What Car Was Finally Perfected, Only To Be Ruined by Its Successor?

Sometimes, automakers miss the forest for the trees and pursue perfection on paper when it's already right in front of them.

Car companies never stop chasing perfection, even after they’ve achieved it. There are plenty of examples of this in the car world today, where one generation of a model reaches the absolute peak, only to be ruined by its successor. I have my own thoughts, and I’m curious to hear yours.

It doesn’t get any more egregious than the Mitsubishi Eclipse in my eyes. Specifically, I think the second-gen Eclipse was spot on with its 4G63T four-pot that made 210 horsepower that sent twist to all four wheels through a five-speed manual. It was a great lil’ rally-inspired coupe that could also be built to crazy high power levels if you’d rather take it drag racing. Pretty great, right?

Thing is, it was replaced by the front-drive-only third-gen. It might have looked OK, but the spirit of performance just wasn’t there, even though it made the same power in top trim with a naturally aspirated, 3.0-liter V6. Its biggest street cred boost came from Tyrese Gibson driving one in 2 Fast 2 Furious, but not even all that purple could undo the fact that it shared a platform with the Chrysler Sebring.

I’d really rather not talk about the fourth-gen Eclipse. It was so meh that Mitsubishi sent off the final model with a drab photoshoot at its factory, out by the pond with maybe the most basic shots I’ve seen.

Oh, and now the Eclipse is a crossover.

All right. I can’t keep thinking about this. It’s your turn to tell me what car was better before some automaker had the bright idea to “improve” on perfection.

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