2008 Galant New Car Test Drive
We could name a number of midsize, import-badge sedans that ride comfortably and quietly, handle responsively, and offer an optional V6 that provides ample power for passing. All feature roomy, nicely appointed cabin space, and all represent good value in the family-car market.
Mitsubishi Galant does all that, but offers sharp styling, the kind that turns heads in traffic. Not everyone will like what they see, but none of them will accuse the Galant of being a wallflower.
The current-generation Galant was launched as an all-new model for 2004, and Mitsubishi has improved and refined it every year since then.
New for 2007: The 2007 Mitsubishi Galant brings a freshened look outside, improved materials inside, and revised suspension settings designed to provide greater comfort and a more engaging driving experience. The 2007 Galant GTS gets a new five-speed automatic transmission.
Also new for 2007 is a high-performance model called the Ralliart, with more horsepower, tighter handling, and sporty styling. Ralliart is Mitsubishi's motorsports arm and has been a dominant force in the World Rally Championship, which includes the Monte Carlo and other famous events, and cross country endurance raids, such as the Paris-Dakar Rally. Mitsubishi hopes the Galant Ralliart will challenge the Acura TSX and TL, as well as the MazdaSpeed6.
The Galant Ralliart seems a long way from the Galant VR4 rally cars so successful in the early 1990s, but so what? The more we drove the 2007 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart, the more we liked it. It struck us as a comfortable, big midsize sedan with some sports appeal. It isn't as agile as a MazdaSpeed6, but it's roomier and more comfortable. It certainly isn't as upscale or refined as an Acura, but it costs less. It's an easy car to live with that does not give up comfort or convenience for its added performance. At times, it reminded us of a Chevy Monte Carlo (yes, we know it's a two-door) and it seems nicer than a Pontiac G6. In any case, the Galant Ralliart was an enjoyable car that never annoyed us. And we're easily annoyed.
Galant has achieved across-the-board five-star ratings in the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offset-frontal and side-impact crash tests. The insurance industry's Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded Galant its highest ranking ('Good overall') in its frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
The 2007 Mitsubishi Galant comes in four trim levels, but they are not the same four as last year. The upper-middle LS has been discontinued, the GTS slightly demoted, and the new Ralliart added at the top of the range.
Galant DE ($19,899) and ES ($20,999) are powered by a 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission. Mitsubishi's Sportronic system, which allows a semi-manual shifting when desired, is now standard on all Galants.
The DE comes with air conditioning; height-adjustable driver's seat; height-adjustable steering wheel; power windows, mirrors and door locks with remote keyless entry; 140-watt, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo; rear-seat heater ducts; carpeted floor mats; and an engine immobilizer. Standard tires are P215/60R16 all-season radials on steel wheels.
ES adds ABS with EBD, six-speaker stereo with MP3 playback, cruise control, and a more deluxe cloth interior with a driver's seatback pocket and sun visor extenders. Appearance upgrades include color-keyed exterior door handles, titanium interior accents, and ice-blue LED illumination for climate and stereo controls. ES options include the Sport Package ($1,000) with 16-inch alloy wheels, dark-bezel halogen headlamps, crystal ellipsoid rear lamps, a color-keyed rear spoiler, and the Ralliart's Rockford Acoustic Design audio with Sirius satellite radio. The ES Premium Package ($2,000) adds leather seating surfaces, faux leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, power glass sunroof, auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink, and additional minor goodies.
GTS ($24,999) features a 230-hp, 3.8-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission with a Sportronic feature. GTS adds leather seating, faux leather and audio controls on the steering wheel, heated front seats with eight-way power for the driver, dark-bezel headlamps, fog lamps, and a tire-pressure monitor. The instrument panel features white-faced gauges and woodgrain accents. Front brakes are larger, while wheels and tires upgrade to 215/55R17s on 17-inch rims. GTS options include the Sun and Sound package ($1,000), which combines the power glass sunroof and Rockford Acoustic Design audio with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Homelink transmitter, a security alarm, and more.
Ralliart ($26,999) is powered by a 258-hp, 3.8-liter V6, with a sports suspension, upgraded brakes, and larger wheels and tires. It comes with the five-speed Sportronic automatic. Ralliart has a unique look inside and out. Upholstery is perforated leather, and the pedals are aluminum. All of the GTS luxuries are standard, plus automatic climate control, a power glass sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, and a unique Rockford Acoustic Design audio system that includes the hardware for Sirius satellite radio plus a six-month subscription. Optional on Ralliart is a DVD navigation system with a seven-inch touch screen ($1,850).
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags, side curtain air bags, and front seat-mounted side-impact air bags, and four-wheel disc brakes. All-wheel drive is not available. Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution start with the ES model. A tire-pressure monitor comes on GTS and Ralliart models.