A car with a great deal of promise, let down by crappy materials and questionable engineering.
Mine was the top of the line, GT Premium package, leather, etc. Got it with the manual transmission, which was a strong point (good, solid, short-throw shifts, especially for a FWD car). Interior materials were questionable at best - lots of cheap plastic, hatchback cover made of flimsy material, "leather" seats were leather facings only, with clumsy vinyl elsewhere. Some ridiculous sharp metal edges here and there, like the back edge of the clutch pedal, which actually sliced a shoe when I inadvertently rubbed against it.
Despite having a power adjustable driver's seat, I could never find a really good driving position, and my right leg tended to ache after long drives. Seating was always too low and claustrophobic.
V-6 power was good, but not exceptional. There was a very usable sweet-spot in the powerband, but it was pointless to rev it to the redline, as the last 500 rpm or so were just a lot of noise. Seemed like it needed better cam profiles and/or better breathing.
Overall performance was good, but not great. The car's generous weight didn't help mediocre power output.
The downside to the V-6 was considerable torque steer for no good reason, as well as a lot of weight over the front wheels. Expected FWD understeer was very pronounced, especially with the horrible, squealy, and not-very-grippy Goodyears that were the OE tires. The car for sure needs much better rubber, but tended to chew up the hard-worked fronts no matter what.
Resale value plummeted like the stock market in late '08. I kept mine in perfect condition and was eager to escape it after two years. As it was, I took a beating on the value when I traded it on a real sports car - my first Honda S-2000.
Why did I buy it in the first place? It was a compromise on what I wanted to spend and what was available at the time. The dealer experience wasn't good either - they tended to be stingy on warranty issues, and argued with me when one of their technicians scraped some paint on my car.
This series Eclipse may be an OK car on the used car market now, as most of the depreciation is already pretty much dialed in. I can understand how a decent used one would appeal to youthful buyers who want to lay out modest amounts on the car, then upgrade it. These Eclipses sure need it!