1989 Mitsubishi Galant

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By 

chicagotribune.com
Lee Iacocca, Chairman

Chrysler Corp.

Highland Park, Mich.

Dear Lee:

Trust the latest book is selling well. Hope the drought didn`t spread to Italy and spoil this year`s grape and olive crop at your vineyard. Saw you on the tube the other night. Looks like you shed a pound or two. Hair looked a bit darker than usual, too.

Sat in front of the tube for hours waiting for someone to nominate you at the convention. Their loss. Better luck in `92.

Oh, by the way, ever give thought to having Mitsubishi design your cars and ship your stylists and engineers to Modena where they can pick grapes and olives?

Have a pleasant day, and say hi to the girls.

Chrysler and Mitsubishi have been partners for years. The venture has given Chrysler tiny, cramped little Colts that drove like trucks. Then there were sports models like the Starion that were styling sensations and performance mediocrities.

Mitsubishi anteed up some 2.6-liter, 4-cylinder engines that proved as temperamental as . . . well, they had a mind of their own. Next it was a 3- liter V-6. The jury is still out on that.

Soon the partnership will start producing the subcompact Chrysler Laser and Mitsubishi Eclipse, a pair of sports models that if nothing else will justify a trip to Bloomington-Normal and a visit to Alexander`s Steak House.

Overlooked is a Mitsubishi car called Galant, introduced in its 1989 garb in April. It`s a styling gem. Looks a lot like a Sable. A 4-door sedan with clean lines, protective grooved plastic lower body shields, a slim but attractive spoiler on the deck lid.

You look at Galant and then at the numerous Chrysler orphans that owe their heritage to the Chrysler K-body and you wonder why Iacocca fools with Colts and 2.6s. Why not lock Mitsubishi stylists in a studio and have them come up with something other than a shorter or longer or taller or more expensive Dodge Aries?

We test-drove a Galant GS, which is built on a 102.4-inch wheelbase and is 183.9 inches long overall. Though about the size of a Chevy Celebrity, it feels like it has the interior room of a Continental. Rides and handles like a Continental, too.

Power is supplied by a quiet but very responsive 2-liter, 16-valve, double-overhead cam, 4-cylinder engine that develops 135 horsepower compared with 102 h.p. in the regular 8-valve version.

Mitsubishi considers the GS a sports version of its regular Galant and so offers only a 5-speed manual transmission. It`s now busy trying to get automatic offered because manual doesn`t fit the character of a luxury car. With automatic Galant will give Cressida and Maxima a run for the money.

It used to be that Mercedes had a lock on ingenuity, coming up with such things as headlamp washers and wipers that used perfumed water or seat belts that reached out at the end of a robot arm to hand to the driver and passenger.

Galant offers some of the finer things in life, too, such as an active suspension system that automatically adjusts not only firmness or softness but also height. Park too close to a curb so the door will slam the concrete upon exiting? Touch the suspension button and the car raises itself so the door will open.

Tired after driving all day and the green lights on the instrument panel bother you? Touch the button and the lights change to orange.

Want to go skiing but not want to toss a rack on the roof? Open the trunk, flip down the center arm rest in the back seat, and the skiis slide in. By the way, if you drive to Colorado to ski where tire chains are sometimes mandatory, push the suspension button twice and the rear end rises enough to add the chains.

Go for a cup of coffee on the way to work but don`t trust those minuscule holders in the botton of the glove box lid? Open the center console stowage bin and pull out the dual cup holders.

Then there`s wipers that automatically move faster as vehicle speed increases, a console button to push when you want more or less power steering effort and plastic mud flaps behind the wheel wells to keep grime and stones from kicking up on the body.

Galant starts at $10,971 for the base model, $13,579 for the LS, and $15,269 for the preferred GS. Antilock brakes are a $1,495 option and are recommended. Air runs $790, a power sunroof $685.




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