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The Mitsubishi Galant is a competent midsize sedan with distinctive looks and solid value. It delivers responsive performance, crisp handling and notable fuel efficiency, in a tidy, yet roomy package. It comes with healthy complement of features at an attractive price.
Galant is offered in two trim levels, each with a four-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, and a generous complement of standard equipment.
The 2010 Mitsubishi Galant is powered by a 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and comes standard with a four-speed automatic transmission with Mitsubishi's Sportronic system, which allows semi-manual shifting. Fuel economy for the Galant is an EPA-rated 21 mpg City/30 mpg Highway.
For 2010, Galant gets a silver-painted mesh grille for a different look. Galant ES and Galant SE have been given additional equipment and feature. The V6 is no longer available, and the Sport V6 and Ralliart performance versions are discontinued.
Galant ES ($21,599) comes with manual air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power trunk release, power windows and door locks, power mirrors, height-adjustable driver's seat, remote keyless entry, 140-watt six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, rear-seat heater ducts, carpeted floor mats, and an anti-theft engine immobilizer. Standard tires are P215/60R16 all-season radials on steel wheels. A rear spoiler ($259), fog lights ($145), and rearview camera ($699) are optional.
Galant SE ($23,999) adds a DVD navigation system with a seven-inch LCD touch-screen, review camera, multi-communication system, Mitsubishi Diamond Lane Guidance, fog lamps, rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum wheels with P235/45R18 tires, a front strut tower bar, automatic climate control, sport steering wheel with audio controls, eight-way power driver's seat with sport fabric, heated front seats, heated mirrors, anti-theft, Bluetooth, Sirius Satellite Radio, a 650-watt Rockford Acoustic premium audio system with AM/FM/6CD/MP3 capability and eight speakers.
Options for the Galant include leather seating surfaces ($1,399), remote start ($649), and an iPod adaptor ($199).
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags, side-curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, Active Stability Control (ASC), Traction Control, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and a tire-pressure monitor.
The Mitsubishi Galant makes a strong styling statement. For 2010, a silver painted mesh grille has been added for improved aerodynamics and a sharper, more upscale appearance. Distinctive headlamps cover the forward edges of the front fenders.
In profile, the Galant's long, wedgy stance avoids the boring box-on-box look commonly associated with conservative midsize sedans. The roofline picks up from the graceful sweep of the hood and arcs cleanly over perfectly proportioned side windows. Door handles integrate nicely into the design while providing an easy grasp. Wheel arches are mildly blistered and boldly circular, wrapping concentrically around the tires.
The deck lid seems somewhat truncated, as if it were abruptly chopped off; the aerodynamicists argue this works well in a wind tunnel, but it can be a bit of a visual hiccup.
The Galant has a roomy, comfortable interior. The seats are supportive without being overly firm. A dead pedal is provided and positioned well, giving the driver a place to brace the left leg when cornering or for reduced strain on long trips.
Roominess is comparable to that of the Chevrolet Malibu and the Nissan Altima, placing the Galant among the roomier sedans in the class. Visibility is good all around, notably to the rear quarters, thanks to slim C-pillars, and the high beltline gives passengers a secure feeling.
The Galant is easy to operate. Controls are right-sized and easy to use, with knobs, buttons, and rocker switches galore. The heating and air conditioning controls are big and easy to operate, even while wearing gloves, but the air conditioning indicator can be difficult to see in bright sunlight. The dash has a certain clinical look, but is friendly to the eyes. Keyless-entry controls are integrated into the key, eliminating the need for a separate fob.
The quality of materials is quite good. Each door has a storage pocket, and two medium-size cupholders are molded into the front center console rearward of the shift gate.
The rear seat is roomy, though the seating position is low and the bottom cushions could offer more thigh support. Rear-seat passengers enjoy decent headroom in spite of the dramatically sloping roofline.
The trunk is slightly on the small side, and the trunk opening is a bit restricted. In addition, the Galant's rear seats cannot be folded down to extend cargo space.
The Mitsubishi Galant delivers a smooth, quiet ride, thanks at least in part to its stiff platform, wide stance and long wheelbase. Minimal noise leaks into the cabin, just a slight rumble from the tires and a discernible whistle from the mirrors at highway speeds.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine develops 160 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 157 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm, competitive figures for the class. It features Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control (MIVEC), which switches between two cam profiles for optimum power, response, and efficiency at high and low engine speeds. It's a sophisticated setup.
The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, although it does hunt a bit in hilly territory. In the normal mode, it shifts automatically. With the Sportronic feature, it can be switched into a semi-manual mode. It will not shift up or down automatically when in the manual mode, so the driver has full control over shifting.
Brake feel is solid and reassuring. Anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) are standard on all models; the EBD proportions braking pressure between the front and rear wheels depending on how the car is loaded, and adjusts stopping pressure dynamically as weight shifts forward under hard braking. The idea is to send the brake pressure to the wheels with the most weight on them, which is where it can do the most good. This gives the Galant stable braking performance.
The Mitsubishi Galant offers a solid value among midsize sedans. It's roomy and comfortable. It rides well and it's enjoyable to drive.
NewCarTestDrive correspondent Tom Lankard reported from San Francisco, with Mitch McCullough reporting from Los Angeles.