Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Mitsubishi Galant Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Mitsubishi Galant Overview

Body
Spiffing Up the Family Sedan

Mitsubishi has always been known for their cutting-edge engineering and sporty, fun-to-drive cars. The company has thrilled automotive enthusiasts with such cars as the all-wheel-drive Eclipse Turbo, the 3000 GT and the recently released Lancer Evolution. This year, it's the Galant sedan that gets a whole new image, with a racy attitude, a modern interior and a lineup designed to satisfy just about every budget.

Our test car—a Galant LS V6—arrived on a sunny Monday morning, its silver metallic paint shining smartly. We all agreed that compared to the previous Galant, this generation clearly has the power to get noticed quickly. Though it plays in the same league as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the powerful front nose, sloping fastback rear window and short deck lid all say Altima hunter to us. Indeed the sporty Galant seems to be aimed directly at buyers who require four doors, but who also have a need for a bit more personality than is offered by most sedans.

With the Galant, it's the little touches that culminate to give the car its strong presence. Take the side mirrors, for example. Instead of using the conventional flag type mirror, the Galant employs a more traditional sport mirror attached to the door by a slim plastic arm. The front headlamps and turn signals that are sealed in huge tinted plastic casings are integrated to fit flush with the front fender, hood and grille. On our test vehicle, the Diamond package added handsome 16-inch multi-spoke wheels that looked both sporty and luxurious, exactly the look the LS was meant to engender.

The Galant's good looks are backed up by a powerful 3.8-liter V6 engine. With 230 horsepower underfoot, it's easy to find yourself racing away from stoplights long before the cars around you even begin to move. The Galant's quick throttle response is easily regulated and the four-speed automatic (with Sportronic manual shifting) reacts instantly to inputs from your right foot, with no delay or lag. One drawback here is the lack of a fifth gear, a common feature among many of the Galant's competitors. While most people won't notice the difference in performance, the absence of an overdrive gear results in less than stellar EPA fuel ratings: 19 city and 27 highway.

The Galant's robust V6 is a bit loud at idle, but has a nice throaty growl when you punch it. There is so much power channeled to the car's front wheels that torque steer can become a problem, especially if you have the wheel already turned, as when jockeying for position to jump into traffic. Punch the accelerator in this situation and you may find yourself doing some quick wheel corrections in order to bring the car back inline. Once under way, you'll discover the speed-sensitive hydraulic power steering delivers accurate feed back in every day maneuvers, but feels a bit slow to respond during hard driving. We suspect the culprit here is the tall sidewalls on the LS' 16 inch tires; the top-of-the-line GTZ, with its low-profile 17-inch performance rubber, should provide much more precise handling.

The Galant shares much of its chassis with the new Endeavor crossover SUV, giving it an extremely rigid platform that resists flexing; the design also saddles the Galant with a vehicle weight of nearly 3600 pounds and a solid rear bulkhead that eliminates the availability of a folding rear seat. The only way to expand the Galant's trunk space is via a small pass-through behind the center armrest, useful only for such items as skis or golf clubs.

The Galant's interior is a refreshing blend of bold, modern design and soothing blue light. The dash, steering wheel and center console take their cues from the Endeavor, with a protruding center stack covered in silver paint that flows down onto the shift lever surrounding and console. Large rotary knobs control the heating and fan speeds as well as the volume and tuning functions, a much-needed improvement over previous Mitsubishi stereo systems. The optional Infinity sound system, with its eight-speakers and 240-watts of power, sounds terrific and includes a six-disc in-dash CD changer. Though the Infinity package includes steering-wheel-mounted controls, the control switches are located on the backside of the wheel. Without the visual aid of clearly marked functions, you are forced to memorize which button does what.

We found the Galant's seating to be first rate, with excellent support all the way around, including the driver's adjustable lumbar support. Rear seat passengers reported plenty of legroom and a surprising amount of headroom. We say surprising because the trend toward low sweeping rear windows usually cuts deeply into rear seat headroom, especially for those over six-feet tall. This is not the case with the Galant, where the molded headliner is raised to its limit to allow for maximum clearance. The overall interior got good marks for quality and style and we especially like the little touches like the second 12-volt outlet in the center console storage compartment and the LCD view screen that displays temperature, audio functions and time. We did not particularly care for the passenger seat airbag off light, which remains illuminated as long as no one is sitting in the seat.

Over all, the new Galant achieves its goals. It's sporty, comfortable and quick, with enough character to set it apart from the pack.

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