In the spring of 2002, a new VR-X trim level joined the lineup of Mitsubishis near-luxury sedan, which earned a face-lift for the 2002 model year. With a more aggressive exhaust sound and an engine that delivers 5 horsepower more than the 3.5-liter V-6 in other Diamantes, the VR-X is said to add sporty appeal to the sedan. A sport suspension adds to the VR-X experience.
For 2003, the VR-X edition gets new European sport-style bucket seats, colored-taillight surrounds, sport seat fabric, and aggressive side-skirt air dams and wheel lip molding. A rear spoiler and leather seating surfaces are now available as packaged options. The value-leader ES sedan gets new premium seat fabric, and the luxury LS sedan now includes traction control and heated seats and mirrors.
Even though its handily outsold by other Mitsubishi models, the Diamantes sales grew by 86.9 percent in 2001, as reported by Automotive News. This figure suggests that consumers may be finding a model they appreciate. 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 which is now called the I35.
Mounted on a 107.1-inch wheelbase and measuring 194.1 inches long overall, the Diamante is more than 6 inches longer than Mitsubishis own Galant sedan. In profile and roof styling, the two show a family resemblance, but the Diamante has a larger grille and four enclosed headlights for a unique front-end appearance. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires. Fog lamps are installed on the LS and VR-X versions.
Cloth upholstery is used for the base ES sedan, and the more costly LS gets leather and a standard power sunroof. All Diamantes seat five passengers. Front bucket seats in the ES have manual adjustments, but the LSs buckets are power-adjustable.
Standard ES equipment includes automatic air conditioning, a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, remote keyless entry, and power windows, door locks and mirrors. The LS sedan adds a power sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls, a 210-watt Infinity premium sound system, and power front seats with leather-faced seating surfaces and a memory feature. An engine immobilizer requires the properly coded key to start the car. The sedans trunk holds 14.2 cubic feet of cargo. Few options are available for the Diamante.
Under the Hood
A 205-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is equipped in the ES and LS versions. The V-6 power plant in the VR-X produces 210 hp. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard, and side-impact airbags are not available. Traction control is standard in the LS and VR-X sedans.