Eagle Summit

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This article is about the car. For the mountain in Alaska, see Eagle Summit (Alaska).
Eagle Summit
Eagle-Summit-coupe.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Diamond-Star Motors
Production 1989–1996
Body and chassis
Class Subcompact
Chronology
Predecessor Renault Alliance coupe (for 3-door hatchback model)
Dodge/Plymouth Colt sedan (for sedan)
Eagle Vista (for wagon & coupe models)

The Eagle Summit was a subcompact car produced by Mitsubishi Motors from 1989 to 1996. It was sold as a captive import by the Jeep-Eagle sales division that was created after Chrysler Corporation purchased American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1987. The Summit was one of the passenger car lines to expand the marketing mix of the Jeep dealer sales and service network in North America.

Overview[edit]

The Eagle Summit joined the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Colt starting in 1989 as Chrysler wound down the production of the subcompact Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni twins.[1] The introduction of the Summit coincided with the release of the Mitsubishi Mirage's third generation.

The Eagle Summit was subcompact automobile model in the product mix for Jeep-Eagle dealers.[2] Previously this position was held by the Renault Alliance until Renault withdrew from the U.S. and Canadian markets in 1987. The Eagle Summit line lasted through the extent of the Mirage's fourth generation, which ended in 1996. The somewhat related Eagle Summit Wagon (which was a compact MPV) ran from 1992–1996 and was based on the Mitsubishi RVR.

Year-to-year changes[edit]

First generation (1989-1992)[edit]

First generation
Eagle Summit DL Sedan.JPG
Overview
Production 1989–1992
Assembly Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan (Hatchback)
Normal, Illinois (Sedans)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
3-door hatchback
Layout FF layout
Related Mitsubishi Mirage
Dodge/Plymouth Colt
Mitsubishi Space Wagon
Powertrain
Engine 1.5 L 81 hp (60 kW) I4
1.6 L 123 hp (92 kW) I4
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 93.9 in (2,385 mm) (sedan)
93.9 in (2,385 mm) (hatchback)
Length 170.1 in (4,321 mm) (sedan)
158.7 in (4,031 mm) (hatchback)
Width 65.7 in (1,669 mm)
Height 52.8 in (1,341 mm) (sedan)
51.9 in (1,318 mm) (hatchback)
Curb weight 2,271 lb (1,030 kg) (sedan)
2,205 lb (1,000 kg) (hatchback)

The Summit was a badge engineered version of the Mitsubishi Mirage. In a pairing of the Japanese-built Mitsubishi Mirage and the identical Eagle Summit to test if Lee Iacocca's theory was true regarding the preference of a Japanese to an American brand on similar cars, Popular Mechanics found that American consumers were "not sold on Japanese cars. Quite the opposite. They want to "Buy American," but the Japanese manufacturers seem to offer more of the type of cars Americans need and at a better price, and from more cooperative dealers."[3] Originally assembled in Japan, starting with the 1991 model year, the Eagle Summits were built by Diamond-Star Motors (DSM), a joint-venture between Chrysler and Mitsubishi, in Normal, Illinois.[4]

1989: Summit was introduced as a sedan in DL and LX trim, both powered by a 1.5-liter 8-valve 4-cylinder engine with 81 hp (60 kW). The LX could have a 1.6-liter 16-valve DOHC engine with 123 hp (92 kW). The 100.7 cubic feet (2.85 m3) of interior volume classified the Summit into the compact car class, while most of its competitors were still subcompacts. The Summit was also noted for its generous rear legroom.
1990: A low-cost base model was added to the bottom of the Summit line. Added to the top was a new ES, which paired the 1.6-liter engine with a sport suspension, 4-wheel-disc brakes, and 14-inch (360 mm) alloy wheels with P195/60R14 tires. All models received all-capital lettering on the back.
1991: The 1.5-liter engine output increased to 92 hp (69 kW; 93 PS) due to 4 additional valves (for 12 total). The ES models returned to 13-inch (330 mm) wheels and disc brakes on only the front. New was the 2-door Summit hatchback; both it and the sedan came in base and ES trims. The manual transmission was a 4-speed on the base hatchback and a 5-speed on all others; the automatic was a 3-speed on hatchbacks and a 4-speed on sedans. All models featured a new front grille.
1992: The Summit Wagon joined the line, and it was a completely different vehicle featuring a high roofline and sliding rear side door. It was actually a rebadged Mitsubishi RVR, thus not related to the Mirage-based Summits. The Wagon was available in DL and LX trims, as well as in a four-wheel drive (AWD) version. The new Summit Wagon was marketed as blending the maneuverability of a small car with the roominess of a minivan with its interior offering high seating positions and removable rear seats.[5] It was designed to attract young families with seating for five.[6]

Second generation (1993-1996)[edit]

Second generation
Eagle Summit.jpg
Overview
Production 1993–1996
Assembly Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan (Coupe & Sedan)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
2-door coupe
Layout Front engine, front-wheel drive
Related Mitsubishi Mirage
Dodge/Plymouth Colt
Powertrain
Engine 1.5 L 92 hp (69 kW) I4
1.8 L 113 hp (84 kW) I4
Transmission 5-speed manual
3/4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase Sedan: 98.4 in (2,499 mm)
Coupe: 96.1 in (2,441 mm)
Length Sedan: 174.0 in (4,420 mm)
Coupe: 171.1 in (4,346 mm)
Width 1993-94: 66.5 in (1,689 mm)
1995-96: 66.1 in (1,679 mm)
Height 51.4 in (1,306 mm)
1995-96 Coupe: 51.6 in (1,311 mm)

The 1993 model year Summits were completely new and featured more room on the inside as well as weighing less than before.[7] The Summit was now based the fourth generation Mitsubishi Mirage 'CC' chassis platform featuring a more stylish rounder shape, and a mutlilink rear suspension. The hatchback body design, which were previously popular in this market segment, was dropped in favor of a two-door coupe version, while a four-door sedan joined the Summit lineup offering "good basic transportation".[7]

Eagle Summit coupe
1993: As with the Mirage and both Colts, the base 1.5-liter engine remained, paired to a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. New was a 113 hp (84 kW; 115 PS) 1.8-liter SOHC engine, whose optional automatic was a 4-speed. The Summit came in sedan and coupe body styles, DL and ES trim lines. At first, only the ES sedan had the better powertrain. A RVR-based minivan version (called the Summit Wagon) replaced the Canada-only Eagle Vista wagon.
1994: All Summits featured a driver's side airbag, replacing one of the motorized seatbelts. The lower-end DL sedan was rebadged LX and inherited the 1.8-liter engine, which was now an option for the ES coupe as well. The ES sedan upgraded to larger 14-inch (360 mm) wheels.
1995: A passenger's side airbag on all Summits replaced the other motorized seatbelt, and ES models were renamed ESi. More significantly, the 1994 demise of both Colts left the Summit as the only remaining Mirage clone, and the cancellation of the Mirage sedan at the end of 1994 left the Summit as the only four-door offering.
1996: Summit entered its last model year with new fabrics and colors.

Trim levels overview[edit]

4-door sedan (1989-1996)[edit]

  • DL - 1989-1990; 1993
  • LX - 1989-1990; 1994–1996
  • base - 1990-1992
  • ES - 1990-1994
  • ESi - 1994-1996

2-door coupe (1991-1996)[edit]

  • base - 1991-1992
  • ES - 1991-1994
  • DL - 1993-1996
  • ESi - 1994-1996

References[edit]

  1. ^ McCosh, Dan (November 1990). "Global Designs for Compact Sedans". Popular Science 237 (5): 92. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Dunne, Jim (June 1988). "Inside Detroit". Popular Mechanics: 43. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Rich (November 1990). "Blind Taste Test". Popular Mechanics 167 (11): 41–125. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Taylor, p. 46.
  5. ^ Winternitz, Felix (October 1991). "Hot Wheels '92". Cincinnati Magazine 25 (1): 108. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "What's new for '92? Check these models". Kiplinger's Personal Finance 45 (10): 107. October 1991. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Allen, Mike (October 1992). "Drive Report: Eagle Summit". Popular Mechanics 169 (10): 39. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 

External links[edit]