What's New for 1996
A Homelink transmitter is available, and a panic feature debuts on keyless entry systems. New two-tone interiors debut, and four fresh exterior colors join the palette. Other changes include new wheel covers, expanded availability of alloy wheels, and a heavy-duty defroster with timer. LS models have standard leather seating and antilock brakes are available across the line.
The Galant, Mitsubishi's entry in the midsize people-mover sedan segment, is seemingly full of contradictions. Nice styling and ergonomic touches join disastrous oversights to create an average sedan that falls short of expectations set by the best in this class.
For example, the Galant's interior offers fine ergonomics, legible gauges, easy to find and use controls, and attractive seat fabrics. However, these pluses are canceled out by a cheap looking and feeling center console area, poorly textured dash plastics, an uncomfortable rear seat and, on the S model we examined, an ill-fitting passenger side airbag dash panel. For 1996, Mitsubishi adds a tan interior trim color, and two-tone color schemes. ES models get a standard Homelink transmitter system.
The trunk is quite roomy, and offers nice plastic cubbies to store loose items just like in a BMW. But the Galant S doesn't have folding rear seats, and the unfinished trunk lid just looks cheap. Base model Tercels even have a fabric covering for the interior trunk lid, so why not a $16,000 Mitsubishi? Buy the new Preferred Equipment Package for the S, and you'll get full trunk trim, along with several other trim upgrades and convenience items.
The rear seat has a supportive enough cushion and lots of footroom, but back support is lacking and knees brush up against the front seatbacks. Sculpted front seatbacks or a higher seat cushion would have remedied this problem. Overall, the Galant is not as comfortable as the 626, Altima, Camry, Accord or Contour.
For 1996, Mitsubishi tries to make the Galant more competitive by adding a Panic mode to the remote keyless entry system, rear window defrosters get a timer, and antilock brakes have been made available across the line.
Still, exterior styling is the Galant's strong point. It is graceful; even elegant. A great looking sedan, particularly in LS trim. Mitsubishi spent some money sprucing up the exterior of the Galant for 1996. New wheel covers debut on S and ES models, alloys are newly available on the ES, and S models get new black bodyside molding. Looks aren't everything though. A little attention to detail by Mitsu's army of engineers, and the Galant would be a first class sedan. Too bad it isn't.