Mitsubishi For 1997
By Carey Russ
There are plenty of new cars at Mitsubishi this year. At the top of the line is a new Diamante luxury-performance sedan. At the entry- level end are new Mirage coupes and sedans. In between , the mid- sized Galant sedan and Eclipse sports car have been refined and restyled. New engines can be found in the 3000GT sports car and the Montero sport-utility. A smaller sport-utility called the Montero Sport will debut later in the model year.
The Montero has moved upscale over the years, leaving Mitsubishi without an entry in the moderately-priced compact sport- utility field. Enter the Montero Sport. Although it shares only the name with its larger sibling, the Montero Sport is just as rugged. It is slightly smaller, a bit shorter, and designed to be at home in city traffic or the back of beyond.
Three trim levels of Montero Sport are offered. The ES has a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission, and rear- wheel drive. LS models have the 3.0-liter V6 previously used in the full-sized Montero LS, with available 4-speed automatic transmission and shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive. The top-level XLS has the V6 engine, automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive, and many other comfort and convenience features.
The completely-redesigned Diamante is meant to compete directly with all of the Japanese mid-sized luxury and sports sedans. Two levels, ES and LS, will be offered. Both are powered by a 210- horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, and use a sophisticated electronically- controlled 4-speed automatic transmission that can ,"learn" the driver's driving style.
The 5-passenger 1997 Diamante has a lighter, more rigid chassis structure and fully independent suspension for improved ride and handling. A full range of luxury and safety features includes a shoulder strap for the central rear-seat passenger.
No part of Mitsubishi's smallest car escaped scrutiny by the company's engineers when the time came to redesign the Mirage. The result of this policy of "total advancement" is a new line of sedans and coupes in two trim levels. They are larger and more spacious than the cars they replace. Base DE models have a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and uplevel LS models have a 1.8-liter engine. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard. The optional 4-speed electronically- controlled automatic features adaptive logic control, rare in the small car segment.
The Galant, built in Normal, Illinois, is Mitsubishi's entry in the midsized family sedan class. It has received a minor facelift outside, and interior and mechanical enhancements. Three trim levels are available.
Mitsubishi's hot little sports car has gotten freshened styling outside and a revised interior. The coupe was joined by a convertible version midway through 1996. There is an Eclipse coupe or convertible for every sports car budget. Coupes are offered in 4 levels, from the sporty-but-economical RS to the ferocious turbocharged, all- wheel drive GSX. Front-wheel drive convertibles are available in normally-aspirated and turbocharged form.
The survivor of the premium Japanese sports cars has been refined and updated for 1997. A new, high-value base model has been added to the line for broader appeal.
The luxury sport-utility Montero may look the same this year, but under the hood are more horses, courtesy of a new 3.5-liter V6 engine. Power is transmitted to the ground through the sophisticated "Active Trac" four-wheel drive system. Two trim levels are offered.