It’s a new year, and as time marches on, the car-buying public forget more and more of the underwhelming, underperforming or just plain unappreciated cars that littered market over the past fifteen years. Automakers took steps into segments they had never really occupied (Volkswagen), scrubbed away their prestige (Chrysler) or decided that the giant American car market was just not worth bothering about (Mitsubishi). In this week’s installment, we look at more cars we will be photographing on the street in a decade’s time.
Mitsubishi Eclipse (fourth-generation)
Project Abandon America
The fourth generation Mitsubishi Eclipse, much like its Project America siblings Galant and Endeavor, started out with much promise but were left to wither on the vine. The stagnation of the latter two was more evident with the sheer glut of competitors in the mid-size sedan and mid-size crossover segments, respectively. With little direct competition, the Eclipse briefly enjoyed an advantage within its market segment, but it too was soon forgotten. One thing it never lost, though, were its looks.
Before we look at the nitty gritty, the horsepower figures and sales numbers and all that jazz, let us just enjoy the Eclipse’s lines. I truly wonder if any of our commentariat can disagree with me when I say this is one gorgeous car. It may be a bit of a big-‘un, but in the metal it doesn’t look it. Call it Audi TT-derivative all you want, but I think the Eclipse wears its curves better than the scrawnier TT. It’s like a sexy, curvy lady: healthy and voluptuous. The first Eclipse was sharp but not terribly original, aesthetically. The second was curvy, but in that blobby, amorphous 1990s way. The third was eerily reminiscent of the final Pontiac Grand Am. But this fourth generation? Compare and contrast to the overstyled Genesis Coupe, the bizarre Monte Carlo, the Solara-esque G6 coupe and the uglier, Solarier Solara itself. For people buying a mainstream coupe on looks alone, the bootylicious Eclipse was the ticket unless you preferred a more macho Camaro or Mustang. Not to mention, the interior was cleanly styled but sporty, and felt a lot more special than the sedan-derived interiors of the Accord and G6 coupes.
Sir Mix-a-Lot would appreciate this angle
Dynamically, the Eclipse was competent – certainly more so than the boulevardier third generation – but unexciting. Where the platform’s dynamics were competitive in the mid-size Galant and Endeavor, they were less appealing in the ostensibly sporty Eclipse. Despite its striking lines, the fourth generation was not a return to the glory days of the Fast & Furious Eclipse. Critics agreed it handled quite well-enough for a front-driver, but was let down by a hefty curb weight of 3500lbs, 62 percent of which rested over its front wheels. The gigantic turning radius that bothered my sister so much in her 380 (Galant) remained in the Eclipse, making tight maneuvers difficult. Where the more dynamic Japanese coupes like the pricier Z and RX-8 faltered, however, the Eclipse shined. The Rubenesque Mitsubishi boasted a compliant ride which made it more suitable for cruising, a nice bonus for a car that wouldn’t embarrass itself when the road got twisty. One thing a buyer would want to make certain though, was to order the V6. The mediocre four-cylinder came with only 162hp and 162 lb ft of torque, whereas the V6 shaded it by 100hp and 100 lb ft. The four-cylinder GS was good for an 8.0 second 0-60 time, but opting for the V6 GT reduced that to a swift 6.0 seconds.
Almost no changes were made from 2006 until the Eclipse’s demise in 2012, other than a couple of extremely minor cosmetic tweaks. Sales started out strong, jumping up over the previous generation’s volumes to around 33k units in the first year, but as is common in the style-conscious sport coupe segment, initial demand tapered off. After a few years of sales over 20k units, 2009 saw Eclipse volumes hit a brick wall and fall to under 7k units and rapidly shrink thereafter. Although it was still a beauty at the end, and an available Evo-style grille and black roof kept things fresh, the affordable sport coupe segment had moved on. Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe launched in 2010, offering rear-wheel-drive and turbocharged or V6 performance in a fairly affordable package. Chevrolet’s reborn Camaro came packing a 300hp V6, and by 2011, so did Ford’s Mustang. Even the Japanese were re-entering a segment they had almost completely abandoned, with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ launching the year after the sun set on the Eclipse. So, while the final Eclipse was a beautiful car, enthusiasts can’t miss it too much because this decade has seen the return of the affordable and exciting sports coupe. Sadly, Mitsubishi’s refusal to invest in its American models means the Eclipse is better off gone.
Buick Lucerne CXS & Super, Pontiac Bonneville GXP
The Northstar visits other constellations
When GM released the award-winning Northstar V8 in 1993, it was a revelation. This modern, double overhead cam V8 was quickly rolled out across most of the Cadillac range, and featured on Ward’s Best Engines List for several years. Pumping out 275hp and 300 lb ft in standard tune and 300hp and 295 lb ft in performance tune, it significantly outperformed the old HT-4900 V8. The “Northstar System”, a combination of the Northstar V8, traction control and road-sensing suspension, was a key component of Cadillac’s advertising campaigns in the 1990s. As the entire range adopted the system, Cadillac became synonymous with Northstar. No other GM brand got their hands on the Northstar V8 except Oldsmobile, which used smaller 3.5 V6 and 4.0 V8 variants of it to kickstart a brand renaissance that sadly failed.
At some point, possibly when GM had started development on the aborted Ultra V8 engine, it was decided that the other brands could also get some Northstar lovin’. Pontiac’s Bonneville was revised for 2000 and now closely related to the Cadillac Seville. However, sales had slipped over the years and by this point, the Bonnie’s Buick LeSabre platform-mate was outselling it threefold. The writing was on the wall for a nameplate that had sold for over fifty years, and GM decided to let it go out with a bang. In 2004, the lower-tune Northstar was placed in the Bonnie’s engine bay, and the cladding-overload exterior was smoothed out. The Bonneville GXP looked sharp, until you opened the door. Inside was the same fighter jet cockpit-style, overwrought, plasticky dash, with tacky white gauges and handsome two-tone seats the only changes. With an MSRP of around $35k, the GXP may have seemed like a good deal for a large sedan with a smooth V8, especially with a quick 6.5 second 0-60 time. There was one big fly in that ointment, however. The new, rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300C stickered for a few grand less and came with a more powerful Hemi V8. While GM incentives knocked a lot off of the MSRP, the GXP Bonnie managed to shift only 6,613 units over its two years on the market. In 2005, the entire Bonneville range was axed.
The Northstar reappeared outside the Cadillac fold again in 2006 while Buick was consolidating its sedan range. The dated Century/Regal mid-sizers were replaced in 2005 by the LaCrosse, and the staid LeSabre and Park Avenue full-size sedans were nixed in favor of the 2006 Lucerne. One could be forgiven for thinking the new Lucerne was the same dull, stodgy, old Buick if they only saw the base, cloth bench-equipped CX 3.8 V6, but Buick delivered a pleasant surprise in the top-line CXS, a spiritual successor to the beautiful, import-battling Oldsmobile Aurora. While the de-tuned 275hp V8 was an option in the softly-sprung, mid-range CXL, stepping up to the CXS netted buyers a standard Northstar, fog lights, 18-inch alloys and another former Cadillac exclusive: Magnetic Ride Control. Riding on the revised G-Body now shared only with Cadillac’s DTS, the Lucerne was a big car by contemporary standards, but the addition of MRC made it handle with more grace than expected from a nose-heavy, FWD V8 sedan. Clean, vaguely European styling and a more modern interior completed the package, with the cherry on top being the reintroduction of Buick’s heritage VentiPorts. Four on each side meant you weren’t driving Grandma’s CX but rather, the cream of the crop. Of course, against its competitors, the Lucerne was lacking high-tech features that were becoming the norm. Rivals with V6s were also posting similar or higher horsepower numbers, and Buick was about to undergo another brand shift.
A 2008 revision brought a gaudier chrome grille to the Lucerne range, and the CXS became the Super. The Super received some aluminum trim on the dash and a higher (292hp) output Northstar, but kept the same 4-speed auto. While it was a small but sharp revision, the competition continued to march on. Chrysler’s 300 had a much more powerful V8 and a modern transmission; Hyundai’s new Genesis also offered rear-wheel-drive dynamics and an available, more powerful V8. Arguably the biggest threat, though, sat in Buick’s own showroom. The 2010 LaCrosse had an available 3.6 V6 that put out similar horsepower and torque, featured an extremely stylish interior and boasted an options list with the kind of high-tech goodies (rearview camera, xenon headlights, head-up display) premium car buyers were now expecting. Buick realized there was no longer a place for the Lucerne, and cancelled it for 2011. The Lucerne Super thus represented the end not only of the venerable Northstar V8, but also of front-wheel-drive V8 luxury sedans at General Motors. At least that era ended in elegance.
Rebadges Part 3
1981 was the year Chrysler decided its namesake division should play the Mercury to Dodge’s Ford by releasing the K-Car LeBaron. Almost every product since then has simply been a flossier Dodge, and the company is only now trying to reverse that to some degree, but the 2000s saw some of the heaviest erosion of their once prestigious image. When DaimlerChrysler shuttered the Plymouth brand, the decision was to give the planned Plymouth PT Cruiser to Chrysler. No doubt, Chrysler-Plymouth dealers would have been unhappy about losing such a promising product to standalone Dodge dealers. The PT Cruiser was a sales success and sold for many years (arguably longer than it should have), but its Neon mechanicals, low list price and plastic fantastic interior did not lend itself well to preserving Chrysler’s rapidly eroding image.
Another Plymouth product that was kicked over to Chrysler was the Voyager, available only in short-wheelbase form, with a four-cylinder or V6 engine. Chrysler dealers didn’t want to lose volume, so they got this poor brother to the Town & Country, which they sold from 2001 until 2003. Although this generation of minivan was well-received, and praised for solid dynamics and space efficiency, critics were not fond of its somewhat patchy reliability and fairly low-budget interior. Base models suffered even more demerits with a four-cylinder engine with 150 horsepower and 167 foot-pounds of torque to propel an almost 4000lb minivan. This “power” was put through a THREE-speed automatic transmission, one of the last of its kind. Mercifully, the low-budget Voyager nameplate and its dated drivetrain were discarded in 2003, replaced by a short-wheelbase Town & Country. However, that was almost as downmarket, and there would be a few years yet of black-plastic trim Chryslers. Fleet special 300 2.7s may now be history and the 300’s base price is higher, for example, and there is a much more convincing 200 coming, but it will be an uphill battle for the Chrysler division.
Much like Hyundai and Saturn, Volkswagen finally reached a point where it realized offering a minivan might be a good idea. After all, the trendy twenty-somethings who bought Jettas in the 1990s were now having families and minivans were still selling, albeit in decreasing numbers. In one of the few instances of Volkswagen recognizing and quickly filling a hole in its lineup, the Routan was launched. Volkswagen, however, didn’t base its first modern minivan on an existing platform, or import its European market Sharan. Instead, a deal was made with Chrsyler in which its minivans would be rebadged and sold by VW dealers. In addition to slapping their badge on the front of a Caravan, Volkswagen fettled the interior, exterior and dynamics. But while Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan were solid offerings, the Routan was a let-down after Volkswagen tantalized the public with the Microbus concept of 2001, a striking, retro design that no doubt would have been a huge success in the heritage-crazy 2000s.
The changes that made a Mopar minivan a Volkswagen Routan were not earth-shattering, but a nicely made over interior helped to differentiate it from its platform-mates. Surprisingly, though, there was one major change: Chrysler’s Stow ‘n’ Go and Swivel ‘n’ Go seating were not included. At least the third row folded flat into the floor. A new dash was installed, albeit with Mopar switchgear, and there was a new, higher-quality headliner and door panels. Considering just how grim Chrysler interiors were up until around 2011, these were welcome changes. Unfortunately, the weak base powertrain was carried over from the Mopar vans: a dated 3.8 V6 with 197hp/231 lb ft boat anchor that got worse fuel economy (16/23 vs 17/25) than the uplevel 4.0 V6, which netted a much healthier 251hp and 259 lb ft of torque. Regardless of engine, however, Volkswagen had at least improved the Routan’s dynamics with stiffer springs and dampers and revised steering, making it usefully superior to its siblings.
For 2011, the Routan, Town & Country and Grand Caravan all gained the vastly superior 3.6 Pentastar V6. The latter two received same chassis tweaking as well as vastly better interiors. All three were now more competitive against their rivals but the Routan still lacked its siblings’ Stow ‘n’ Go and Swivel ‘n’ Go seating. With sales in the 10-15,000 annual units range, despite prices slightly lower than the popular Honda Odyssey, the Routan failed to set sales charts on fire and was quietly shelved, with no replacement yet planned. It was interesting for Volkswagen to enter a segment that had been in decline for quite some time, rather than try and secure a mid-size crossover for its lineup, something they still don’t offer. Their other North American market maneuvers in the past decade also cause head-scratching: a small crossover that’s German-made and is thus too expensive for the segment; overambitious dalliances in the luxury sphere (Touareg, Phaeton, Passat W8); and now, a two-pronged model lineup, with all the nice, slightly premium German stuff sold alongside the competent but utterly bland Americanized Jetta and Passat. Having driven a new Passat, I felt that, despite a smooth ride and pleasant powertrain, it had an interior blander and lower-quality than the Chrysler 200, usually enthusiasts’ whipping boy in the mid-size segment. It’s just one more example of Chrysler’s rising star, and of Volkswagen’s continued stagnation in the US market.
Like the Routan, Hyundai’s Entourage filled a hole in that brand’s model line-up. Hyundai didn’t need to outsource, however, instead rebadging the homegrown Kia Sedona. Where Volkswagen invested in different front and rear fascias and a nicer dash, Hyundai did the quick and dirty. You’d really be hard-pressed telling the Entourage apart from the Sedona on the street, and the interior also offered no obvious visual distinction. Other than some minor trim differences and the lack of a short-wheelbase variant, the Entourage was just a Sedona with a different badge. Buyers either didn’t know about it or didn’t care, because it sold well under half what the Sedona did, and shared showroom space with the vastly more popular Santa Fe (available with seven seats). The Entourage was cancelled after just a few model years.
What models, obscure or popular, do you expect will merit a second glance in ten years’ time? Discuss…
The Eclipse gorgeous? Not even remotely close to decent looking. The earlier ones at least looked ok, the last one, well, it was pretty sad. Just my opinion.
you know what they say about opinions :). I really liked this iteration and was tempted to take a closer look. But, I was turned off by the mid-90’s model — fit/finish of it and it’s bigger brother 3000GT. Great > 10ft lookers. But, they seemed to follow Chrysler’s quality issues during that period.
That’s what they say about reputations: You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Thank you. These things look constipated to me. I can’t decide which vehicle is uglier…this or the 350/370Z. Bleah.
I used to really like the Eclipse in the late-90s, but this last generation just looks like a bubble on wheels to me.
Wow, never expected to see my Bonneville on CC. I think part of the reason for its lack of sales was total lack of advertising too. Combine that with a pretty high sticker price for a car most people didn’t know existed and that is a combo for failure.
One unique thing the Bonneville got that other Northstar eengined cars didn’t was the combo of the high torque (275/300) version of the engine with the 3.71 axle ratio. The 3.71 was reserved for the high hp version of the engine on all others. Looking at dyno graphs shows that the high torque engine had a distinct torque advantage from idle on up, and only loses to the high hp engine in horsepower from 5600 rpm and up. This makes for a nice punch, but super crappy gas mileage. My 3.11 equipped Eldorado used to pull down 26-27 mpg on the highway, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over 21 in the Bonneville even on long trips at the speed limit.
Always liked the Lucerne Super. If the gas mileage wasn’t so horrible I’d probably pick one up as a daily driver and get out of the economy car game for good.
At one of my former jobs, we worked next door to a rather large law firm. We shared a parking garage with several other businesses in the area and had assigned parking.
Much to my delight one of the lawyers (I came to find out later) bought a GXP Bonneville in a pearl white with a black or dark grey leather interior and regularly parked it next to my Sunfire GT. I was in loooooove.
To this day, I still think about ways to get either a SSEi or GXP in my possession. Where to park it is another story…
They seem to be popping up more and more lately on Ebay, some with pretty low miles too. If you ever do decide to buy one let me know and I’ll clue you in on some of the known (possible) trouble spots to look for. I have had zero issues since day 1, but I only have 5K miles on it so I am not a great example.
Good to know. I think I know a little about Northstars, but I’m not afraid to ask around.
We’re still getting our latest Aztek sorted out, so it may be awhile before I seriously look at Bonnies. But I am also noticing a bunch of these popping up in my area on CL and used car lots.
If I could only hit the lottery…
Honestly, the Northstar really isn’t the issue. Unlike some on here I’m not afraid of it and think it is just as good as anything else similar out there. The Bonneville itself has some unique issues, and some are GXP specific.
I was looking at a 2001 (I think) maroon Aztek the other day. I think these are going to start to become desirable in the future the same way Edsel and Gremlins have sort of a cult following. I have to admit, I kind of like it and thought it had a lot of unique and clever features. Like lots of other things it just became popular to bash it so the sheep followed the trend.
WRT the Aztek: It was a better car than it’s reputation allowed, it had a lot of the good characteristics that a small FWD/AWD minivan chassis implies, but with h i g h l y polarizing styling.
I’d like to think that Breaking Bad gave the Aztek an back handed compliment and that folks are starting to realize the nature of these beasts.
Which is to say, not as bad as the initial rep suggested.
I never liked the looks of the Aztek, but compared to the current crop of CUVs I don’t think it’s that bad and actually superior in many ways.
The Aztek was always an easy target for ridicule…but I never found them that nasty. As cars get tubbier each year, Azteks are beginning to look quite handsome.
The Aztek is easily the ugliest thing since the Chrysler Airflow, which was a direct steal from the first Union Pacific streamliner. But I’m a railfan, so I love it. It is hugely like I said to my daughter re; her first (high school) car. Everybody loves the weird and the wonderful, we can’t afford wonderful. The car in question was her Grandfather’s 73 Collenaide Chevelle, with an Earl Schieb paintjob, and contact paper flowers. I guess we’ve never taken ourselves too seriously, car-wise.
The only reason I know about the Bonneville GXP is because Consumer Reports mentioned it in their 2005 “New Car Buying Guide” issue and had a small picture. (I’m not sure if they ever did a full review.) As you mention, I remember them saying it was torquey but ultimately too expensive. IIRC, I think it was only a few thousand dollars, if that, less than an Acura TL.
The thing I remember most about that issue of CR was getting my eyes seared by the picture of a Subaru Tribeca for the first time. I think the Aztek looked better.
Our town hosts a “cruise in” similar to the Woodward Ave Cruise In in Detroit every year. All of the local car dealers open up their facilities and allow the public to come through. After I wandered from the Lexus dealership to the Pontiac dealership, I sat in a then-new Grand Prix GXP.
I liked the swoopy interiors of the last gen Bonnies and the GP’s, but this GXP had all of the options including the nice leather seats. With the LS3 V8, it was thousands of dollars less expensive than the Lexus models I had just been inspecting across the street.
I thought to myself, why would I want a V6 FWD Lexus when for the same money I could get something like this? Or an equally nice Bonneville?
But, these other makes have the mindshare and very few bother to compare. Their loss, I suppose…
@Philhawk, glad the Northstar has been good to you. I will be shopping for a big ass sedan in 2014 and I’m seeing 2007 DTS Cadillacs with 70,000 miles going for $10K.
Never much cared for this Eclipse. To me, it looked like a rubber blob of a car. Every line was exaggerated until it reached cartoonish proportions.
People will be photographing anything with a Northstar because running examples will be so rare.
The opposite is true with these Voyagers. With the old 3 speed auto, these may be the only American minivans from its era on the road in another 10 years.
I remember the Hyundai minivan as being unusually expensive. I recall seeing one at a dealer and thinking “gee, I thought Hyundais were supposed to be inexpensive.” I guess they charged extra for a grille that was not hideous.
I agree on the Eclipse…it’s a caricature of what it once was.
Interesting that I’m in the minority on the Eclipse. I usually am deterred by such curvaceous cars. I prefer cars with much sharper lines, like Art & Science Cadillacs, pre-facelift W212 Mercedes E-Classes and the GLK, previous-generation Chevy Malibu. Adding too many “feature lines” is an easy way to turn me off, and I, like many people on this site, loathe the trend towards overstyled cars with ridiculously high beltlines.
I guess I don’t mind a big booty though, because I like the Eclipse and the 2002 Renault Megane! 😀
I actually do like the final-gen Eclipse. A friend’s wife has a copper convertible and I think it’s pretty sharp. They look a lot less “blobby” in person. I think the rear styling is very Porsche-like.
I’ll be photographing a Saturn Sky (best looking baby Corvette ever made) and I’m sure someone will photograph a Saturn Ion just to ask grandpa what the heck it is and why anyone ever let it out of the gate.
Unfortunately they are already hard to find, and those who have them seem to be the least caring of all car owners, but I think I’ll still get a grin if I ever see a 1st gen Neon (especially a two-door turbo) that is well cared-for and maintained.
Agreed on the Sky: gorgeous chiseled lines. It was the last vehicle that lured me into a dealership showroom. In contrast, the Solstice looks like a Sky that had been left in the oven too long. I am surprised that so many folks found it more attractive than the Saturn.
+2. Never been a GM guy but I could easily see myself driving a Sky.
Solstice always left me cold, except for the weird coupe. But the Sky? That is one beautiful car! Both are super rare here in NYC, only seen one of each. Doesn’t surprise me though, given the climate.
Friends of my folks have a metallic blue Sky. I could probably convince Rick to let me take some pictures.
I also prefer the Sky to the Solstice, it reminds me of a junior Corvette. I remember going to the local dealer with my brother to check out a white one when they were introduced.
I am one of those folks that liked Solstice better then the Sky. In the flesh the Sky’s front end resembles the scoop on a plow truck. it is almost like the folks designing the backend were not in communication with those designing the front end. The Solstice seems to have flowing graceful body lines.
I saw a Saturn recently in RHD one of the few times Ive ventured out without a camera there must have been at least two in NZ as this one was red with a green fender and panel rash on the hood a SR2 from memory other than the weird front it was unremarkable.
I believe part of the deal with VW for the Chrysler vans was that Chrysler retained an exclusive on the Stow-N-Go seats. Considering that, for all their convenience, they are notoriously uncomfortable, VW was not necessarily too broken up about not having them.
I would add the Chrysler Crossfire to the list.
Definitely. I saw a beautiful yellow convertible Crossfire yesterday.
It definitely rivals the Eclipse and nissan’s latest z-car in the looks department. Rarity can be a good thing sometimes.
How quickly has the Eclipse and Plymouth Laser have been forgotten. It seemed like every where you looked, you’ve seen one of these first or second gen sporty coupes.
4 door Lancers, Golfs, etc were the death knell for these 2 door coupes. Another victim of note was the Toyota Celica. Who could have imagined a nameplate like the Celica disappearing?
If Toyota hadn’t styled the last gen Celica like an origami ’99 Cougar and saddled it with a troublesome engine it may have survived.
What was wrong with the Toyota Celica engine?
I think he means the 2ZZ-GE 1.8l engine many of which had self destructing oil pumps. But that was the top of the engine which was in GTS’s. The other 1.8l (which also was in the Corolla) was a good engine(not a rocket but very reliable)
The 1ZZ-FED 1.8L in the Celica GT (and my MR2 Spyder) is fairly reliable, but it also has a nasty reputation for sucking the ceramic innards of its two exhaust pre-cats into the engine.
Face it, we’ll be photographing and ogling ANYTHING that has become rare, even my latest and last 2012 W-body Impala LTZ!
“I truly wonder if any of our commentariat can disagree with me when I say this is one gorgeous car.”
Well, I’m not first and I bet I won’t be last. The last Eclipse looks like a gen 2 – itself not a bad looking car – that was put on an all-cheezy poofs-and-PBR diet. And so many of the cut lines and transitions have nothing to do with each other. Did the designer of the front fenders even talk to the person who did the grille?
Never have been a fan of that generation of Eclipse. Too damned roundy, almost cartoonish. Looks like something produced by Fisher-Price.
I remember how confused I was when Chrysler killed off Plymouth. Was much money really saved, as every Plymouth vehicle sans Prowler was sold as a Chrysler or Dodge? Marketing (which was minimal for Plymouth anyway), grilles, and plastic badging/logos is all I can think of.
Needless to say of course, those “Chrysler” Voyagers probably sold about 1/100 the volume of the Town & Country.
But that’s the thing, Plymouth really didn’t offer anything Dodge couldn’t do. Most Dodge/Plymouth models had been essentially indistinguishable for a couple decades. What was the point of keeping both?
Bringing the Chrysler name so far downmarket is what I didn’t understand. I also didn’t understand rebranding their trucks to Ram, which I can figure only serves to make the truck line easier to sell off.
In retrospect, once Plymouth was killed off, it should’ve remained “dead” – in other words, left the lower priced FWD Mopar minivans to low-line Dodge Caravans.
I think the Mercedes R-class, especially the later ones with the deeper grille, should be on the list.
Nice list of vehicles that are not all that common even in Portland. I happen to own the Dodge version of that Chrysler Voyager and I agree it is somewhat of a step down from my 95 Voyager Family Package, but Dodges like mine are relatively common around here. At least that 03 Voyager has tinted windows it is something I wish my Dodge had. Every horsepower of my Dodge’s 2.4 Litre engine has to motivate about 25 pounds (with just the driver inside) and it has decent acceleration from about 30-70ish, but steep hills are its enemy and I think driving over the Colorado Rockies is asking for trouble. My 95 Voyager had to motivate about 24 pounds per horsepower with its 142 horse output and the 2nd gen Minivans had the option of a 100 horsepower 4 Cylinder. Given Chrysler’s reputation with their Torqueflites I rather have the 3 Speed than the iffier Overdrive Trannies.
FYI, one could get the V8 on the CXL model Lucerne also.
I keep experiencing a Pre-CC Effect. I saw a convertible Eclipse of the same ilk as the one in the picture two days ago and was thinking that it was a good looking car. I’ve had several other cars that were noticed for their rarity/age within the past year and they’ll get written up on here within a week.
The Eclipses were hot chick cars especially the spiders. Always blaring that techno music whether ten o’clock at night or seven in the morning. .
I traveled 4,000 miles across America this past summer and if you saw an Eclipse Spyder there was 90% chance the driver would be female, under 35 years of age, and have dyed hair.
Eclipse Spyder’s must have a higher percentage of female owners than V6 Mustang convertibles.
I lived/worked in Cleveland 1997-2003 and the Mitsubishi Eclipse was most definitely the number one chick car. Fast forward to this year, 2014; what Eclipses remain are the last fat-ass version and they too are girly cars (Honolulu County) – automatics with “Hello Kitty” stickers and license plate frames.
That reminds me of the 2003 commercial for the Eclipse with Dirty Vegas’ “Days Go By” song. That was a pretty hot car for a young person back then (relatively speaking), and the song really made you and want in on the fun. Good times back then…
William, you’re too kind on the latest Eclipse; it looks like a turd. Mechanically, it’s been neglected, mechanically and in more ways than one, it is NOT competitive. More reason that Diamond Star has kind of given up on the USA and Canada. The only Mitsubishi products we’ll be seeing in the future will have “Fuso” after “Mitsubishi”.
The latest Mirage (Thai built) is a turd of a turd and just screams “cheap car” like no other.
Not to sound demeaning, William . . . . but you call the Hyundai Genesis “overstyled” especially in comparison to the Mitsubishi Eclipse? Huh? Are you from the mid-west?
The Genesis (at least in the West) is a hot selling, well regarded, stylish performance car; the Mitsubishi Eclipse is an also-ran suppository. Tears are not shed for this ass-boil of a car. Now, if you were talking about the late 80’s version . . . . that’s a different story . . . .
Eclipse = Seasick vomit.
I will admit that the last gen Eclipse did not look as good as it could have, The Eclipse being killed off should be mourned a bit. It outlasted all its competitors of the time. The Probe, MX-6, Prelude,Celica. It was the last of the bunch and did live on for over 20 years. The market was not there in 2011 and I still don’t really think the market is there. The Scion FRS and the Subaru BRZ are still niche cars that will never sell a lot and they are two seaters that with the rumored convertible, would compete with the Miata.
The Camaro and Mustang are not in the same market as the Eclipse. The Pony Cars have their own market. Those in the market for a Camaro or Mustang are not going to be looking at an Eclipse or vice versa.
So on the fact that the Eclipse lasted for 20 years and out lasted its competitors, it was a successful car.
“The Scion FRS and the Subaru BRZ are still niche cars that will never sell a lot and they are two seaters that with the rumored convertible, would compete with the Miata.”
I was so over the Scibaru twins about 15 minutes after they were released. Folks complained greatly about the Camaro PR, but that was nothing compared to the “Second Coming of the Celica” drivel we endured with these cars. Let’s face it, by the end of the Celica line in North America, it was a pretty milquetoast car, no great performance models or great values from it. I thought the last gen Hyundai Tiburon was a better Celica than the last gen FWD Celica.
They may be wonderful drivers but there was mistake after mistake in marketing, bad demographics, poor market timing and two brands that were more unsuitable for this style of car. Then on launch, there were serious problems with the drive train, as if to punctuate the mistakes further.
That there will be a convertible model launched into a very small market space, especially competing against a model that has a HUGE mindshare, doesn’t engender a lot of confidence in the companies.
With the Camaro and the 7G Corvette (which has been hyped beyond even my saintly capacity), there IS a “user-base” and a heritage that the models can rely on, even though these cars share only the bones of the small block V8 and the bow tie logo with their forebears.
Sorry for the OT rant, you just found one of my hot buttons…
I might have liked my Lucerne more if I went for either a mega-base or mega-loaded version.
Interestingly, most Supers and Bonneville GXPs I see have asking prices higher than a same year Cadillac.
Besides the portly styling and tepid driving dynamics, a big factor in the Eclipse’s demise is the quality of the interior. Cramped, with yards of Mattel-grade plastics everywhere. The final Eclipse wasn’t pleasant, either on the outside looking at it, or on the inside driving.