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What’s New – For 2009, the Mitsubishi Galant gets new front and rear styling, a new arrangement of features and models, and a host of minor upgrades to help it keep pace in the competitive family sedan market.
What We Think – The styling improvements made to the Mitsubishi Galant for 2009 are definitely worthwhile, but we wish more attention had been paid to refinement. The Ralliart edition delivers a nice dose of fun, and the Galant certainly is loaded with personality, but like a guy who laughs too loud and too often, it quickly gets annoying.
Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart – 2009 Review: The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant is a case study in why there is so much more to a vehicle than a spec sheet. Glance at it, and you’ll find little that’s disagreeable with this car: It has good power, has most of the options you’d want in a midsize family sedan, and even comes in a Ralliart edition that delivers more power and a firm, sport-tuned suspension.
So why don’t you see Mitsubishi’s big four-door sitting at the top of the sales charts? Because the devil’s in the details. The interior is loud, the materials largely feel cheap, and the entire vehicle feels unrefined. Sure, the Ralliart is fun to drive, but when you’re commuting to work, the problems inherent in every Galant glare, such as the lack of storage space and the dated center stack design. As enthusiasts, we dig the performance of the Ralliart we drove, but once you get past its one trick, this pony has little else to offer. The non-Ralliart Galants don’t even have that, so unless you’re smitten by this Mitsubishi’s looks or have a sociopathic aversion to seeing yourself coming and going in a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, your dollars are probably better spent elsewhere.
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Models and Pricing
The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant comes in four different trim levels which are different from last year’s arrangement. At the bottom of the pile is the four-cylinder-powered ES, and at the top is the Ralliart that we drove. In between are two other models: Galant Sport – which comes with the four-cylinder – and Sport V-6; you’ll never guess what’s under the hood of that one. The Ralliart comes with its own version of that V-6 with an additional 28 horsepower. All transmissions are automatics, with a four-speed in the four-cylinders and a five-speed in the V-6 models; both transmissions come with a manual shift mode that Mitsubishi calls Sportronic.
Even on the $21,774 ES model (all prices include a $675 destination charge), most of the features you want are standard: air conditioning, power accessories, a decent audio system, anti-lock brakes, and front-side and side-curtain airbags. Step up to the $23,174 Sport and you get bigger wheels and tires, a standard rear spoiler, a moonroof, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls, and heated eight-way power front seats. Sport V-6 models boast the same equipment, but with a V-6 engine that brings the base price to $25,174. The $27,974 Ralliart adds a more powerful V-6 engine, two-tone perforated and heated power leather seats, special badges, an upgraded audio system, and 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels.
The Sun Sound and Leather option package bundles things like an upgraded audio system, leather seating surfaces, a moonroof, bigger wheels and tires and an alarm system onto the ES model for $2,550. A standalone leather seating package is available on ES and both Sport models for $1,399, while the sole option package for the Ralliart is the $1,500 navigation package. With the nav system, our Galant Ralliart rang up a $29,474 price tag.
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Under the Hood
Horsepower numbers for the four-cylinder engine that’s standard on the ES and Sport models come on the bottom end of the spectrum: 160 horses and 155 lb.-ft. of torque from its 2.4 liters of displacement. That’s better than the Toyota Camry’s 158 horses, but below just about everyone else’s. The four-speed automatic it’s connected to is also behind the times, as almost every other competitor has a five-speed standard, or at least optional.
Things aren’t much better on the Sport V-6’s engine. With 3.8 liters of displacement, we expect more than 230 horsepower, a number bettered by nearly every other car in its class. Things look up if you opt for the Ralliart, which gets a higher-compression version with variable-valve timing putting out 258 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Both V-6 engines are mated to five-speed automatics, just when the rest of the industry is switching to six-speeds. All of the transmissions – four-speed and five – come with Mitsubishi’s do-it-yourself mode called Sportronic, which is activated by slapping the shift lever forward and back in a special gate.
The suspension layouts on all four versions of the Galant are the same: independent front and rear and a front stabilizer bar, with the Ralliart getting stiffer settings and a rear stabilizer bar. The steering on the Ralliart is also quicker, a difference you can feel on the road, and it benefits from a body-stiffening brace between the front shock towers. Brakes for the Ralliart are the same size as the Sport V-6, but it includes vented rear discs, which combined with the larger wheels and tires, helps enhance braking performance. ES and Sport models use smaller, non-ventilated discs on all corners.
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