2002 Galant New Car Test Drive
Galant is similar in size to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, though it's just a tad smaller. The Galant is a bit sportier in appearance than most mid-size sedans, though it's starting to look a little dated when compared with recently redesigned models.
It features a graceful, sweeping roofline, smartly tailored lines, and sculpted sides. For 2002, the grille has been redesigned and the taillamps have been revised. Older style door handles require flipping your hand upside down and are harder to grasp than the newer, more comfortable type that you stick your hand through. GTZ and LS V6 models get redesigned alloy wheels for 2002.
The Galant is a little smaller inside than the Toyota Camry. Overall, it's less roomy than a Camry, but it does offer more front-seat legroom than the Camry.
Galant's well-designed interior is attractive and highly functional. Everything is located where expected and we never had to search for a control. Like its exterior, the Galant's inner regions are smooth, contemporary, and nicely designed. The instrument cluster is readily visible through the full range of steering wheel adjustment. For 2002, the instrument cluster has been redesigned for a cleaner look. The gauges are straightforward and easy to read.
Switchgear is straightforward and easy to operate. HVAC controls are rudimentary and would look more at home in a compact car. However, they are straightforward and easy to operate. A compartment under the HVAC controls is handy for wallets or sunglasses. There's a nice, big glovebox. The small center console is lined with rubber at the bottom to keep things from sliding around and making noise. A pair of cup holders in front of its are fairly easy to access.
The optional Infinity stereo is nicely designed; buttons are on the small side, but are laid out in a straightforward way that makes it easy to operate. The optional glass sunroof has a nice inside sliding opaque cover.
Sporty front bucket seats offer a good range of adjustment with above average side bolsters and thigh support. The optional Premium leather-covered seats in the LS V6 are comfortable and supportive and the leather is attractive. The leather package includes a nice leather-covered shifter, but the handbrake lever is on the spindly side. Driver sight lines are average for a car in this class; there's good visibility over the sloping hood with no significant blind spots.
The rear seats are comfortable as well, with lots of head room, hip room, and shoulder room. Leg room is a little limited, but you can slide your feet comfortably under the front seats and it's fine for a fairly lengthy drive. This car is comfortable for four people, but not for five. There are no adjustable headrests for the rear seats and there's no center armrest.
We liked the feel of the thick, padded steering wheel. However, the controls for the audio system are too small. In addition, the rear cupholders mounted on the rear of the center console reside below an armrest, which means flipping the armrest back if you want to use it. However, these are minor demerits in an otherwise thoughtful design.
The trunk features a nice, flat interior. The trunk lid uses the type of hinges that intrude into the trunk space, but offer the advantage of popping the trunk lid open when the button on the remote is hit. Galant's trunk is slightly larger than the trunk in the Honda Accord, but not quite as big as the trunk on the Toyota Camry.
Safety features include dual frontal airbags. Height-adjustable seat belts are used in front. Three-point seat belts are used in the rear, including in the center seating position; this rear-center belt is absent from some passenger cars and many sport-utility vehicles. Child restraint anchors are provided. Side airbags are a standard safety feature in LS, LS V6, and GTZ models, but are not available in the other models; Mitsubishi's side-impact airbags are mounted in the sides of the front seat frames. GTZ comes standard with traction control, which helps the driver maintain control under acceleration, particularly in slippery conditions. ABS is available, which helps the driver to maintain steering control under hard braking.