New Car/Review

1997 MITSUBISHI GALANT ES

by Matt/Bob Hagin

Mitsubishi

SEE ALSO: Mitsubushi Buyer's Guide

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 18,115
Price As Tested                                    $ 21,287
Engine Type                             2.4 Liter I4 w/MFI*
Engine Size                               143.4 cid/2351 cc
Horsepower                                   138 @ 5500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               148 @ 3000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  103.7"/68.1"/187.6"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     2987 Pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  16.9 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                      195/60R15
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                                 45 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.29

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            22/28/24
0-60 MPH                                        9.3 seconds
1/4 Mile (E.T.)                       17 seconds @ 80.4 mph
Top-speed                                           125 mph
     * Multi-point fuel injection

(Mitsubishi has been in the American market for a long time now but those early version were sold as Dodge Colts. Mitsubishi now markets its own products through an extensive network of dealers and offers a great number of cars from entry level econoboxes to upscale luxury sedans to out-and-out sports cars. This week, the Hagins try out the Galant, a family sedan designed for American families.)

BOB - Maybe its a good thing that those first Mitsubishi carried the Dodge name, Matt. The little 1.6 liter engine was really fragile and when they blew, they were almost unfixable. I guess that once the company got things straightened out, it decided to put sell its products on its own.

MATT - This Galant is a perfect example of good, solid corporate planning, Dad. It's a family car with no excuses. The car comes equipped with safety items such as side impact beams, dual airbags and three point seat belts, and even the base model has a rear defogger and a tilt steering column. It could use a built-in infant seat, though. When I carried little Sophie in it, I had to wrestle her car seat out of our "driver" and into the back seat of the Galant. It was a hassle.

BOB - Maybe next year, Matt. But our ES has lots of other extras like power windows, door locks and mirrors, plus cruise control, floor mats and intermittent wipers. Mitsubishi also throws in an AM/FM cassette stereo at no extra charge. There's a fair among of room inside although your "little" brother Brendan had a problem with the back seat.

MATT - The Galant is classified as a mid-sized sedan, which means there's plenty of room for stretching. But as Brendan found out, it's for those up front. In the back the car has only average roominess. The driver's seat can be adjusted for both height and angle, and the front seat belts can be adjusted to fit almost anyone.

MATT - The Galant is powered by a 2.4 liter, 16-valve four cylinder engine which puts out 138 horsepower. In our test car it's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with Mitsubishi's "fuzzy logic" computer. This brain controls the transmission's gear changes, and it downshifts when going downhill, so you don't "coast" past the posted speed limit. It's a great idea, and other makers have picked up idea, but it's sometimes a surprise when it drops down a gear on slight downgrades.

MATT - Mitsubishi has always been a high-tech outfit, Dad. The four-banger in our ES uses Mitsubishi's twin counter-rotating stabilizers shaft system which offsets vibrations inherent in four cylinder engines. They really work, too. I could hardly feel the thing running. For several years now Mitsubishi has hinted at installing a V6 in the Galant but it's never come about and I really don't think it needs one. The four-banger is plenty smooth and the economy is pretty good, too. The top-line LS comes with four-wheel disc brakes, but I'd like to see them available on the ES, too.

BOB - A couple of years ago the Galant GS sported a fantastic twin-cam four cylinder engine. It developed a healthy 160 horses and 160 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox that was quite a car. This year the top-line model is more subdued although anti-lock brakes (ABS) are available in the ES and LS, but not the base car. Our car's ABS worked well, stopping from 60 MPH in 142 feet on dry pavement.

MATT - What makes the Galant so sensible is what makes all sedans sensible: they combine utility with a pleasant. The Galant has the ability to haul people to the airport and then fold-down the rear seats to transport skis or even lumber for a family fence job.

BOB - The Galant has independent suspension front and rear using double wishbones at both ends. Our ES model went though high-speed turns OK but I would have preferred hitting them in a Mitsubishi sports car.

MATT - Dad, aren't you a little old to be tossing cars around like that?

BOB - Matt, have you forgotten that I used a Galant when I got checked out by the pro instructor at Sears Point Raceway on media day?

Complete specifications on the 1997 Mitsubishi Galant 4dr ES Auto and other vehicles are available at the New Car Buyers Guide!

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