- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

Mitsubishi has reworked its midsize sedan into a vehicle that departs from this crowded category with a decidedly different look. You can fairly quickly identify the new Galant in a sea of vehicles that look very much the same. It is an attribute Mitsubishi strove to achieve.

The Galant’s new look begins with the split grille on the front end that looks more like huge air inlets than a traditional automotive grille. The body-colored bumper is massive and is part of the centerpiece that divides the grille. This gives the Galant an aggressive and bold look.

The daring styling continues into the passenger compartment where the four spokes of the steering wheel are angular and modernistic looking. The center-stack console dominates the dash board with the air-conditioning and sound-system controls. And while it may appear a little too futuristic for some, it helps set the Galant apart from the crowd.

The three-ring instrument cluster offers up the gauges in an attractive and highly visible manner. A large speedometer dominates with tachometer on one side and a combination gauge on the other.

With the reworking came a stretching of the Galant’s measurements and, in making the car a little larger, Mitsubishi has given the passengers more room to stretch out. Even though I did notice a low rear ceiling, there is plenty of room for long legs and wide shoulders in the rear seat. Though the trunk may appear a bit on the small side, mainly because of the opening configuration, the truck swallowed up all my suitcases.

Mitsubishi offers plenty of variety in the Galant line with four trim levels starting with the DE and ES, moving up to the LS and GTS trim levels. Two different power sources are available for the Galant. Standard for the DE and ES models is a responsive 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and 157 foot-pounds of torque. I was pleasantly surprised with the larger and more powerful V-6 engine sitting under the hood of my test car. Both upper trim levels receive the 3.8-liter Single Overhead Cam V-6 engine as standard equipment. This beefy engine serves up 230 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque to make the Galant a heady drive. There are some V-6 engines that have a difficult time getting over the 200 horsepower mark, so you can see the Galant leaps in front.

Although both engines are mated to four-speed automatic transmissions, the V-6 receives a sporty automatic that also has a version that includes Mitsubishi’s Sportronic manual shifting mode. It seems there should not be an automatic transmission available today that doesn’t have a manual mode that offers so much more variety to driving. Mitsubishi has also given the Galant a suspension system that not only gives the car excellent handling, it also provides a comfortable ride. Even on the typical expansion joints of the freeway, the Galant absorbs the impact.

Providing a comfortable ride is always a good thing, but many other vehicles sacrifice handling to provide the comfort. Mitsubishi has found a good compromise in the Galant. Employing MacPherson struts in front and a multilink system at the rear, the Galant handled the country roads I drove with ease.

Granted the Galant isn’t a sports car, but it handled the demanding tight turns and switchbacks I encountered during my drive.

Finding a vehicle that makes the daily grind of a commute comfortable and not tiring and is able to have fun on a country road is difficult. When I find one that works as well as the Galant, I feel I found a diamond. With all the compromises we must make each day, it is nice that we don’t have to give up a great deal when we climb into our car.

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