The fastest 90's import
Heater core broke, causing overheating and coolant flood at 76,000 miles.
Passenger side door handle snapped off at 77,000 miles.
Radio malfunctioned at 78,000 miles.
Various rattles on the inside of the car.
Car would sometimes not start; realized that it was the spark plugs. After it was fixed, it did not happen again.
I was looking for a new sport compact car after owning a '94 Ford Probe GT. A friend of mine had a 1998 Eclipse GS, and I had always liked the body style, but did not like the lack of power. I decided to look into the turbo charged models, as I was looking for something that was quick. At the time I was also considering a 2000 and up Eclipse GT V6 and Honda Prelude Si.
I finally found an unmolested, all stock silver 1999 Eclipse GS-T with only 72,000 miles on it. After one test drive, I bought it on the spot.
I was extremely impressed with the acceleration on this car immediately, and only became more impressed after I drove it more. 60 mph comes up in the low to mid 6 second range, and the 1/4 mile comes in the low 15s. From a low speed roll, the GS-T takes off like a shotgun, blowing away any other sport compact; you are thrown hard into your seat as the needle sweeps to redline, and you have to shift quickly to keep up with it. So much torque that from a dig, the tires will spin through 2nd gear. Passengers holding items need to be warned before abrupt acceleration, they will spill their drinks and get whiplash - I learned that the hard way. This is an extremely quick car.
The handling on the GS-T model, which is FWD (the GSX is AWD) is sporty, but it's not really a canyon carver. I have taken the car through canyons and sharp mountain roads, and it will snake through quickly with a talented driver, but it has too much power going through the front wheels and a healthy dose of torque steer. Shooting in and out of traffic is no problem however, and this is where the GS-T really shines - you will make it to your destination earlier than planned if you get on it, enabling one to leave late and arrive on time.
The interior is very sports oriented, with controls falling easily into the driver's hands. The manual transmission has a short satisfying throw, and is suited well to the engine. The seats are firm and comfortable, holding you in place when the boost turns on. The rear seats are suited only to passengers willing to squeeze into a coffin like setting, but there is ample room for luggage. I have driven with a full load of 4 passengers, and would not do it often; it is seriously cramped. The trunk is spacious enough for a long road trip. The only complaint I have for the interior is that when the transmission is in third gear, it blocks the radio controls.
Gas mileage truly depends on how you drive the car; drive it like it's meant to be driven, and you will be filling up very frequently. Baby it, and you can achieve 22 to 25mpg on the highway. Premium fuel is necessary, and I would not deviate from it. I did not encounter many problems with reliability, but I also know that some repairs can be expensive, so I recommend sticking with premium.
I absolutely loved this car while I owned it, which unfortunately wasn't for too long. I bought it during a turbulent time in my life and was forced to sell it; truth be told, I wasn't mature enough to own the car at that particular point in my life. I constantly street raced it at stoplights and on freeways, incurring plenty of speeding tickets. For those looking at this car for pure performance reasons, I will state that it is easily the fastest stock for stock 90's import sports compact car. With the ridiculous after market support for 1st and 2nd gen eclipses, it can only become faster as well.
This is still my favorite car that I have ever owned, and I have owned quite a few. I miss the instant boost and forceful push into the drivers seat. I would buy another GS-T/GSX without hesitation if I found a bone stock example with low mileage, but that is near impossible today.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st July, 2011