What's New for 2000
Other than bringing back the ES and LS trim levels, this Mitsubishi model doesn't change much from last year. Product planners add a couple of standard features, replace four colors and offer a new all-weather package for the LS buyer.
Two years ago, Mitsubishi changed the Diamante, stepping up their offering in the near-luxury market and producing another choice for the upper-middle-class shopper. For 2000, Mitsubishi brings back the ES and LS trim designations with more standard options, but offers no grand changes. Hopefully, if the Mitsu executives read our reviews of the 1999 model, they've quietly improved the quality of its construction and ironed out those transmission issues.
A 3.5-liter V6 drives the front wheels, making 210 horsepower and competing adequately with other sedans in its class. While it makes a strong showing on the skidpad and in 60-to-zero braking, the Diamante goes from zero to 60 in a less-than-spectacular 8.3 seconds. The electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission will learn if you're a lead foot and adjust itself accordingly. Unfortunately, it will also not shift as well as other transmissions - the "adaptive control management" often manages to do neither.
For 2000, the Diamante comes in four new colors - Franklin Silver Metallic, Vail White, Imperial Beige Metallic and Pendleton Black Pearl. These replace the similar-sounding 1999 colors - Stonehenge Silver Metallic, Paris White, Manhattan Beige Pearl and Burma Black Pearl, respectively.
Exterior styling features a chiseled, BMW-like appearance - with an emphasis on "like" - and chrome on the window moldings, grille trim, license plate surround and the alloy wheels. Overall, the interior appears nice but leaves something to be desired - most specifically, nicer-feeling materials and a fold-down rear seat or cargo-area pass-through. Not so important, but possibly an issue, were the pictogram choices on the automatic climate controls. They seem logical to some drivers and ridiculous to others, suggesting that Mitsubishi designers might want to take another look at them. If they didn't spend the time to get those clear, what else might they have slacked on?
The revised 2000 ES is a cloth-trimmed base model with new wheel covers, an AM/FM stereo with CD player and a new anti-theft engine immobilizer. The high-end LS adds a host of features, including leather seats, steering wheel and shift knob, a power-adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, wood grain accents, power sunroof, a HomeLink transmitter, separate amplifier for the stereo with steering wheel audio controls, and color-keyed body-side molding. Upgrade the in-dash CD player to a six-disc version in either ES or LS, but the all-weather package - fog lamps, heated mirrors and front seats, and the traction-control system -- is available only for LS customers.
While the 2000 Diamante gets points for its roominess, quiet Yokohama tires and excellent sound system, those features are outweighed by a poorly functioning transmission, build-quality issues and uncomfortable seats. Mitsubishi's Diamante competes against vehicles like the Acura 3.2 TL, Chrysler 300M and Infiniti I30. That's tough competition. We recommend considering all your options when shopping for your next near-luxury vehicle.