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An enjoyable Japanese family sedan that could use additional polish and rear-seat room.
Attractive styling, excellent handling, many standard features for a low price.
Low-grade interior materials, small back seat, no manual transmission available.
Available Galant Sedan Models
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The 2002 Galant features new exterior and interior design changes and other improvements to enhance safety and functionality. A new LS model with the four-cylinder engine offers a standard sunroof and upgraded sound system plus the option of leather trim. Mechanically, changes include larger front ventilated disc brakes (four-cylinder models), an additional remote keyless-entry trunk-opening function, an emergency inside-trunk lid release and available ABS on ES models. The exterior features updated front and rear styling, new 16-inch wheels (GTZ and LS V6) and two new colors. Inside, Mitsubishi has spruced things up with a new audio system faceplate, a rear dome light with the optional sunroof and a redesigned gauge cluster. New titanium- and bronze-finish (ES and LS) or carbon fiber-finish (GTZ) trim panels have also been added.
The current Galant debuted in 1999, and featured BMW knock-off styling, and lots of standard equipment to combat its opponents. It was tailored to appease power-hungry Americans by offering a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter V6.
The four-cylinder engine produces 145 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque and quells noise and vibration effectively. The SOHC V6 makes 195 hp and 205 lb-ft of torque, placing it on par power-wise with other Japanese V6 family sedans like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, though Nissan's new 240-hp V6 Altima clearly eclipses the field. The Galant does handle well for a family sedan, however, especially in sport-tuned GTZ trim.
For 2002, Mitsubishi offers the Galant in four trim levels: DE, ES, LS and GTZ. The bargain-oriented DE comes only with the four-cylinder engine, while the ES and LS can be purchased with either the four-cylinder or the V6. The sport-tuned GTZ is the only model this year to have the V6 as standard.
All Galants come with a decent selection of standard equipment. This includes an automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and locks with keyless entry, variable intermittent wipers, an AM/FM/CD audio system, tinted glass and dual trip odometers.
Besides the V6, the ES model offers only minor upgrades over the DE. Go with the LS, and you'll get adjustable lumbar support, a power sunroof, rear heater ducts and a seven-speaker premium sound system. Opting for the LS also grants access to the leather package with a power driver seat. A six-disc in-dash CD changer is also available on all Galants. In terms of safety equipment, side airbags, traction control and antilock brakes are all available, depending on trim level.
The GTZ model comes standard with nearly everything and features special interior and exterior styling treatments. These refinements, coupled with the sport-tuned suspension, make GTZ the high-end Galant for those seeking crisp handling and the most fun-to-drive ride in the line. Enthusiasts will likely bemoan the lack of an optional manual transmission.
Inside, styling is clean and simple, though many panels are hard plastic instead of the more upscale soft-touch materials found on other family sedans. The minor trim upgrades for 2002 help matters only slightly. At least the stereo unit is positioned above the climate controls for easier driver access and the console-mounted cupholders don't block any part of the dashboard. Front seating in the Galant is comfortable with a good driving position and excellent visibility. Rear accommodations aren't as commodious, and taller adults will find themselves short on legroom.
In the big picture of family sedans, the Galant isn't our first choice. It's not large enough to compete with domestic sedans, and it will face tough competition this year from the all-new Altima and Camry, as well as the perennially favored Accord and Volkswagen Passat. Good looks are nice, but in this class, substance is more important.
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