What's New for 1996
The only Diamantes sold this year were for fleet sales. So unless you see one at a rental car auction, chances are not good that you'll find a used 1996 model.
This luxury sedan has suffered from a nearly invisible presence on the market, due in part to Mitsubishi's muddled brand identity. Like with Mazda's 929, people just don't associate Mitsubishi with luxury cars, or prestige for that matter. The Diamante's other problem has been the strong yen and the resulting price escalations.
Diamante competes in the near-luxury segment that includes the BMW 3-Series on the low end and the Lexus GS 300 up high. Diamante's price puts it in the thick of the fight; with the Oldsmobile Aurora, Lexus ES 300, Audi A6, and Acura's new TL-Series, to name a few, are all priced very competitively with this Mitsu.. The Diamante has what it takes to succeed in this class; understated good looks, sumptuous appointments, and performance that neither overwhelms or disappoints. What it's missing is character, and a prestigious nameplate.
Overall, we are impressed with the build quality of the Diamante. Interior materials and textures are first rate, though some switchgear is a bit on the cheap side. The Diamante feels and looks good inside, but not as good as a Lexus ES 300 or Mazda 929. The exterior eschews the traditionally bland Japanese look for a more Euro-influenced design, and is appealing for that reason.
The bottom line? The Diamante is good, but in this crowded market segment, there are better near-luxury sedans to be had.