New Car/Review

1998 MITSUBISHI GALANT ES

By Matt/Bob Hagin

mitshubishi

SEE ALSO: Mitsubushi Buyer's Guide


SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 17,640
Price As Tested                                    $ 20,860
Engine Type                            2.4 Liter I4 w/MPFI*
Engine Size                                 144 cid/2351 cc
Horsepower                                   138 @ 5500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               148 @ 3000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  103.7"/68.1"/187.6"
Transmission                              Five-speed manual
Curb Weight                                     2924 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                                 47 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.29

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            23/30/25
0-60 MPH                                       10.5 seconds
1/4 Mile (E.T.)                       19 seconds @ 79.5 mph
Top speed                                           120 mph
     * Sequential multi-point fuel injection

(When Bob Hagin was first exposed to Mitsubishi, its cars were wearing American badges. Matt Hagin remembers them too, but is glad the company has upgraded its market strategy as well as its quality.)

MATT - The first Mitsubishis that I had to work on in my days as a mechanic were Colts and they carried a couple of well-known American logos on their hoods, Dad. They were early '70s mini-cars and in those days small meant cheap and "tinny." They rusted out after a few years and were typical low cost throw-away household appliances. But they were plenty fast for their day and were lots of fun while they lasted.

BOB - Things have changed in the last 25 years, Matt, and the Mitsubishi line has changed too. This new Mitsubishi Galant is in the middle of a very tough mid-sized car slot. But it handles itself well in those stop light drag races and its handling is outstanding considering the fact that Mitsubishi doesn't consider any of its three Galant models sport-sedans. I'm sure that its nimbleness is due to the suspension systems front and rear. They are sophisticated multi-link designs, rather than the MacPherson strut systems that are common on cars in this class. They allow the wheels to maintain more tire "patch" contact with the pavement for better handling, without sacrificing ride control.

MATT - All the Galant models carry a 2.4 liter four cylinder engine that puts out 138 horsepower. Torque is fairly high at 148 pound/feet and it appears at only 3000 RPM, which means that it pulls hardest where most drivers need it - during passing and while merging into highway traffic. It uses a single overhead camshaft and the valves are operated by roller rocker arms and self-adjusting camshaft followers. This item alone reduces maintenance costs a bit. To get away from that typical engine rumble which is typical of big displacement four-bangers, Mitsubishi designed two counter-rotating balance shafts into the engine. It's an engineering feature that the company pioneered a long time ago.

BOB - I was happy to see that a standard transmission is available. This enhances the sporting nature of the car and it lets the driver take full advantage of the engine's mid-range torque. A four-speed automatic is optional on both the basic DE and the mid-trim ES model. With the automatic, the Galant is really transformed into a boulevard cruiser. I would suspect that most of the Galant models on dealer's lots are equipped with the automatic, since most people hate shifting gears all the time.

MATT - I know you're not a leather upholstery fan, Dad, but lots of buyers want all the bells and whistles packed onto their new cars. The optional Premium Package on our test car added 15-inch alloy wheels, 195/60R tires, a power moon roof and a "keyless" entry system with a "panic" button for emergency situations. The package also includes heater ducts for the rear passengers. There's plenty of leg room for three passengers in the back seat, but they'll all have to be on the slender side. The company took a shortcut on the spare tire, however, it's one of those space-savers that you can't use in a five-way tire rotation like how I used to rotate the rubber on my cars.

BOB - It wouldn't make any difference if it was a full-sized spare anyway, Matt, since most auto makers don't mount the spare on a matching wheel anyway. I was surprised that the anti-lock braking system was optional though, and that all Galant models have rear drum brakes. Those slightly larger tires probably add a bit to the fuel mileage. Its EPA highway mileage is listed at 30 MPG and it's supposed to average around 25 MPG under a combination of driving conditions. Air conditioning was standard, as was cruise control, a fold-down rear seat for carrying long stuff and height-adjustable steering. But the one option that I've never gotten around to trying on any car is the Homelink multipurpose device mounted in the sunvisor that can be programed to open our front gate, garage door and turn on lights.

MATT - It wouldn't do you any good anyway, Dad. With all those old car parts and tools that you've got stashed away in your garage, you don't have room for Mom's car, much less a test car that you've borrowed for a week.

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