In the automotive industry, midsize sedans are in one of the most hotly contested markets. Having to go up against cars like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Chevrolet Malibu, competing manufacturers are forced to find a way to keep their cars relevant in a lopsided battle for top sales. Mitsubishi apparently decided to focus on more function than form when it came to its mid-size entry.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant is not going to win any speed awards or be a tech junkie's dream come true, but Mitsubishi made sure its largest sedan offered top levels of comfort and efficiency wrapped in a simple, yet attractive design. Despite the last major redesign coming over five years ago, the Galant has survived this long thanks to a few minor design updates, and more of the same is in store for the Galant for the 2009 model year.
The most noticeable difference on the 2009 Galant's exterior is the rear end. New taillight, decklid and fascia treatments transform the posterior of the Galant from ho-hum to quite attractive. While some will point out that the lights mimic the Hyundai Sonata (which in turn mimics the Lexus IS), the look definitely fits the Mitsubishi Galant and adds more character than the previous square taillight treatment. Up front, a modestly updated hood and fascia now provide a larger grille opening with thick chrome trim and lower faux air inlets that house the fog lamps. The blacked-out headlamps, optional 17-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels and dark, Maizen Blue monochromatic paint scheme exuded a surprisingly athletic stance for the Galant.
Inside is where the 2009 Galant truly excels. In addition to the upgraded sport fabric seats (featuring heated front seats), The black, marble-esque dash inserts were prone to smudging but did not detract from the clean interior. From the driver's seat, three large gauges are easy to read, while the center stack flowed smoothly from the soft, rubbery upper instrument panel covering. The bright silver lower center stack that housed all radio and HVAC controls helped to break up the span of darkness that was the Galant's interior. On lengthy road trips, the seats and center armrest provided exceptional levels of comfort.
The one major complaint about the interior is the lack of a folding rear seat. The Galant's trunk offers a relatively small capacity (13.3 cubic feet) in its class and if longer items are required, all that is available is a small pass-through behind the rear bench seat armrest.
On the road, the Galant handles about as well as should be expected from an almost-base model. While more powerful V-6 options exist for the Galant, the Sport Edition model we tested came equipped with Mitsubishi's 160-horsepower 2.4-liter MIVEC four cylinder. Another major downside of the 2009 Galant is the lack of a manual transmission option. Powering the front wheels on the ES and Sport Edition is a four-speed automatic, while the Sport V6 and Ralliart models get an extra gear - both transmissions feature a manual shift mode.
The redesigned 2009 model has yet to be tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but both gave the 2008 model top marks in both front- and side-impact protection. Standard safety features include advanced dual airbags, seat-mounted front side airbags, roof-mounted side-curtain airbags and daytime running lamps.
For 2009, the Mitsubishi Galant comes with a base MSRP of $21,099. The model we tested came with the optional ($1,400) Sport Value Package and an as-tested price of $23,124. Making the deal even sweeter on the latest Galant are the standard five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.