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'99 Mitsubishi Galant ES Sedan

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SAN FRANCISCO:  Mitsubishi just might have too much riding on its new Galant.  Mitsubishi’s 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 Mitsubishi’s failure to find success on a par with Honda or Toyota. Maybe it’s 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, it’s because their quality isn’t as good as Honda or Toyota. I doubt this though, as I’ve seen companies with far worse quality sell much better. I hope Mitsu makes it. They’ve 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. That’s tough competition in today’s 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 don’t usually find on family oriented cars. There’s 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 Mitsu’s 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 wasn’t impressed with - the fabric on the upper door and arm rest areas. On the driver’s 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 didn’t 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 Accord’s or Camry’s four-cylinder.

I was impressed with the Galant’s driving experience. Not bad, especially for the next-to-base model. No, it wasn’t a sports sedan; that’s the GTZ’s job. It was surprisingly competent on the twisty bits. Maybe part of this was because of the standard 195/60HR15 tires.

One thing I can’t 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 don’t know how they do that but I wish they’d 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

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