What's New for 2006
For 2006, the Mitsubishi Galant receives only minor updates. There are new wheel designs, some interior trim refinements, standard antilock brakes for the ES trim and a new tire-pressure monitoring system for ES, LS and GTS trim levels (when fitted with alloy wheels).
A fringe player in the family sedan segment, the previous-generation Mitsubishi Galant (sold from 1999 to 2003) suffered for its small backseat, dull engine and transmission offerings and mediocre interior design and materials. It represented a good value for the budget-minded consumer, but it was certainly not a one-to-one substitute for a class leader like the Accord or Camry.
But having watched Nissan supersize its Altima, stuff a powerful V6 under the hood and attract droves of new customers, Mitsubishi knew exactly what to do when it was time to redesign the Galant. Accordingly, the 2004 Galant, the first Mitsubishi car by this name to be engineered exclusively for the North American market, grew in size and picked up a 230-horsepower V6. Its handsome exterior body lines draw inspiration from competing sedans but stand out nonetheless.
The Galant also features a distinctive interior design similar to that of Mitsubishi's Endeavor. There's a cascading center console with large climate and stereo control knobs along with a display screen located high in the dash. Depending on the trim level you choose, this Mitsubishi car can be livened up with Blackwood or metallic-look trim, bright blue backlighting and white-faced gauges. Overall, the Galant's ensemble still can't match the refined look and feel of its main competitors, but there's no question that its interior style is distinctive. Settle in behind the wheel and you'll find the driver seat soft and roomy. Rear-seat comfort was not a strong point of previous Galant models, but adults who hop in the back of the current model will find it quite hospitable.
Out on the road, the Mitsubishi Galant is one of the more fun-to-drive family sedans. The V6 models deliver plenty of torque for passing and merging on the highway. Pushed around curves, the Galant maintains a flat, predictable stance and feels smaller than it really is. A surprising amount of road feel is transmitted through the driver seat, and the steering, although a little sloppy on-center, is quick and responsive. None of this entertainment comes at the expense of ride quality, which is smooth and forgiving, and ideal for weekday commutes.
Unfortunately, the Galant suffers a few lapses in interior materials quality, ergonomics and storage space. Furthermore, it lacks features like full-length side curtain airbags, a manual transmission and a fully folding rear seat. These shortcomings keep it from challenging the leaders of the family sedan segment. Even so, the 2006 Mitsubishi Galant is still an appealing, performance-oriented alternative for buyers who don't demand maximum practicality and refinement from their midsize sedan.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Galant is offered in five trim levels -- DE, ES, LS, SE and GTS. The DE comes with air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; a 140-watt CD stereo; and a height-adjustable driver seat. The ES adds body-color exterior trim, cruise control, faux titanium trim and a couple extra speakers (for a total of six). Optional for the ES, via a few grouped packages, are items like alloy wheels, a moonroof, a 270-watt Infinity stereo with an in-dash CD changer, leather upholstery and a power driver seat. Next up the Galant line is the LS; it offers much the same equipment and options as the ES but with a V6 engine and a standard power driver seat. The SE has the base four-cylinder powerplant but ups the luxury quotient with such niceties as standard leather upholstery and automatic climate control. Spring for the loaded V6-powered GTS and you'll get all of the above equipment as standard, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, projector-beam headlights, clear-lens taillights and unique interior trim.
Powertrains and Performance
The DE, ES and SE trims come with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine good for 160 hp and 157 pound-feet of torque. LS and GTS models come with a 3.8-liter V6 rated at 230 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard on all Galants; V6 models get a manual-shift mode.
All models come with head- and torso-protecting side airbags for front occupants only, and all but the DE have standard antilock brakes. Stability control is not available. In NHTSA crash tests, the Mitsubishi Galant earned an impressive five-star rating for its protection of occupants in both frontal and side impacts. Frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS resulted in an overall rating of "Good," the highest. In IIHS side-impact testing, the Galant also scored "Good," though the agency noted that rear-seat head protection could be better.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior of the Mitsubishi Galant is clean and contemporary, and bright blue backlighting gives it a distinctive look at night. Materials quality is solid overall, but some surfaces look cheap. Controls are easy to find and reach. The seats are softly cushioned and roomy, but some people may wish for firmer support. Trunk capacity is just 13.3 cubic feet, but the opening is wide. Although there is a ski pass-through, the rear seats do not fold.
The V6 comes through with plenty of torque, making it easy to execute passing maneuvers on the highway. Heavier than its competitors, the 2006 Mitsubishi Galant doesn't feel quite as fast as the V6 Altima, nor is the power delivery as refined as that of the Accord or Camry. If you decide to go with the four-cylinder engine, you can expect adequate acceleration, but again, less refinement than you'd get in other import-brand sedans. The Galant's ride and handling characteristics should please consumers looking for the best of both worlds. It delivers a quiet, comfortable ride on the highway and agile handling around twists and turns.