Mitsubishi For 1999
By Carey Russ
The Galant is the major news at Mitsubishi for 1999. Completely revamped and available for the first time with a V6 engine in addition to a four-cylinder powerplant, it promises to be a serious competitor in the mid-size sedan class.
But don't think that Mitsubishi's other cars have been left unchanged. There is a new upscale model of the company's mid-size Montero Sport SUV. The 3000GT and Eclipse sports cars have important enhancements for performance and value. The Diamante luxury sedan lineup has been reshuffled, and the Mirage series of small sedans and coupes has freshened styling.
Before 1999, the Mitsubishi Galant was a sporty but little- known alternative to the popular mid-size family sedans. With only a four-cylinder engine offered, it was at a disadvantage compared to competitors with available V6 powerplants.
This should no longer be a problem. The new Galant was developed with the American car buyer in mind, with engines and suspension tuning unique to this market and an interior designed in Southern California. Slightly larger than previous versions, it features distinctive styling inspired by Mitsubishi's Diamante luxury sedan. For the first time, a 190-hp, 3.0-liter V6 engine is available, complementing the 2.4-liter, 140-hp four-cylinder familiar from previous Galants.
There is a 1999 Galant for every mid-size sedan desire. Seven trim levels are offered this year, up from three previously. Even the value-leader DE model is well-equipped. Four-cylinder and V6 ES and ES Premium versions hold the middle ground, while the V6 LS is the luxury-oriented edition. The GTZ sports sedan has few competitors.
There are six different models of the Montero Sport mid-size sport-utility for 1999. A premium "Limited" model is new, with the 3.5-liter, 200-hp V6 found in the larger Montero, external trim enhancements, and a leather-trimmed interior. All other models have revised standard equipment levels, new color choices, and a new rear bumper this year.
The Eclipse sports car is offered in coupe and convertible styles, with a choice of 141-hp naturally-aspirated or 210-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Non-turbo GS coupes now have an optional sports value package that includes O-Z racing wheels, a hoop-style spoiler, and leather trim. It and selected other models have new black-on-white gauges.
The 3000GT has now outlasted all of its Japanese competitors. It is offered with three versions of a 3.0-liter V6, ranging from 161 horsepower to a twin-turbocharged 320 horsepower. All models have new front and rear styling; the top-of-the-line all-wheel-drive turbo VR-4 has a new spoiler that looks straight off the race track.
Mitsubishi's Australian-built luxury-performance sedan has new rear styling and color choices. Traction control and heated front seats are now available. There is one comprehensively-equipped model this year, replacing the previous two.
The Mirage sedans and coupes may be inexpensive, but they don't lack style or performance. They have new rear styling and minor interior changes this year.
Mitsubishi's full-size luxury SUV is unchanged for 1999.