Mitsubishi Galant Review
This website has consistently and persistently lambasted The Big 2.5 for depending on fleet sales to keep the factories churning. As reported here and elsewhere, Detroit has finally responded to industry criticism that cranking-out sub-par transportation for fleet consumption drags down vehicle quality, resale value and image. They’ve sworn off rental car crack. Gradually, eventually, they’ll leave Alamo, Hertz, Avis, etc. behind and take their chances on the dealer’s lot. All of which makes room for… the Mitsubishi Galant!
The ninth gen Galant gets some new threads. The proportions aren’t bad, and its strong, chiseled shoulders meld into perfectly proportioned, smoked Altezza taillights. (Who knew that Malibu and sake mixed?) From the side, the Galant’s soaring beltline conforms to The Law of Unintended Aesthetic Consequences; the rear doors look like Lulu the Fat Lady’s thighs. Up front, the aesthetically challenged hood blister meets up with a finned grille, complete with shiny-happy chrome smile underneath. All in all, the Galant is handsome enough– to wear the rental car cloak of invisibility.
As befitting this erstwhile honor, the Galant's interior is as about as cool as drinking milk from a sports bottle. From its brittle switchgear to its rotary knobs soaked in molasses to its rubbery steering wheel, Mitsubishi's sedan-starlet does the near-impossible: falls to match GM's mediocre advancements in interior excellence. While the Mitsu's panel gaps are fingernail thin and the aluminum-effect trim livens-up the dour dollops of flat black, the cabin’s mix of jutting planes, bloated curves and cheap plastics make the Galant ready for the rental car return row, like, now.
Grab your luggage and another problem creeps up; the Galant's strut assists make closing the decklid a challenge for one hand, and unnecessary effort for two. The resonating "thonk" following said action is about as reassuring as a stand up comic moonlighting as a bereavement counselor. The Galant's lack of fold down rear seating is another solid miss.
That said, the rear accommodations are more than slightly salubrious. The fabrics are a pleasing blend of luxury, style and durability, wrapping the finest set of foam cushioning this side of an Olds 88 Royale Brougham. Who needs a folding park bench when the alternative is so much better for the back and the booty? The couch isn't just the Galant's best attribute; it’s class-leading mother-in-law kvetch protection.
The Galant’s standard 140-watt, six speaker, MP3-ready sound system also deserves special mention. Actually that's a lie. By itself, the beatbox is nothing special. Factor in its ability to overpower the Galant's 2.4-liter buzz box under the hood and it becomes an absolute lifesaver. The MIVEC-tuned four-pot motor makes a respectable 160hp @ 5500 revs, but clock the tachometer above 3500rpm and this mill is ready to rattle itself to pieces. Runs to redline are accompanied by an intake-wheez so strong you can feel the Galant begging for your right foot for mercy.
The Galant’s “Sportronic” automatic serves-up a quartet of cogs with wide-ass gear ratios; a holdover from a time when it was OK to keep a rock as a pet (don’t ask). The Galant's powertrain– and I use that term in its full ironic sense– is no match for the smooth operators available in baseline Camrys and Accords. Even worse, with 3439 pounds of sedan to tote from the airport to the meeting/Disneyworld and back, the Galant's wounded snail pace (zero to 60 in 8.9 very loud seconds) should come as no surprise– at least until you try to merge on the highway.
Curiously, the entry level Galant doesn’t offer ABS braking as standard; you have to upgrade to the ES or “Extra Stuff” model (I swear I’m not making that up) to get Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. At least the Galant has enough airbags to seduce the Stay Puft Man and a front and side five-star government safety rating.
Which is just as well. Although the Galant is about as close to being a rocket ship as a block of cement, it can, eventually, reach normal automotive speeds. Once there, drivers will discover that the Galant's steering, shifting and throttle response were originally extras in The Dead Hate the Living.
The harder you push the Galant, the dumber you feel for bothering. Before unloading SUV-levels of understeer, the Galant pitches under cornering load and dives prodigiously in panic stops. Thrifty drivers on a Budget will get no kicks remembering the Alamo on a twisty on ramp or, more likely, circling for a parking space in a hotel parking lot. At least the four corner disc brakes keep the "fun" in check without hesitation or complaint.
Years ago, the market decided Mitsubishi's bread-and-butter sedan couldn’t hold a spent glow stick to the Camcordima. The market is still right; the Galant deserves its place in rental car infamy. As you will someday learn.
Roger Hislop on Feb 05, 2007
No one's mentioned the Mitsu Pajero (Shogun in UK, Montero in US, apparently because "pajero" in spanish means "wanker"). I had a second generation one for five blissfull years - the 3L SWB V6. The 2.4l inline petrol was a grossly underpowered POS, but the V6 rocked. The Paj was comfortable and easy to drive onroad, light clutch and steering, easy to park in shopping malls, and you could rally it around like an idiot on dry tar (but give it welly on a corner on wet tar and it would swap ends faster than drug mule turning state's witness). Offroad it was phenomenal - which is why probably half of offroad rally cars (as in Paris Dakar, not WRC) are second gen Pajeros. You could almost take the 3.5L stocker, gut-and-rollcage it, put in fire protection be ready to race. The Super Select 4WD was brilliant - go from 2wd to 4wd at up to 60mp , with low range and electronically lockable rear diff. And the front seats had independant suspension. Eat that, you sad Landy luddites. It was stunningly reliable, and not too heavy on gas. Admittedly after ten years mine was drinking oil (common prob...not dripping, not smoking, just steadily sipping), and a top-end rebuild would have cost the earth (24 valves...). And the SWB had piss-all luggage space behind the back seats... The Pajero Evolution is a monster -- the Dakar weapon that's triumphed for well over decade. MPR 12 is 4L, six-speed sequential box, "only" 270hp and 412Nm. I was passed by Peterhansel in one. I was flat out on my bike on soft, rutted sand trails in dunes at about 160kph, he went past like I was standing sill. The third gen saw the start of the rot. They went from ladder frame to unibody, stuck in lots of folderols and build quality plummeted. Problems like exhaust baffles coming loose and rattling around, plastic fairings on the edges ripping off on steep approaches or departures offroad. And the bulges on the wheel arches gave it the profile of a bloated wrench. Now there's the fourth gen launched in Paris, and it's gone all first gen retro. It looks like the Hyundai Galloper (a 1st gen knockoff built under licence).
Glenn A. on Feb 06, 2007
Mitsubishi just said they've turned a profit, looks like they've turned the corner. The new Evo and Lancer look really good. The diminutive i car is neat, and I think they'd be crazy NOT to bring them to the states, if only as a 'statement' to say 'huh, you want to really be 'SMART'? Get a small car with FOUR seats!' A whole lot more practical than the SMART cars are going to be. (Plus the new SMART car uses guess what ? The Mitsubishi i drivetrain!) What I REALLY want to see is Mitsubishi's upcoming electric car, IF it will work in northern climates. No more gas stations... ah, I can dream, can't I? (95% of my driving is back & forth to work/ errands - for the rest, I'd keep my Prius).
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