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New Car/Review

1997 Mitsubishi 3000GT

by Larkin Hill


SEE ALSO: Mitsubushi Buyer's Guide

HOT! The sheer thought of driving the sporty 3000GT made my skin tingle with anticipation and excitement. This honey's spicy, and it's got curves you can't resist. The new 3000GT's have got a body that demands attention. The sleek pearly glacier white color accentuates the smooth lines and subtle curves. This baby is irresistibly yummy.

The 30000GT series has made some changes on the '97 models. All have grown in length a little. The main identifier is the modified front fascia that allows for larger air intake. While there are minor styling changes, the look is similar to the 1996 series. Still sleek, still sexy, still a looker!

The big news for the 3000GT's is the introduction of the lower-priced base coupe. The base coupe has replaced the cancelled Dodge Stealth. The Stealth used a 3.0-liter Mitsubishi V-6 with a single overhead camshaft and a 191 horsepower; the same engine has now been placed in the base 3000GT. The dual-camshaft version used in the base model of '96 now lives in the SL model which has 218 horsepower, a mere four fewer than last year. Confused? Well, it gets better, all of the models have received a price reduction. The base model is now in the highish 20's, as compared to the lower 30's. The SL went from the mid to high 30's to the lower 30's. The VR-4 remains almost the same with only a $880 price reduction. However, if you want either of the spyder convertibles, only available with the SL and VR-4, you must special order them as the 1996 models. Confused now? Well, that's all.

The car we tested was the base model 3000GT. It's flawless! At least as long as you remained outside. The interior was scary, the dash was this squishy dull black dinosaur-skin looking stuff that was built-up a little too much. However, unlike most cars where the interior is usually a themed color, the 3000GT couldn't decide if it wanted black or beige. While the front portion was solid black the side panels on the doors were exclusively beige. The seats matched the door panels, along with the carpeted floor. The carpeted trunk went back to black, so I guess that's the connection, black, beige, black. It ended up growing on me, despite its cheesy-ness, I could get over it. The front bucket seats were comfortable, as long as you were fully bikinis in this baby...too scratchy! Also, make sure you have pants or a very comfortable-slightly-stretchy skirt on because the low-slung styling makes entry and exit a mild hurtle that only practice can remedy. And forget about any more than one passenger, unless they're under 3 feet, or have no legs. A purse, backpack, or briefcase is far more practical to store in the rear seats. However, given that it's a sports car, the lack of rear seating is somewhat expected. The only additional feature we had was the 10 disk CD changer, which we put to the test and, yes, the sound system passed!

The actual driving test proved that this was no turbo. It had a little more power than the average manual car, it looked a lot better, but gaining momentum up hill took a little time. The ride was smooth, not too stiff. The handling was excellent, with the wide wheelbase and the low position, it commanded the curves. It was very easy to drive.

Over all, it was a very nice car. It looked good, it felt good, and it sounded good. I had two very pleasant experiences with the 3000GT that increased its rating significantly. First of all, the gas mileage didn't break me. I was shocked that I could both get power and decent gas mileage. On one tank of gas I could make it to work and back for an entire week, almost an hour each way, over 365 miles! That included some significant city turf, and racy starts. The second perk was the rear spoiler, which was a little awkward at first because it's so large and tall. However, upon driving back from a long day in Tahoe I discovered its magic. Not only does the thing look cool, but it also blocks headlights! I'm not joking, no matter how close the car got behind me I was not blinded. I'm in love!

If you want a cool looking sports car that won't tempt you too much, this is the one for you. No turbo, no luxury interior, no rear legroom, but lots of style for a little price