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By Jim Flammang
April 15, 2002
Vehicle Overview Modest restyling for the 2002 model year gives Mitsubishis slow-selling near-luxury sedan a fresh grille and hood, a new trunk lid and redesigned taillights. New 16-inch alloy wheels go on both the ES and upscale LS versions, and electronic brake-force distribution is another new feature for 2002.
Although most Mitsubishi vehicles are manufactured in either Japan or Illinois, the Diamante hails from Australia. The front-drive sedan uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a four-speed-automatic transmission. The Diamante debuted in its current form in the 1997 model year as a lower-priced alternative to other models such as the Lexus ES 300 and Infiniti I30 (now called the I35). Only 9,219 Diamantes were sold during 2000, down from 9,921 units in the previous year.
Exterior On a 107.1-inch wheelbase and measuring 194.1 inches long overall, the Diamante is 6 inches longer than Mitsubishis own compact Galant sedan. In profile and roof styling, the two show a family resemblance, but the Diamante has a bigger grille and four enclosed headlights for a unique front-end appearance. Fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels are installed on the LS sedan, while the ES rolls on 15-inch rubber.
Interior Cloth upholstery is used for the base ES sedan, while the more costly LS gets leather and a standard power sunroof. The Diamante seats five passengers. Front bucket seats on the ES have manual adjustments, but the LS buckets are power-adjustable. Standard ES equipment includes air conditioning, a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, keyless entry, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The LS sedan adds a power sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls, a 210-watt premium sound system and power front seats with leather-faced seating surfaces. An engine immobilizer requires the properly coded key to start the car.
Under the Hood A 205-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission are available on both versions of the Diamante.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard. Traction control is optional and is available in the All-Weather Package that also includes heated mirrors and front seats.