SAN FRANCISCO: Mitsubishi
just might have too much riding on its new Galant. Mitsubishis very future as
a car company in North America may hinge on how well the Galant sells.The pundits will
give you all kinds of reasons for Mitsubishis failure to find success on a par with
Honda or Toyota. Maybe its because way back in the beginning, they sold their
product under the Dodge and Plymouth nameplates.
Or, as a couple of people I
know and respect tell me, its because their quality isnt as good as Honda or
Toyota. I doubt this though, as Ive seen companies with far worse quality sell much
better. I hope Mitsu makes it. Theyve always built interesting vehicles. One is the
Galant, which is all new for 99. Mitsu markets six versions of the Galant: base DE,
ES, ES V6, ES V6 Premium Package, LS, and GTZ. I tested an ES.
The Galant competes against
some formidable cars - such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Thats tough
competition in todays new car market. I think the Galant does a good job in this
segment. On the outside, I found the Galant a handsome vehicle with a slightly aggressive
front profile that you dont usually find on family oriented cars. Theres a
pronounced rake (lower in front) when viewed from the side that stems, not from lowering
the front suspension, but from the styling lines (high butt, low nose). I think
Mitsus done a very good job of making the Galant stand out in a crowd.
Inside, the Galant really
broke no new ground. It was a well outfitted, well laid-out, four-door sedan. All the
controls were right there. Sure, it could have used just a tad more leg room in the back
but for the average family it should be fine. There was one area that I wasnt
impressed with - the fabric on the upper door and arm rest areas. On the drivers
door there was already a damaged spot and I wonder how well the stuff will wear.
When I scheduled a Galant,
I was hoping to get one with a V6 but all that was available was the ES with the
2.4-liter, Single-Over-Head-Cam (SOHC) four cylinder. Mitsu claims that the engine has
been thoroughly updated. I didnt take it apart to see, but it did perform very well
and it was smooth. The engine is rated at 140 hp and 190 lbs-ft of torque, which Mitsu
brags, is higher than either Accords or Camrys four-cylinder.
I was impressed with the
Galants driving experience. Not bad, especially for the next-to-base model. No, it
wasnt a sports sedan; thats the GTZs job. It was surprisingly competent
on the twisty bits. Maybe part of this was because of the standard 195/60HR15 tires.
One thing I cant get
over with many of the new cars, and the Galant is a perfect case in point, is how small
they look for the volume they hold. Mitsubishi included comparison charts in their press
kit. Would you believe that the Accord is longer than a Camry? It looks smaller to me. And
the Galant, which is within an inch or two of either, looks smaller still. Yet the Galant
has more interior volume than the Camry. I dont know how they do that but I wish
theyd get into home construction.
Fuel economy looks pretty
good at 21-mpg city and 28 highway. The GS lists for $17,990 and went out the door for
$18,969 with options like CD player, CA emissions and destination charges. According to
IntelliChoice, the Galant GS is $1,479 less expensive than the comparable Honda Accord LX.
That makes the Galant definitely a car to check out in my book. By
Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - SanFrancisco
Mitsubishi Home Page
Byline: BY Bruce
Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name: "Wake Up & Drive"
Topic: '99 Mitsubishi Galant ES Sedan
Word Count: 625
Photo Caption: '99 Mitsubishi Galant ES Sedan
Photo Credits: Mitsubishi News Bureau
Series #: 1999 - 2