Think the 4-door, mid-sized sedan can't get anyhotter? Well, think again. The largest segmenton the road today is getting fresh competitionfrom the all new, more powerful,larger 2004 Mitsubishi Galant.
Since the Galant first appeared in 1985, it has been aplatform of refreshing innovation. Mitsubishi was thefirst automaker to introduce stability control and all-wheeldrive with all-wheel steering to American passengercars. The latest model is the first Galant designedentirely for the North American marketâ€”and thismakes a difference.
Mitsubishi's Galant and Endeavor (SUV) share thesame platform and are both built in Normal, Ill. Thisnew, mid-sized sedan offers 101 cubic feet of interiorroom. The new, all-steel structure has a 62-inch-widetrack, which translates into greater stability, a more comfortableride, and a roomier interior. You'll especiallynotice the extra space in the back seat. Americans arebigger people and will appreciate a car built to fit us.
Besides being larger, the new Galant is sleeker. Thesignature split-grille front now extends into the hood,creating a broader, more aggressive stance. Better aerodynamicscome from the car's coupe-like design.Following the trend in luxury automobiles, the optionalpower sunroof is larger and provides more light. TheGalant is offered in 4 models: DE, ES, LS, and GTS.
One of the highlights of the Galant's interior cabin iscomfortable seating. Designed to help reduce fatigue, theseats are durable yet luxurious. Leather seats and an 8-way power driver seat are standard on the GTS andoptional on the ES and LS. Heated front seats and mirrorsare also available on all models.
The seat is where you spend all of your time in thecar, so good seats are especially important. It appearsMitsubishi kept this in mind when they designed theirleather power seats. The leather seats in the GTS were socomfortable that I enjoyed a long day of riding and drivingthrough the Virginia and Maryland countryside.
The driver's gauges on the Galant are unique: 3 circlesmerge together to form an interesting design. Thenighttime dashboard is illuminated by ice blue, light-emittingdiodes, which make night driving fun. A well-appointedcabin is fitted with textured, earth tone materials.Pilot and copilot will find the center console convenient.The entire area is well lit, with switches andeasy-to-operate knobsâ€”the micro buttons are gone.
The Galant DE and ES are the most economicalmodels. Their 2.4-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine putsout about 160 horsepower. It's a smooth 4-cylinder thatcomes standard with a 4-speed automatic transmission.No manual transmission is presently available.
If you desire power and speed, then consider eitherthe LS or GTS. A standard 3.8-liter, 24-valve, V6engine puts out 230 horsepower and 250 pounds oftorque. The powerful torque makes the car work betterwith the automatic transmission, particularly ifyou are toting a heavy load. Standard equipment is a4-speed automatic sportronic only.
Independent suspension is at all 4 corners, so the 4models offer a similar ride. The steering and suspensionreturn a pleasant road feel, like a nice Europeancar. For the most performance, it's the GTS. Not onlydoes it look faster, but the suspension engineers addedthe biggest stabilizer bars so that the GTS handles cornerslike a champion.
If you like hugging trees and saving money, the ES islikely the best value at around $19,000. If you requireluxury and performance, then consider the LS, whichstarts at around $21,000. For $25,600, you can purchasea fully loaded GTS, which comes with a dotmatrix center display that gives time, temperature,directions, and much more. The baseDE sells for under $18,000, but it's only 5% of the mixand probably hard to find. The GTS is such a goodvalue, who would want the stripped version? Live a little,or purchase the DE and save a lot.
Jean Swenson and Ashly Knapp are independent research reportersand founders of AutoAdvisor.com.