Produced by America’s Diamond Star Motors and then exported to Japan like its predecessor, the second-generation Eclipse was released in 1995 as a sports-specialty car intended to fill the gap between the GTO and FTO.
It was also sold in the U.S., where it was very popular. The Eclipse used Mitsubishi Galant components on its short, wide, and low hatchback coupe body.
The car’s most striking feature was its styling, blended organic lines to create and exciting, almost animal-like look. The styling was combined with the practicality of a surprisingly roomy interior and ample luggage space.
The engine was the same 2.0-liter DOHC inline 4-cylinder model 4G63 turbo found in the Lancer Evolution. The transmission options were 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic.
Using Galant components as it did, the second-generation Eclipse had both front and rear independent multi-link suspension, calibrated fro balanced touring qualities rather than extreme sportiness.
The engine generated its maximum torque low in the rev range, for easy driving characteristics. Japanese-spec cars made 227hp and 214 lb-ft of torque while American emissions requirements reduced the output to 210hp at 6,000 rpm and 214 lb-ft.
Although it may have seemed less sporty than the FTO or GTO, the Eclipse did have the performance to maintain high cornering speeds, assuming the driver employed early up-shifting and careful control. The ride is refined, if not that of a Lancer Evolution, and power is ample.