With its completely revamped Galant, Mitsubishi is trying to do for its midsize sedan what Nissan did with the Altima: make it bigger, more stylish and more American. And, hopefully, more popular.

In just a few years, the new Altima has built a formidable reputation, challenging midsize icons Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for sales and image.

Now, Mitsubishi is wagering that it can do the same for Galant. They're playing catch-up, however. Up to now, the Galant has had little going for it except a moderate price and durability.

For 2004, the interior is roomy and distinctive, and the V-6 engine is more powerful, though somewhat noisy. The styling is edgy, with a crouching stance and a modern, sophisticated look.

The idea for Galant, like Altima, is to create a family sedan that's also sporty looking and fun to drive. Both Accord and Camry labor under images of dull utility, while Altima gets compared with European sports sedans. Mitsubishi wants Galant to carve out some of that territory.

Galant still lacks some of the refinement of the competition but also remains several thousand dollars cheaper.

What it is

Mitsubishi's midsize sedan is reborn with sharper styling and more interior space.


The 230-horsepower V-6 feels lively and competent, with good acceleration and response. The 3.8-liter engine is a strong upgrade over the 195-horsepower 3-liter engine it replaces.

The exhaust note tends toward a sporty growl, which sounds good under acceleration but can get annoying in normal city driving. For a car that vies for a more sophisticated image, the rumble seems harshly out of place.

The base engine is a 2.4-liter four cylinder that puts out 160 horsepower. I didn't sample that, but according to press reports, the power is sluggish and the engine feels rough and agricultural.

The Galant comes only with four-speed automatic transmissions, with the V-6 models adding a sport-shift manual feature. A five-speed stickshift would be nice, as well as adding to the sporty image.


Handling and ride quality are above average, though not nearly in the sport-sedan category. Galant is built on the same rigid chassis as the Endeavor sport utility, and the sedan benefits from the solid underpinnings.

Some drivers and passengers might find Galant's suspension to be too firm, though others will appreciate the road feel and balanced cornering.

Steering is responsive and direct, and the four-wheel disc brakes provide good stopping power. There is some annoying torque steer under acceleration. Antilock brakes cost extra.


Galant looks low and sleek, the wide, aggressive style of the front end picking up on Mitsubishi's family styling cues. The overall effect is wedge-shaped and aerodynamic, but with a distinctive style that helps it stand out.

The s edan has grown significantly in every dimension: three inches in length with a five-inch longer wheelbase, four inches in width and two inches in height.


The extra size is immediately apparent inside, with lots of space in all dimensions and a back seat with plenty of legroom and headroom.

The rounded dashboard is attractive and well arranged with an unusually prominent center section with an aluminum-toned shell, giving the interior a modern, industrial look and feel. The rotary gauges work well, with an LED display for time and audio functions that is useful and not too intrusive.

Two clinkers on the dash: All the little warning symbols can be seen on the white-faced gauges even when they're not on, which looks cheap. Also, there's a bright and unnecessary light that says "passenger air bag off" whenever there's nobody in the passenger seat. I got sick of looking at it.

Safety features are basic, with no side air bags in the base DE model and no head curtain air bags available.


The base DE Galant starts at $17,997, while the LS model tested is $20,997. Options add up quickly, bring the fully loaded test car past $25,000.

Options included a leather package with leather seating, power driver's seat, dual front-side air bags, heated power side mirrors and rear heater ducts. 1,395; a Diamond package with 270-Watt Mitsubishi/Infinity audio system with CD and steering-wheel controls, titanium-finish center dash pod with LED audio and climate-control illumination, leather steering wheel, alloy wheels and Panic Alarm, $1,262; a sunroof package with overhead console and illuminated visor mirrors, $800; air bags, $250; and shipping, $595.

Bottom line

A decent and moderately priced alternative to the popular run of midsize sedans, Galant delivers in style, performance and family values.

Mitsubishi Galant LS

Vehicle type: Five-passenger, four-door sedan, front-wheel drive.

Base price: $20,704.

Price as tested: $25,299.

Engine: 3.8-liter V-6, 230 horsepower at 5,250 rpm, 250 pound- feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Transmission: Four-speed automatic.

Wheelbase: 108.3 inches.

Curb weight: 3,560 pounds.

EPA mileage: 19 city, 27 highway.


Accommodating interior.

Sharp styling.

Engine performance.


Intrusive exhaust growl.

Annoying air bag light.

Limited safety features.