Okay, I am not Bill Gates and most of us aren't. So you want a car that is a blast to drive? Mitsubishi has one and it's the Eclipse Spyder. This car is a blast to drive and it won't destroy your budget although it's on the upper end of the price range for what the upper class call the "Cheap Convertibles."
It handles the road with wonderful precision! You don't find yourself sliding around in your seat each time you take a corner at a higher rate of speed than most traffic. The Eclipse doesn't scream about cornering either, it just glides.
It's peppy 210 HP engine will get you around those left lane loonies who have decided that 50 MPH in a 65 MPH zone is "fast enough". Now you just downshift quickly and go around them. You'll be past them and happy again before they can say, "I may be slow but I'm in front of you."
The Stereo is a 7 speaker Infinity that is great but it could use a bit of a 'bass' punch. Not the low end "I am here and you should hear me 6 blocks away" kind but just a bit more realism. Setting the bass all the way to the top tends to muffle and not define. It comes equipped with an in dash 6 disc CD changer. The Stereo controls are also conveniently located on the steering wheel but in back so you dont "see" the buttons. They are easy to use and you get used to it very fast.
The 'ragtop' is a triple layered insulated fabric roof that does a splendid job of quieting the road and keeping you snug and warm when you have it up. It takes about 10 12 seconds for it to go up or down.
The front seats are very comfortable and the front and sides are leather. The driver side is electronically adjustable and after you figure out the little knob control you'll have no excuse but to be comfortable. The passenger seat has the standard seat control.
The back seats are not roomy but they do have special sockets for a child seat and they make it extra special because if used properly the child seat sits above the back seat so it's not scrunching the seat. Not much more than children could ride very long in the back seat but the insurance companies give you a break for having them in most states. I don't have kids anyway but if you do have kids than there you go you can have kids and a blast at the same time.
There is trunk space that is ample for two carry on size bags and maybe a laptop or briefcase. Youre not going to fit the wifes weeklong mammoth baggage cart in there! It does fit two medium sized golf bags in it!
Like to work on the engine yourself? Yikes it is very crammed in there. Not much room to move for those of you who do all the work yourselves but youve managed this long so what's a bit of cramped space anyway?
I was introduced to the Eclipse Spyder because of a mix-up at a rental agency. I am one of their 'frequent renters' but they ran out of traditional cars while I was in Florida. So I made them rent me a convertible. It just so happened that it was the 2002 GS model Eclipse Spyder and I had a GREAT week driving in the Tampa area!
When I returned back to Minneapolis I tried the Honda S2000, Toyota Spyder, Ford Mustang, BMW Z3 Roadster, Chrysler Sebring Convertible and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GTS Manual 5 speed.
After comparing ride, handling and convenience features I chose the 2003 model Eclipse Spyder GTS.
So far I am as happy as a pig in $^*t.
UPDATE: April 12 2006
I have had this car for almost 4 years now. I have driven in in the Minnesota Winters.
It is still a great car. I get the maintenance done mostly on schedule and it still purrs like a kitten. It is still very peppy and isn't showing sighns of age.
I put the top down as often as I can and I do use the cover as much as possible when it is down. The roof doesn't show any real wear and is still in almost new condition even with all of that use. If you don't use the cover you can cause some of the roof to look faded as others have found out unfortunetly.
I still have the original tires and I had to take one off one time to get filled whe it was -31 below zero. The aluminum wheel contracted so much due to the cold that the tire separated from the rim. Just adding air re-sealed it and I had it re-balanced afterward.
One other problem I have had was that the powered antenna broke. We have dirty Winters and Springs in Minnesota and that causes buildup on the antenna. After so much it finally caused the plastic gears to break. It is $110.00 to fix just the mast. My motor still worked so that was easy but if you break the motor too it's around $180.00 to get the whole new antenna.
Other than that I am still very happy with this car. it's still a blast to drive and I already have had the top down multiple times this Spring!
Amount Paid (US$):
2003Model and Options:
2003 GTS Spyder convertible