Mitsubishi Diamante offers a roomy, first-class cabin, a powerful V6 engine at a very attractive price. Driving the Diamante is a relaxing, gracious experience. Its gentle touring-style suspension blots out expansion strips and broken pavement.
The Mitsubishi Diamante is not a tepid little people-hauler. Press the pedal down and this sedan rushes to life. Mitsubishi's strong V6 makes a pleasing growl during acceleration. And it provides more than enough thrust to make the drive home interesting.
The Diamante's four-valve V6 is bigger than most engines in the $30,000-sedan class, with a 3.5-liter displacement. Thanks to its large displacement, no variable valve-timing technology is needed to produce plenty of bottom-end torque. It delivers 210 horsepower and a hefty 231 foot-pounds of torque at 4000 rpm. This generous torque delivers vigorous throttle response, enough to propel the Diamante from 0 to 60 mph in just over 8 seconds. That makes the Diamante a quick sedan in this category.
Its acceleration performance is so vigorous that on wet pavement it will easily spin the front wheels. Leaving full stop in a hurry on a rainy day, you will see the little dashboard traction-control monitor light up regularly. The traction control is not overly quick to engage, which is a good thing. You have to truly slip this Mitsubishi's tires before the little light on the dashboard comes on, telling you you've activated traction control. A minutely delayed engagement of the traction control is preferable to having it constantly applying brakes on slippery surfaces when it is not needed. Overly rapid engagement of traction control can be intrusive, unnecessarily impeding your forward momentum, while simultaneously wasting fuel and brake-pad material. Some of the most prestigious luxury cars err in this manner. A switch on the dash allows the driver to turn off the traction control system when using snow chains.
Steering response is crisp and precise, thanks to the Diamante's well-calibrated power-assist rack and pinion. Isolation from road irregularities is extremely good. At highway speeds the noise level is pleasantly low, except for some wind noise at the driver's door. The LS model's high-performance 16-inch wheels and tires produce good roadholding and lateral stability. When pushed hard on back roads, however, the Diamante floats over undulating pavement and leans in hard corners. It does not offer the dynamic control of a firm European-style suspension, feeling more like an American sedan. Drivers who spend long hours on the freeway, however, will be pleased with the Diamante's suspension tuning.
Odd as it may seem, this Japanese-designed, Australian-assembled entry-luxury sedan, despite all of those offshore modifiers, is one of the most definitively American imports in the market. The Diamante's design emphasis is on occupant comfort and convenience, coupled with freeway-friendly competence.
This design emphasis dictates sumptuous luxury-car furnishings, conspicuously roomy proportions both in the passenger compartment and trunk, a vigorous powertrain, and luxury-car ride quality. This is a good car for bumpy Interstates and long commutes.