sporty coupe blended bold styling with affordable performance, captivating a generation of automotive fans. From its debut in 1989 to its final curtain call in 2012, the Eclipse left an indelible mark on the nation’s roads, symbolizing Mitsubishi’s commitment to exciting and attainable sports cars.


In this retrospective, we’ll delve into the Eclipse’s illustrious history in Canada, exploring each generation’s unique characteristics and the factors that ultimately led to its discontinuation. But the story doesn’t end there. We’ll also take a look at the current Mitsubishi models that carry the torch, offering driving enthusiasts a taste of the Eclipse’s spirit in a modern package.


So, join us on this nostalgic journey as we celebrate the Mitsubishi Eclipse – a true icon of Canadian automotive culture that will forever hold a special place in the hearts of those who experienced its thrill on the open road.

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First Generation (1989-1994)

The Mitsubishi Eclipse made its Canadian debut in 1989 as an affordable, stylish sports coupe aimed at driving enthusiasts. This first generation model stood out with its distinctive wedge shape and pop-up headlights, giving it an unmistakable presence on Canadian roads.

Under the hood, the Eclipse packed a punch with its 2.0L 16-valve 4-cylinder engine producing a spirited 135 hp. For those craving even more performance, Mitsubishi offered a turbocharged version displacing 1.8L and churning out an impressive 195 hp – serious power for the era.

Canadian buyers could opt for the base Eclipse, the upscale GS, or the range-topping GSX turbo model. The GSX delivered blistering acceleration and razor-sharp handling thanks to its sport-tuned suspension, sticky tires, and manual transmission with precisely spaced gates.

Beyond straight-line thrills, the Eclipse carved corners with eagerness and poise. Its lightweight chassis, balanced weight distribution, and precise steering imbued it with tossable dynamics that made every driving enthusiast grin from ear to ear. This was an affordable rear-wheel-drive coupe that punched well above its weight in driving engagement.

Though compact on the outside, the Eclipse’s cabin provided a surprisingly spacious environment for two adults up front. The low seating position, well-placed controls, and sloping hood added to the sporty ambiance. In true Japanese fashion, build quality was excellent with robust materials and tight panel gaps.

 

Second Generation (1995-1999)

The second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse, introduced for the 1995 model year, underwent a comprehensive redesign that elevated the iconic sports coupe to new heights. Built on a new platform, the updated Eclipse boasted improved interior space and optimized handling dynamics, solidifying its reputation as a true driver’s car.

Under the hood, Mitsubishi continued to offer the thrilling turbocharged and GT trims, delivering exhilarating performance that left enthusiasts craving for more. The turbo models, in particular, showcased Mitsubishi’s engineering prowess, with their potent engines and finely-tuned suspensions providing an unparalleled driving experience.

However, the second-generation Eclipse wasn’t just about raw power; it also introduced a new level of sophistication. The interior received a significant upgrade, with improved materials and ergonomics that enhanced the overall sense of luxury and comfort. This harmonious blend of performance and refinement solidified the Eclipse’s position as a true sports car for the masses.

Perhaps the most exciting addition to the lineup was the introduction of the Eclipse Spyder convertible model. With its sleek retractable top, the Spyder brought open-air thrills to the Eclipse family, allowing drivers to fully immerse themselves in the exhilarating driving experience. This new variant further broadened the Eclipse’s appeal, attracting a new generation of enthusiasts who craved the freedom of wind-in-their-hair motoring.

 

Third Generation (2000-2005)

The third-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse, introduced for the 2000 model year, elevated the sports coupe to new levels of refinement and performance. While retaining the sleek and aggressive styling that had become a hallmark of the Eclipse, this iteration boasted significant improvements across the board.

Under the hood, the GT models received a substantial power boost, courtesy of a revised 3.0-liter V6 engine. This potent powerplant delivered an exhilarating 200 horsepower and 205 lb-ft of torque, propelling the Eclipse GT from 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 6.9 seconds. For driving enthusiasts seeking an even more visceral experience, Mitsubishi offered the GT Premium model, equipped with a high-revving 3.0-liter V6 that churned out an impressive 210 horsepower.

Beyond raw power, the third-generation Eclipse showcased significant advancements in handling and agility. Revised suspension geometry, larger stabilizer bars, and improved steering response contributed to a more planted and confidence-inspiring driving experience. The GT models further benefited from a limited-slip differential, ensuring optimal traction and control during spirited driving.

Stepping inside the cabin, Eclipse owners were greeted by a more upscale and refined interior environment. Soft-touch materials, improved ergonomics, and an array of convenient features elevated the overall sense of quality and comfort. Highlights included available leather upholstery, a premium audio system, and power-adjustable seats, ensuring a luxurious and enjoyable ride.

Notably, the third generation marked the last time the Eclipse was offered with turbocharged engine options in Canada. The GT Spyder convertible variant, for instance, could be specified with a potent 2.4-liter turbocharged inline-four, delivering an impressive 210 horsepower and 211 lb-ft of torque. This combination of open-air driving and turbocharged thrills made for an unforgettable driving experience.

 

Fourth Generation (2006-2012)

The fourth and final generation of the Mitsubishi Eclipse arrived for the 2006 model year, sporting an all-new sleek coupe design that modernized the iconic sports car. However, this iteration marked a shift in focus away from outright performance in favor of a more stylish and comfortable grand touring approach.

While still offering a reasonably potent 3.8L V6 engine, the fourth-gen Eclipse prioritized its svelte exterior styling and upscale interior appointments over raw speed and handling prowess. This pivot aligned with changing consumer preferences, as the affordable sports coupe segment was waning in favor of more practical vehicle types.

In a symbolic move, Mitsubishi also discontinued the Eclipse’s convertible Spyder variant during this generation due to slowing sales. The coupe-only body style gave the Eclipse a more mature and sophisticated presence compared to its older, racier predecessors.

As the Eclipse’s run was nearing its end, Mitsubishi sent it off with a 2012 SE Special Edition model. This final, limited-production Eclipse featured unique styling cues and upgraded interior trim to commemorate over two decades of the iconic nameplate’s legacy.

 

Why the Eclipse Was Discontinued in Canada

The Mitsubishi Eclipse’s discontinuation in Canada can be attributed to several key factors that ultimately led to its demise. Firstly, the market demand for sport coupes like the Eclipse began to wane as consumer preferences shifted towards more practical and versatile vehicles such as SUVs and crossovers. This changing landscape made it increasingly challenging for automakers to justify the continued production of niche models like the Eclipse.

Furthermore, tightening emissions regulations posed a significant hurdle for the Eclipse, particularly its turbocharged variants. Meeting stringent environmental standards while maintaining the performance characteristics that defined the Eclipse became an increasingly complex and costly endeavor, eroding the model’s viability.

Mitsubishi, recognizing these market shifts, made a strategic decision to realign its focus toward the burgeoning crossover and SUV segments. Models like the RVR and Outlander garnered greater consumer interest, prompting the automaker to concentrate its resources on these high-demand vehicles. As a result, niche offerings like the Eclipse were inevitably phased out.

Finally, the fourth-generation Eclipse, introduced in 2006, marked a departure from the model’s performance-oriented roots. With a greater emphasis on styling and comfort over outright performance, this iteration failed to resonate with the Eclipse’s core enthusiast audience. Consequently, sales dwindled, further solidifying the decision to discontinue the nameplate.

 

Mitsubishi RVR: A Modern Alternative

For driving enthusiasts who appreciated the Eclipse’s affordability and sporty driving dynamics, the Mitsubishi RVR is a compelling modern alternative. This compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) packs a surprising punch of performance into its fun-sized package.

Under the hood, the RVR offers two lively engine options. The base 2.0L 4-cylinder produces 148 hp, providing enough pep for daily driving. However, the optional 2.4L 4-cylinder kicks things up a notch with a robust 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. This gutsy engine transforms the RVR into a delightfully eager performer, with plenty of power for merging onto highways or attacking twisty backroads.

The RVR’s taut suspension tuning and precise steering further elevate the driving experience. Body motions are well-controlled, and the RVR responds eagerly to driver inputs. It’s a surprisingly nimble crossover that will remind Eclipse fans of their beloved coupe’s handling prowess.

Yet the RVR still provides the versatility of a CUV body style. The rear seats fold flat to open up 1,477 litres (52.1 cu ft) of cargo space for hauling sports gear or camping equipment. All-wheel drive is also available to boost traction and capability in Canadian weather conditions.

Affordable pricing keeps the RVR true to the Eclipse’s cost-effective spirit. Well-equipped models can be had for under $30,000, making it an attractive option for those wanting a blend of driving fun, practicality, and value.

 

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross: Spiritually Succeeding the Eclipse

While the Eclipse itself may be gone, Mitsubishi has aimed to capture some of its spirit with the new Eclipse Cross crossover. This stylish compact SUV delivers driving dynamics and bold design cues reminiscent of the iconic Eclipse coupe.

With its sloping roofline, angular body lines, and aggressive front fascia, the Eclipse Cross exudes a sporty and youthful aesthetic. It’s a refreshing departure from many bland crossover offerings on the market today. The design language clearly evokes memories of the Eclipse’s athletic stance and sleek profile.

But the Eclipse Cross isn’t just a pretty face. It backs up its racy looks with engaging performance befitting the Eclipse name. A potent turbocharged 1.5L engine provides abundant torque and acceleration, while the advanced Super All-Wheel Control system maintains excellent traction and cornering poise.

The driving experience behind the wheel is decidedly sportier and more connected than your average compact SUV. Nicely weighted steering, a taut suspension tuned for responsiveness, and an available manual mode with paddle shifters allow you to truly enjoy the Eclipse Cross from an enthusiast’s perspective.

While no longer a pure two-door sports coupe, the Eclipse Cross still delivers an energetic and involving driving experience that Eclipse fans can appreciate. It preserves that quintessential Mitsubishi spirit of affordable performance with daring style. For Canadian drivers seeking equal parts attitude and versatility, the Eclipse Cross could be a compelling modern successor.

 

Used Lancer Evolution: Uncompromising Performance

For purists seeking uncompromising performance from a Mitsubishi, the iconic Lancer Evolution is an exhilarating option to consider. While not a direct successor to the Eclipse, the Evo carved its own legendary status among driving enthusiasts.

Based on the humble Lancer compact sedan, Mitsubishi’s in-house motorsports skunkworks Ralliart transformed it into a rally-bred road machine. With a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, advanced all-wheel drive system, and track-tuned suspension and brakes, the Evo delivered blistering acceleration and tenacious grip.

Through ten generations from 1992 to 2016, the Lancer Evolution honed its performance pedigree on the stages of the World Rally Championship. Each iteration brought more power, better handling, and motorsports aerodynamics translated to the road car.

Canadian drivers had access to later Evo models like the VIII, IX, and final X. While expensive when new, well-maintained used examples can scratch the itch for raw driving thrills. Just be prepared for a firm, uncompromising ride in exchange for the Evo’s impressive capabilities.

With a cult following and legendary status, the Lancer Evolution offers Eclipse fans a pure, no-frills performance experience from Mitsubishi’s performance heritage. While not as practical as a crossover, the Evo remains an iconic choice for driving purists.

 

The Eclipse’s Legacy

For over two decades, the Mitsubishi Eclipse carved out a unique niche as an attainable sports car for Canadian driving enthusiasts. Its combination of stylish coupe design, respectable performance, and affordable pricing made it an attractive option for those seeking a fun-to-drive vehicle without breaking the bank.

From its debut in 1989 through to its discontinuation in 2012, the Eclipse consistently delivered an engaging driving experience wrapped in eye-catching bodywork. While it may not have been a bona fide exotic supercar, the Eclipse offered a taste of sporting thrills that many could realistically aspire to own.

The first and second generations, with their turbocharged engines and rear-wheel drive platforms, cemented the Eclipse’s reputation as a legitimate pocket rocket. Subsequent versions continued to prioritize athletic handling and respectable straight-line acceleration, even as the market shifted more towards front-wheel drive layouts.

Perhaps the Eclipse’s greatest legacy was democratizing access to sports car motoring for the masses. Before its arrival, truly engaging driver’s cars were often prohibitively expensive for the average Canadian. But the Eclipse put an affordable spin on performance, allowing younger buyers and those on tighter budgets to experience the joy of driving a fun, sporty coupe.

While it may no longer be in production, the Eclipse’s spirit lives on through Mitsubishi’s current lineup and the countless enthusiasts who fell in love with its charms over the years. It showed that performance didn’t have to be exclusive to premium price tags, leaving an indelible mark on Canada’s automotive landscape.

 

Present & Future of Mitsubishi Performance

While the Eclipse’s discontinuation marked the end of an era for affordable Japanese performance coupes in Canada, Mitsubishi continues to embrace its motorsports heritage and reputation for driving excitement. The brand’s current lineup retains a focus on engaging driving dynamics and sporty styling cues inspired by its rally-bred heritage.

Today, the Mitsubishi Lancer lineup carries the torch for affordable performance with models like the Ralliart offering turbocharged power and precision handling. While not quite as extreme as the iconic Lancer Evolution, the Ralliart delivers an excellent blend of performance and daily drivability for Canadian driving enthusiasts.

Looking ahead, Mitsubishi has ambitious plans to revitalize its performance offerings with a range of new electrified models. The brand envisions leveraging advanced electric powertrains to deliver instantaneous torque and blistering acceleration that could redefine the performance driving experience.

Concepts like the Mitsubishi e-Evolution hint at a high-performance electric SUV with tenacious all-wheel drive grip and sports car-like agility. With dual motors and torque vectoring technology, Mitsubishi aims to evolve its performance DNA for the electric age while staying true to its roots in all-weather capability.

The future could also see Mitsubishi revive iconic nameplates like the Eclipse with a modern all-electric twist. Imagining a sleek, all-wheel drive electric performance coupe with concept car styling and breathtaking straight-line performance is certainly an enticing prospect for driving purists.

While the transition to electrification presents new challenges, Mitsubishi remains committed to developing vehicles that spark passion and deliver an engaging driving experience. The Eclipse may be gone, but its spirit of affordable performance lives on as Mitsubishi charges boldly into an electrified future.

 

Memories of Eclipse Owners

The Mitsubishi Eclipse left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of driving enthusiasts across Canada. For many, it was more than just a car – it was a symbol of freedom, style, and exhilaration on the open road. As the curtain fell on the Eclipse’s production, owners and fans alike shared their fondest memories and experiences with this iconic sports coupe.

John from Toronto reminisced about his first Eclipse, a 1995 Spyder convertible. “That car was my pride and joy,” he said with a nostalgic smile. “On warm summer nights, nothing beat cruising with the top down, feeling the wind in my hair, and the growl of the engine echoing through the streets. It was pure automotive bliss.”

For Sarah in Vancouver, her 2003 Eclipse GT was a constant companion through the ups and downs of life. “That car saw me through college, my first job, and even my wedding day,” she recalled. “It was always there, ready for an adventure or a spirited drive through the winding mountain roads. The Eclipse was more than just transportation; it was a trusted friend.”

In Montreal, Luc fondly remembered his heavily modified 1999 Eclipse GSX. “I poured my heart and soul into that car,” he said. “From the custom body kit to the tuned turbo engine, it was a true reflection of my passion for performance. Every time I stepped on the gas, it was like unleashing a caged beast – raw, uncompromising power that would pin you back in your seat.”

These are just a few of the countless stories and memories shared by Eclipse owners across Canada. For many, the Eclipse represented the perfect blend of style, affordability, and driving excitement – a combination that was hard to find in the modern automotive landscape. While the Eclipse may no longer grace showrooms, its legacy lives on in the hearts of those who experienced its magic firsthand.

 

Discontinued But Not Forgotten

Despite being discontinued over a decade ago, the Mitsubishi Eclipse has left an indelible mark on the automotive landscape in Canada. This sporty coupe captured the hearts and imaginations of driving enthusiasts across the nation, cementing its legacy as an affordable and exhilarating performance car.

For many Canadians, the Eclipse represented the perfect blend of style, power, and attainability. Its sleek lines and aggressive stance turned heads on city streets and winding backroads alike, while its potent engines and well-tuned suspensions delivered a driving experience that belied its modest price tag.

Even as market trends shifted towards crossovers and SUVs, the Eclipse remained a beloved choice for those seeking a pure driving machine. Its passionate fanbase kept the spirit of the Eclipse alive through online communities, meetups, and enthusiast events, ensuring that the car’s legacy would endure long after its production ended.

Today, the Eclipse’s influence can still be felt in the automotive world. Its impact on the sport compact segment paved the way for other affordable performance cars, inspiring a new generation of enthusiasts to pursue their passion for driving. And while the Eclipse may no longer grace showroom floors, its memory remains etched in the hearts of those who had the privilege of experiencing its thrills firsthand.

 

Finding an Affordable Used Eclipse

For those seeking an affordable taste of Eclipse performance and style, the used market is an appealing option. While new models are no longer available, there are still plenty of well-maintained used Mitsubishi Eclipses out there waiting for an enthusiastic new owner.

When shopping for a used Eclipse in Canada, it’s important to be diligent and patient. Here are some tips to increase your chances of finding a great example:

 

  • Stick to later model years. The third and fourth generations (2000-2012) tend to have fewer issues and benefited from more modern design and engineering.
  • Check maintenance records. An Eclipse that was meticulously serviced and cared for by its previous owner(s) will be a safer bet.
  • Inspect for modifications. Heavily modified Eclipses can be unpredictable, so unless you know the car’s history, it’s best to avoid major engine or suspension changes.
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection. Having a mechanic you trust thoroughly inspect any used Eclipse before buying is highly recommended.
  • Be patient and check regularly. Good used Eclipses move quickly, so check online listings and dealer inventories frequently for the right one to pop up.

 

While it takes some diligence, finding an affordable used Mitsubishi Eclipse in great condition is very possible with some perseverance. Just be sure to have realistic expectations based on the car’s age and mileage. With proper care, an Eclipse can still provide years of fun and reliable performance.

 

Conclusion

The Mitsubishi Eclipse carved out a special place in the hearts of Canadian driving enthusiasts over its 22-year run. From the pure rear-wheel drive thrills of the first generation to the all-wheel drive grip of the final models, the Eclipse delivered affordable performance and head-turning style.

While emissions regulations and changing consumer tastes ultimately led to the Eclipse’s discontinuation in 2012, its spirit lives on. The Mitsubishi RVR and Eclipse Cross channel that same fun-to-drive character, while used Lancer Evolutions allow Eclipse fans to experience uncompromising performance. For those seeking an affordable classic, well-kept used Eclipses can still be found gracing Canada’s roads.

The Eclipse may be gone, but it’s certainly not forgotten by the Canadians who fell in love with its unique blend of sporty dynamics and attainable pricing. Its impact resonates through today’s Mitsubishi lineup and the enthusiast community. The Eclipse’s legacy ensures its name will be uttered with reverence by driving fans for years to come.

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Questions About The Mitsubishi Eclipse

Mitsubishi stopped making the Eclipse for sale in Canada after the 2011 model year. Declining sales and shifts in market dynamics led Mitsubishi to discontinue the Eclipse across North America in 2011. The final model year sold in Canada was the 2012 Eclipse SE Special Edition.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse was sold in Canada from its launch in 1990 through to the final 2012 model year. Specific generations sold were:

 

– First generation: 1990-1994

– Second generation: 1995-1999

– Third generation: 2000-2005

– Fourth generation: 2006-2012

Yes, Canada did get the Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible, known as the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. It was introduced in 1996 alongside the coupe and was sold all the way through to the end of Eclipse production in 2011.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse sold in Canada over the years came with a range of 4-cylinder and V6 engine options, including:

 

– 1.8L 4-cylinder (base models)

– 2.0L 4-cylinder (base models)

– 2.4L 4-cylinder (GT models from 1995 on)

– 3.0L V6 (upper trims)

– 3.8L V6 (GT and GTS models)

 

Later models also offered turbocharged 4-cylinder options.

The most powerful Mitsubishi Eclipse trim sold in Canada was the Eclipse GSX, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 210 horsepower from 2000-2005. Earlier GSX models sold in Canada made 195 horsepower.



Some of the special edition Mitsubishi Eclipse models offered over the years in Canada included:

 

– Eclipse 10th Anniversary Edition (1999)

– Eclipse Spyder GT 35th Anniversary Edition (2001)

– Eclipse Spyder GTS Fubu Edition (2002)

– Eclipse Spyder GT Vizualogic Limited Edition (2003)

– Eclipse Spyder GT California Edition (2004)

– Eclipse SE Special Edition (2012)

No, the Mitsubishi Eclipse was only ever offered with front-wheel drive in Canada. Mitsubishi’s all-wheel drive performance models like the Lancer Evolution and 3000GT VR-4 were never available in Eclipse form in the Canadian market.

Later Mitsubishi Eclipses came decently equipped with safety features like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and tire pressure monitoring systems. These features were made standard across Eclipse trims around 2007 onward.

When brand new, Mitsubishi Eclipse models retailed for around $17,000 – $37,000 Canadian dollars depending on the year, generation, and trim level. More affordable models included the Eclipse GS and RS trims, while higher-end versions like the Eclipse Spyder GTS had higher MSRPs.

The second-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse (1995-1999) was likely the most popular generation sold in the Canadian marketplace based on sales trends and the performance enhancements it introduced over earlier models.

Yes – the Mitsubishi Eclipse had starring roles in the first two Fast and Furious films which proved hugely popular in Canada. The green 1995 model driven by Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is one of the most iconic movie cars of all time. This certainly raised the Eclipse’s profile and desirability among Canadian buyers and fans.

Some of the most popular Mitsubishi Eclipse colors sold in Canada over the years included:

 

– Red

– Black

– Silver

– White

– Blue

– Green

– Yellow

 

Interiors were usually black but sometimes came in gray and tan. Special editions often had unique interior color schemes.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse initially sold quite well following its launch in Canada, hitting a peak around 2000. But sales declined over the 2000s model years leading to its eventual cancellation. Factors negatively impacting sales included less sporty styling changes, the rise of SUVs, and outdated components.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse had a mixed reputation for reliability in Canada. The turbocharged models were often more problematic than lower-output versions. Issues reported by Canadian owners included oil leaks, faulty brakes, electrical problems, and premature clutch wear. But properly maintained, many standard Eclipses were dependable for over 200,000 kms.

No, with the discontinuation of the Eclipse in 2011, Mitsubishi no longer offers any sports cars or coupes in the Canadian marketplace. The Eclipse was the last sporty model sold by Mitsubishi Canada, who now focus exclusively on SUVs and crossovers like the Outlander, RVR, and Eclipse Cross.

The majority of Mitsubishi Eclipses sold in Canada were built at the company’s Normal, Illinois plant in the United States. Some early first-generation models also came from Japan. Canadian-market Eclipses all came from Mitsubishi’s North American manufacturing facilities.

Used Mitsubishi Eclipse maintenance and insurance costs are reasonable compared to other sporty coupes. Insurance is usually affordable for drivers over 25 with clean records. Maintenance costs are minimized if the timing belt, fluids, tires, and brakes have been properly serviced. Aftermarket parts supply is plentiful which helps keep repair costs down.

No. Despite the similar Eclipse name, the Eclipse Cross sold in Canada today is a completely different SUV model unrelated to the discontinued Eclipse sports coupe. The Eclipse Cross is not a sports car – it offers family-friendly practicality and all-wheel drive capabilities rather than driving performance.

Mitsubishi did not directly replace the Eclipse sports coupe in the Canadian market with any equivalent sporty car after its 2011 discontinuation. The front-wheel drive Eclipse was the last of its kind offered by Mitsubishi Canada, leaving a void in their lineup for affordable performance.

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