New Car/Review

1999 MITSUBISHI GALANT ES V6

By Tom Hagin

Mitsubishi Full Line factory footage (11:59) 28.8, 56k, or 200k
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 19,990
Price As Tested                                    $ 23,002
Engine Type               SOHC 24-valve 3.0 liter V6 w/MFI*
Engine Size                                 181 cid/2972 cc
Horsepower                                   190 @ 5500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               205 @ 4000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  103.7"/68.5"/187.8"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3178 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  16.3 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                                      205/55R16
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                                 59 percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.29

PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
   city/highway/average                            20/27/23
0-60 MPH                                        8.5 seconds
1/4 Mile (E.T.)                         17 seconds @ 84 mph
Top speed                                           125 mph
     * Multi-point fuel injection

If the new Mitsubishi Galant is "...the most important new product launch that we've ever had in the United States," according to the company's chief operating officer, then it has tough work ahead. It must compete in arguably the toughest automotive market segment in America: the mid-sized family sedan.

If it is successful, however, the payoff is big, because the mid-sized segment represents nearly one million vehicles sold annually. So even a small portion of that business, say 100,000 units, would suit Mitsubishi just fine. The Galant comes in Base DE, top-line LS, sporty GTZ trim, or as the value-packed ES, the focus of this week's test.

OUTSIDE - The new Galant was styled in California at Mitsubishi Research and Development, and is built in Normal, Illinois, alongside the company's Eclipse sports coupe. While it rides on the same 103.7-inch wheelbase, its length is a bit longer, wider and taller than the model it replaced. The outer structure now uses two side panels instead of six separate pieces, and is 32 percent stronger torsionally and seven percent more resistant to bending. Its crisp, angular lines look muscular and unique from others in its class, and contributes to a low 0.29 coefficient of drag. This works to its advantage against the masses of look-alike mid-sizers, many of which are difficult to tell apart in a parking lot. Uplevel ES and LS models are the two Galant models that wear a chrome grille, while aluminum wheels are optional.

INSIDE - Inside Galant is almost two cubic feet more space than before, with more of the ever-important hip, shoulder and leg room. The interior is typical of its class, with a single instrument pod filled with analog instruments. Center-set is the ventilation and radio controls, and below them is a center console with a top that flips up to provide a pair of cupholders for the rear passengers. All Galant models come standard with such items as air conditioning, power windows and door locks, AM/FM cassette stereo, and variable intermittent wipers. ES versions add cruise control, keyless entry, fog lamps, lighted vanity mirrors and uplevel cloth upholstery. A Premium Package on our tester also added a power glass sunroof, HomeLink and vehicle anti-theft systems, and side-impact airbags.

ON THE ROAD - The base engine for Galant is a 2.4 liter single overhead cam four cylinder engine that produces 140 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. A new intake manifold added to last year's engine has produced a small horsepower and torque gain, which comes across a nice, wide power band. Our test vehicle featured a 3.0 liter V6 with 190 horsepower and 209 lb-ft of torque. This is the first-ever V6 offered under the Galant hood. It is smooth and powerful, and finally puts it on par with other V6-powered vehicles in its class. A five-speed manual transmission will be available later in the model year, but only with four cylinder versions. For now, all Galants come with a smooth four-speed automatic, which will always be the sole gearbox for V6 Galants.

ON THE ROAD - Underneath Galant is a new U.S.-specific suspension system that Mitsubishi tailored to suit American roads. MacPherson strut front suspension resides where previous generation's control-arm layout used to be. This change, the company says, improves straight-line stability, lowers weight and reduces road noise. Its independent rear suspension carries over from before, but it's been strengthened and improved. Handling is more than adequate for its class, with modest amounts of understeer and a smooth, predictable ride. Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard, with the steering ration on V6 models like our ES tester being slightly quicker. In addition, four-cylinder models get front disc and rear drum brakes, while V6 versions receive discs all the way around. Anti-lock brakes are standard on V6 models as well and optional on four cylinder Galants.

SAFETY - Dual airbags, side impact beams and ABS are standard, while side impact airbags are optional.

OPTIONS - Premium Pkg: $2000; CD player: $399. Destination: $435.

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