In 1989, a partnership between Chrysler and Mitsubishi known as Diamond Star Motors produced some truly excellent cars. One model that was shared between Mitsubishi, Eagle, and Plymouth was the Eclipse/Talon/Laser. This two-door, four seat coupe was truly fun to drive, and in its highest performance form, was an all-wheel drive, turbocharged, manual coupe, the closest the US would get to an Lancer Evo until 2003.
The Eclipse GSX was a wonderful car. Easy to make fast and just plain fun in stock form. A redesign in 1995 saw that same formula continue, just with updated looks.
And then we got to 2000. Oh 2000. The year the Eclipse first died. The DSM partnership was dead, and so was the excellent turbo four. Instead we got a front-wheel drive coupe that lost the aggressive look of the old Eclipse and, most importantly, lost the all-wheel drive on all trims. Instead, we had a what was essentially a V6-powered Scion tC before the tC existed.
The 2006 redesign was supposed to be a return to Eclipses of old. It wasn't. It got bigger, uglier, and worse-er. The Eclipse was now a front drive V6 Mustang. When it was finally retired in 2012, nobody cared. It was the farewell tour for a band that had a couple hits and then tried to appeal to a different audience. The last Eclipse was Chicago when it was helmed by Peter Cetera.
And now, Mitsubishi has announced that they're bringing back the Eclipse. We thought that would be great. And then we heard the real name was the Eclipse Cross. As in crossover. As in a crossover SUV. As in not a sports car.
It might actually be a natural strategy that Mitsubishi planned since 1989. Take great thing, dilute the name until it means nothing, and then bring it back ages later, hoping people will forget that it ever applied to something great in the first place.
The real sad thing is that Mitsubishi will probably sell a crap ton of these, because people love crossovers, and the youths that are leading active lifestyles will see this name and think that it's all sorts of great.
But we won't, Mitsubishi. We won't.
Just wait until Mitsubishi unveils a crossover called the Lancer Evolution in 20 years. That'll be something.