Driving Impressions

By November 10, 1999

Despite the lack of a 6-cylinder engine option (presently, anyway), the Galant is a willing performer that will satisfy some buyers who wouldn’t ordinarily buy a midsize 4-cylinder sedan.

With 141 hp on tap, the 2800-lb. Galant moves around nicely. And smoothly, with the aid of a pair of engine stabilizer shafts that effectively cancel out most of the roughness inherent in 4-cylinder powerplants. It gives away little in the way of performance, but the Galant nevertheless delivers very good fuel economy.

Only the Galant S is available with a manual transmission. All others are provided with a 4-speed automatic that we’d recommend even to those who like to shift for themselves. The automatic transmission’s electronic shift control incorporates a fuzzy logic program that monitors vehicle speed and throttle and brake use to tailor shifts to specific driving conditions. In real-world use, this transmission seems to think right along with the driver, never changing gears at an inappropriate time.

Even without the aid of electronic trickery, the Galant’s 4-wheel independent suspension delivers a fine blend of comfortable ride and responsive handling.

Though not a performance sedan, the Galant feels nimble when driven hard. A brisk pace is possible on all kinds of roads, with tire noise and body roll providing ample warning long before things get out of hand.

If there is a single reason to avoid the base model, it is its lack of anti-lock brakes (ABS). Like its costlier kin, the Galant S uses front disc and rear drum stoppers (the V6 will have 4-wheel discs) and they work well. But we think the extra margin of control ABS can provide (and does when ordered on ES and LS versions) is well worth the extra cost of both the upgrade model and the option itself.

During extended freeway driving, it becomes apparent that Mitsubishi has succeeded in keeping the Galant interior quiet, even beyond the reduction of wind noise. Good insulation buffers sound from the tires, suspension and engine.