First Drive: 2004 Mitsubishi Galant

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    A Solid Alternative

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    By Philip Reed
    Date Posted 10-06-2003

    When our editor arrived in San Francisco for the 2004 Mitsubishi Galant press event, he caught a glimpse of a car passing by that he didn't recognize. "What was that?!" he wondered. It was sleek. It was stylish. And, as it turned out, it was the newly redesigned Galant.

    Buyers considering this latest incarnation in a long line of nine generations of Galants (five in the U.S.) might have a similarly strong first response. It has a bold new look and an aggressive stance that makes it appear much bigger (some, however, have criticized the busy, angular back end). As it flies past it is sure to turn heads. But will it turn shoppers into buyers?

    Later in the same event, our editor asked a Mitsubishi executive what he would say to a neighbor who asked him why they should choose the Galant over the Accord or the Camry. The executive said, "If we can get them to drive the Galant, I think they will choose it over the Honda or the Camry." So it appears that the bold new design will lure shoppers and then the driving characteristics will close the deal. This sounds like a winning sales strategy. How did it play out in reality?

    Before we answer that question, here's a look at what the Galant offers besides a flashy new exterior. In a nutshell, the '04 Galant is bigger on the outside, roomier on the inside and available with a 230-hp V6. Mitsubishi is offering the new Galant in four trim levels — base DE, midlevel ES, luxury-oriented LS and high-line GTS (formerly known as GTZ). The DE has four-wheel disc brakes; air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; a 140-watt stereo with a CD player; and a height-adjustable driver seat. The ES offers as options antilock brakes (with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and side airbags (for front occupants) and a host of styling touches and interior amenities. The LS offers much the same equipment and options as the ES, but the ABS and traction control are now standard. Spring for the loaded GTS and all of the above items are included, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded projector-beam headlights, clear lens taillights, an integrated rear spoiler, a sunroof, white-faced gauges and either metallic mesh or wood grain trim. The only option on the GTS is heated seats and mirrors.

    The DE and ES trim levels come with the 2.4-liter, 16-valve, 160-hp, four-cylinder engine (155 hp in California due to emissions standards). This engine is coupled with a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. We didn't get a chance to drive a Galant with this engine in it. But for the record, it makes 157 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm (in California it makes 155 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm). The fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg around town and an impressive 30 mpg on the open road.

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    The LS and GTS models come with the single-overhead cam, 3.8-liter V6. Output of the V6 is rated at 230 hp at 5,250 rpm and 250 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, which makes the Galant one of the more powerful cars in the family sedan segment. This engine gets 19 mpg around town in the LS (18 in the GTS) and 27 mpg on the highway (26 in the GTS).

    When we got a chance to drive the GTS, we found the V6 had plenty of punch to get it moving off the line but didn't have the boost in the midrange that we expected. Certainly, there was enough passing acceleration for most legal driving maneuvers. However, in the sheer kicks department, the Altima, with 245 hp, was noticeably faster and more responsive.

    The Galant comes with two types of four-speed automatic transmissions. Both have a "learned control" feature that matches the shift points to the driver's style. When we used the Sportronic mode (mated to the V6 in the LS and GTS), the car seemed to come alive and was a whole lot more fun to drive. Again, though, for normal driving, the automatic will get the job done more adequately.

    Mitsubishi executives proudly claimed that the 2004 Galant is 2.4 times more rigid and stronger than the previous generation. This is achieved by using an all-steel frame that features many reinforcement points and support members that develop a stiff unibody design less prone to bending and twisting. What does all this translate to in the real world?

    On the open road the Galant is noticeably more solid and tighter than other cars in this class. It doesn't seem to flex or twist at all. This gives the driver a very pleasing feeling of security and confidence. Additionally, the car seems level and composed through tight corners. Once the transmission is moved to Sportronic, the engine and suspension seem to be well matched and the potential of the car is realized. While it's not blazingly fast, or retina-detachingly quick off the line, it makes up ground in the way it rides and handles.

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    The interior offers a clean, contemporary look with imitation wood grain panels running under the dash. Probably the coolest bright blue backlighting yet seen in any car is used for the instrumentation and center stack controls. There is a hit-or-miss quality to the interior materials. The soft leather upholstery was pleasing to the touch, and the plastic used on the console and the lower dash was acceptable in quality for a car in this price range. The pebble-grain material on the top of the dash and door panels, and the hard plastics used on the steering wheel and door release handles felt cheap. On the plus side, build quality was tight.

    The driver seat was roomy and comfortable with ample range of adjustment. The large center stack controls were within easy reach from the driver seat, and the three-dial automatic climate control setup in particular was very easy to use. But the display screen, listing such information as temperature and CD track, was uncomfortably small. Some of the graphics were neat (such as the directional compass) while others were a little odd.

    The '04 Galant is much improved in rear-seat legroom. The legroom is increased by seven-tenths of an inch while shoulder room is up almost 3 inches. It doesn't sound like much, but the reality is that this is a sedan that can comfortably transport a pair of adults in the backseat. It's still not quite as roomy as the Camry's backseat, but it's comparable to what the Accord and Altima offer.

    Surprisingly, the trunk has less capacity than that of the previous-generation Galant — 13.3 cubic feet versus 14.6 — and is now the smallest of any midsize family sedan on the market. This was unexpected because the first impression is that the trunk is huge. The opening is especially wide making the loading of certain items (think golf clubs) easier. There is a small pass-through window between the trunk and the backseats but the rear seats do not fold down.

    Pricing on the new Galant is expected to start at $18,000 for the base DE. The ES will start at $19,000 and the LS will cost $21,000. The upscale GTS will have a price tag of $26,000. All these prices are without the destination charge. This means that the LS, at $21,000, will compete against, for example, the Honda Accord LX V6 with a sticker price of $23,760. While the Accord offers a few more standard features (a five-speed automatic transmission, folding rear seats and a more powerful 240-hp V6), the Galant costs some $2,000 less.

    The 2004 Galant seems significantly improved over the previous generation. We just wish Mitsubishi could have seen its way to upgrading some of the interior materials, including all the amenities offered by the giants in this segment. Still, if style and price are important to you, this is definitely worth a good, long look.

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  2. Supertrapped

    Supertrapped President of 2:73

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    Pretty interior. Ugly exterior.
     
  3. MattIROC

    MattIROC has a semi nice av. changed due to rules :(

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    The new Accord V6's are real nice :cool:
     
  4. Section8

    Section8 .

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    Looks like shit capt!
     
  5. Johnny*MacBlayze

    Johnny*MacBlayze wassup? shut up!

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    why is mitsubishi still alive? oh yeah, evo
     
  6. vudoodoodoo

    vudoodoodoo Guest

    WTF! The older style was WAY better.
     
  7. vudoodoodoo

    vudoodoodoo Guest

    The 3rd Gen Eclipse is their #1 selling car. :slap:
     
  8. Chi_Town_GoD

    Chi_Town_GoD Guest

    holy crap, the previous generation was so classy and nice looking, like a jap 5-series, and this one is just fugly.. :rofl:
     
  9. vudoodoodoo

    vudoodoodoo Guest

    :werd:
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Will Galant Put Mitsubishi on Right Track?

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    By Katherine Zachary

    WardsAuto.com, Oct 6 2003

    Life quickly went from beautiful to ugly this year at Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc.

    The auto maker, which was selling tons of its cars and trucks to the much-coveted Generation Y demographic, all of a sudden saw sales plummet, despite a steady stream of new models. What’s more, marketing decisions backfired when its “no payments for a year” offer translated to burdensome repossession costs.

    The replacement of Pierre Gagnon with former Hyundai Motor America executive Finbarr O’Neill in the top North American post was one important move meant to symbolize that the auto maker means business in turning itself around.

    But just as important to Mitsubishi is the all-new ’04 Galant midsize sedan. The new Galant aims to strengthen Mitsubishi’s position in the heart of the market – where consumers are a little older, a little wiser and a lot more financially stable.

    It means, says one executive, Mitsubishi is growing up as a brand. Not that it is completely eschewing its hipster past. Mitsubishi hopes Galant will attract consumers who want a less conservative, more progressive alternative to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord – and apparently don’t like the Nissan Altima.

    The comparisons begin with the exterior design. The swooping roofline with strongly arching C-pillar clearly is derivative of the Altima/VW Passat archetype. Galant also shares a “high-style” message, with a high, bold beltline and athletic stance.

    While it is the fifth-generation Galant to make it to the U.S., officials say it is the first designed specifically for the U.S. market. The sedan, which rides on Mitsubishi’s Project America platform shared with the Endeavor cross/utility vehicle, has grown in all directions, with a length of 190.6 ins. (484 cm) and a wheelbase of 108.3 ins. (275 cm).

    Besides sporting the widest track in the segment, it also has the longest interior cabin, making for plenty of leg- and cargo-room. Passengers can feel the difference, especially in the distance between the two front seats.

    The interior shares many components with the Endeavor, including the high-tech, metallic-finish dash panel. The steering wheel, which one Ward’s editor called “the world’s best,” when testing the Endeavor, still is a marvel, but feels oversized in this midsize sedan.

    Officials say Mitsubishi targeted an upscale feel with interior materials, adding: “Once you get into the vehicle, you’ll see a huge difference in the interior between our vehicle and the Altima.”

    Other benefits: big, comfortable seats and an array of storage compartments.

    Galant sports two improved engines, both of which got their start in CUVs. The 4-cyl. is a more lightweight 2.4L MIVEC engine that originally bowed in the Outlander. The engine, which incorporates variable valve timing, sports numbers comparable with Camry’s – producing 160 hp, 20 hp more than the last 2.4L 4-cyl., and 157 lb.-ft. (213 Nm) of torque.

    Its 6-cyl. engine, at 3.8L, is the biggest in its class. Designated the 6G75, it first powered the Endeavor and is an evolution of the 3.5L in the Diamante. Its stats are impressive: 230 hp at 5,250 rpm, 250 lb.-ft. (339 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm. It produces more torque than Camry, Accord and even the Altima’s powerful 3.5L V-6.

    Each engine is mated to a different version of a 4-speed automatic transmission.

    Mitsubishi says the vehicle sports 100% more torsional rigidity and 140% more bending rigidity than the previous car. The chassis and suspension make for a ride that’s competent but can’t hold a candle to Camry smoothness or Accord performance.

    The auto maker aims to price each of the four trim levels to sell. The DE, the base-level 4-cyl., will carry a price of about $18,000, while the higher-trim-level 4-cyl., the ES, will base at $19,000. The LS, the lower of the two V-6s, bases at $21,000 while the V-6 GTS starts at $26,000.

    In dealers by the end of October, Mitsubishi projects sales of about 100,000 units annually. Mitsubishi knows Galant is a make-or-break vehicle. Whether it’ll set the auto maker back on course remains to be seen.
     
  11. Gundam

    Gundam Tell Drama he's on my to do list, right after inse

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    Have you seen the inside of one? Jesus H Christ can you say cheap and shitty? At least now they at least made the interior presentable. Too bad they totally ass-raped the exterior.
     
  12. TQ

    TQ OT Supporter

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    that steering wheel is :greddy:


    and WTF is with the Tooth in the front grille???? fuckin' nissan is rubbin' off on everybody :ugh:
     
  13. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    The interior on the loaded Diamante LS's look nice.... but no, not the previous Galant. I guess one would really have to drive it and go out on the highway to see if it can even touch the 2nd rate sedans like Altima et. al, let alone first rate sedans like the Accord and Camry.
     
  14. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

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    Mitsu long had the tooth in the front grille long before Nissan placed them on the Altima and the Maxima...in Japan anyways....
     
  15. Ruination

    Ruination New Member

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  16. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    the new malibu looks like shit
     
  17. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It's unique... looking. :hs:
     
  18. RenaultFreak

    RenaultFreak OMG

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    :werd: that new front end is FUGLY.
     
  19. RenaultFreak

    RenaultFreak OMG

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    old one was 100 times better
     
  20. mucky

    mucky .

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    So is the Aztek. :rofl:
     
  21. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

    Wow... I was liking the car until I saw the front. :barf:
     
  22. iZero

    iZero Guest

    It looks better than a Malibu. :cool:
     
  23. iZero

    iZero Guest

    The only way I'd consider that over an Altima is if it had VR-4 at the end of its name. Between the Monetro, Montero Sport, Endeavor, Outlander, Diamante, and this newest Galant, Mitsubishi is sure filling its lineup with cars no one considers much less buys.
     
  24. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    It wasn't a compliment. :big grin:
     
  25. HisXLNC

    HisXLNC ๑۩۞۩๑ Hot ๑۩۞۩๑

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