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2004 Mitsubishi Galant

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San Francisco: Mitsubishi seems to be the hard luck car company. Despite a raft of exciting - the Evo, dependable - the Galant, SUVs - the Montero, and an aggressive Zero, Zero, Zero marketing campaign, their sales seem to be stuck in a no-growth mode.

In response, Mitsubishi did what any self-respecting sports team would do when they can't catch a break - they hired a new manager, often poaching someone from a winning team. That's just what Mitsubishi did, well maybe not poaching, but they went and hired the former boss of Hyundai, Finbarr O'Neill to run their US operations.

Things might look up for Mitsubishi with the addition of the 2004 Galant. Mitsubishi hopes the Galant will go from an also ran in the Accord and Camry war to a major player. At least that's what Mitsu is wishing for. I think they have a good chance of succeeding.

The '04 Galant is the first Galant to be built specifically for the North American market. The new Galant is truly a mid-size sedan, truly the equal of the Camry in interior room. Not only is there more room inside but also it looks more substantial on the outside.

There are four models available, the DE, ES, LS, and GTS. There are two engines and two transmissions available and both transmissions are four-speed automatics. The base engine, available in the DE and ES, is a 2.4-liter, SOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder that makes 160 hp. It is only available with the base four-speed automatic.

The LS and GTS are equipped with a 3.8-liter, SOHC, 24 valve, V6 that produces 230 hp. It is mated to a four-speed SportronicTM automatic transmission that allows manual shifting. The gear ratios are slightly different in the Sportronic to capitalize on the V6's better power and torque. Fuel economy for the 4-cylinder Galant is rated at 23-mpg city and 30-mpy highway, the LS is 19/27, and the GTS 18/26.

I drove a Galant LS and found it to be a very nice car. Past Galants have felt just a notch or two below the Accord and Camry duo. The new Galant felt every bit their equal. The power train was very smooth and powerful. The suspension was supple and well controlled. There's nothing earth-shaking in the suspension design - the front is a MacPherson strut, the rear is a multi-link, fully independent design. The goodness is in the details.

Some rather pedestrian suspensions work extremely well because engineers now sweat the details. Most of the extraneous movements we used to suffer - stutters, shakes, shimmies, and vibrations - now are but memories. Of course this does lead to a problem, when a stray vibration does show up, it seems so out of place that we think there must be a major problem. There were no such stray vibrations in the Galant.

Connecting the suspension to the road are 215/60R16 tires mounted on handsome alloy wheels (steel wheels with wheel covers are standard for all except the GTS). Can you believe that 16" wheels are now standard on family sedans? Think about it - when I was born, 15" wheels were the norm. Then in the mid-50s, 14" wheels were a breakthrough. When the compact boom broke in the early '60s, 13" wheels became common. Then sometime in the '70s, wheel sizes started going up again.

OK, now let's take a look at the exterior. I don't think it will be too likely that a Galant will get lost in a crowd. I am not a design expert I just know what I like. I like cars that are easily distinguished yet they should not draw undo attention to themselves. I also like cars that will age gracefully.

Inside, the Galant's dash is well laid out. The center stack, the center of the dash where the sound system, climate control, and navigation system if equipped, is well laid out. The gauges are neatly housed in a pod in front of the driver - three almost round gauges with the center speedo overlapping the two slightly smaller ones (tach on the left, fuel level, coolant temp, and the transmission gear indicator on the right).

The front seats were comfy, even on the long haul. The rear seats were roomy. I did not sit back there for too long (it is kind of hard to drive when I'm in the back seat) but I was impressed with the legroom.

The '04 Galant LS is a well-equipped family sedan. There's ABS with 4-wheel disc brakes, a/c, cruise control, AM/FM/CD sound system with 6 speakers, remote keyless entry, power locks/windows, 2-speed variable intermittent wipers, rear seat heater ducts, and auto-off headlights. The options were a sunroof package, and the Diamond Package that includes allow wheels, integrated blue LED illuminated titanium audio control panel, Mitsubishi/Infinity AM/FM/w-6 CD Changer with 8 speakers, steering wheel audio controls, leather wrapped steering wheel, titanium interior door handle, front door reflectors, and a panic alarm.

The base price for the '04 Galant LS is $20,997. The options add $2,062. Add in destination and handling and the Galant LS I drove goes for $23,654, a pretty decent price for such a nice car. Maybe this time Mitsubishi will get the respect the '04 Galant is due. By Bruce Hotchkiss AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  Mitsubishi deserves respect for the Galant
Topic:  The 2004 Mitsubishi Galant LS
Word Count:   943
Photo Caption:  The 2004 Mitsubishi Galant
Photo Credits:  Mitsubishi Internet Media
Series #:   2004 - 14

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2004 Mitsubishi Galant

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