Downside: Useless rear seats; difficult-to-read fuel gauge on the far left side of the instrument cluster.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Mitsubishi, unfortunately, is marketing its new Eclipse models -- the base 164-horsepower, four-cylinder GS and the top-of-the-line 263-horsepower GT V6 -- as highway-scorchers. That approach has minimal credibility with the GT V6 and none at all with the GS, especially when the GS is equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission. The GT V6 is a competent, enjoyable highway car, but "competent" and "enjoyable" do not translate to "victory" at weekend racetracks, which is where Mitsubishi's marketing implies the factory Eclipse should run.

Head-turning quotient: Extremely strong emotional reaction to this one. Many people, including me, love the new Eclipse's aggressive yet sensuous styling. Others absolutely hate it.

Body style/layout: The 2006 Eclipse is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive, two-door coupe with four seats, two of which are useful.

Engines/transmissions: There are two engines available: a 2.4-liter, 162-horsepower, inline four-cylinder in the GS and a 3.8-liter, 263-horsepower V6 for the GT. The tested GT V6 develops top horsepower at 5,750 revolutions per minute and 260 foot-pounds of torque at 4,500 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is standard for the GS; a four-speed automatic is optional (and not recommended by this driver) for that model. A six-speed manual is standard for the GT. A five-speed automatic, which also can be operated manually, is optional.

Cargo and fuel capacities: The Eclipse effectively has seating for two people. Maximum cargo capacity is 15.7 cubic feet. Fuel capacity is 17.7 gallons in both the GS and GT. But the tested GT V6 requires premium unleaded gasoline. The GS runs on less expensive regular unleaded.

Mileage: I averaged 26 miles per gallon on the highway in the GT V6.

Safety: Side and head air bags; four-wheel anti-lock disk brakes; rigid body construction; traction control.

Price: Base price on the tested 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT V6 with the six-speed manual transmission is $23,699. Dealer's invoice price on the base model is $22,411. Price as tested is $27,564, including $3,270 in options and a $595 destination charge. Dealer's invoice price with options and destination charge is $25,877. Prices sourced from Mitsubishi Motors North America and

Purse-strings note: The 2006 Eclipse GT V6 is a good, fun, enjoyable coupe surrounded by worthy competitors, including the V6 Ford Mustang, Honda EX V-6, Mazda RX-8 and Nissan 350Z. You can bargain.