Full 2008 Mitsubishi Galant Review
What's New for 2008
The Mitsubishi Galant's GTS trim level is dropped for 2008 and its equipment spread out to the other trim levels. The four-cylinder SE model has been dropped as well. There are now only two engines available: the base four-cylinder and the Ralliart's larger V6.
A certain free online encyclopedia with questionable fact-checking defines a dark horse as a candidate nominated unexpectedly, having been previously not considered to be a likely choice. Allegedly, it originally referenced an unknown horse winning a race and something having to do with former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Fascinating guy, that Disraeli, but Mitsubishi hopes that its 2008 Galant proves to be such a dark horse for midsize sedan shoppers. In this segment that includes heavyweights like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and a few other very good candidates, chances are that many consumers haven't previously considered the Galant to be a likely choice. While it's far from being class-leading, the Galant is at the very least worthy of a test-drive nomination.
For 2008, purchasing a Galant has been simplified, as the GTS trim level has been dropped. Many of its features are now optional on the ES trim level (and were already standard on the Ralliart), but its 230-horsepower V6 is now extinct. Like most other midsize sedans, there are now only two very disparate engines available: a 160-hp four-cylinder and a 258-hp V6. The latter engine is only available in the performance-oriented Ralliart, so those looking for an inexpensive six-cylinder sedan should look elsewhere.
In addition to its larger engine, the Ralliart benefits from more interesting styling than its DE and ES siblings. Larger wheels, revised front and rear fascias, and interior details like red stitching make it more visually compatible with sportier sedans like the Altima or Mazda 6. The Ralliart (and the regular Galants, for that matter) is one of the more fun-to-drive vehicles in its segment, although it doesn't quite match the thrills provided by those two aforementioned competitors.
Many of the choices in the very crowded midsize sedan field are worthy of attention. Generally, these choices fall into a more comfort- or sport-oriented demographic -- the Galant can be considered somewhere in the middle. For either type of shopper, the 2008 Mitsubishi Galant deserves a look, but its lack of several key features (stability control, Bluetooth, a telescoping steering wheel, etc.) and below-average interior quality make it a very dark horse in a stable filled with thoroughbreds.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Mitsubishi Galant is a midsize sedan available in three trim levels: DE, ES and Ralliart. The base DE comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, full power accessories, keyless entry and a four-speaker stereo with single-CD player. There are no factory options available for the DE. The midlevel ES adds cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with MP3 playback. Available on the ES is the Sport package, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, faux leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and an upgraded eight-speaker Rockford Acoustic Design sound system with six-CD/MP3 changer and satellite radio. When equipped with the Sport package, the ES can also be equipped with the Premium Package, which adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, faux wood trim and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The six-CD/MP3 changer can be added as a dealer-installed accessory on the DE and ES.
The performance-oriented Ralliart trim includes most of the feature content found in the ES packages. It then adds 18-inch alloy wheels, larger brakes, exterior styling enhancements, heated side mirrors, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, red interior stitching and aluminum pedals. The Ralliart can also be equipped with a navigation system.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive Galant DE and ES sedans are powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine that makes 160 hp and 157 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard on both trim levels, while the ES gains automanual control. For 2008, EPA fuel economy estimates (which this year use a new, more realistic testing procedure) are 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
The Ralliart gets a 3.8-liter V6 with 258 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with automanual control is standard, and a manual transmission is unavailable on any Galant. In performance testing, the Ralliart went from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds -- about the same as a V6-powered Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima. The Ralliart requires premium fuel, however, and gets subpar gas mileage at 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
All Galants except the DE come with antilock disc brakes. All trim levels come with front-seat side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. The Ralliart comes with traction control, but stability control is not available on any Galant. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 Mitsubishi Galant earned an impressive five out of five-star rating for its protection of occupants in both frontal and side impacts. Frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety resulted in the highest-possible overall rating of "Good."
Interior Design and Special Features
With a cascading center console, blue backlighting, white-faced gauges and metallic or wood-grained accents, the Galant's cabin is stylish in a contemporary way. Large controls for the climate and stereo systems are easy to use, and work in conjunction with a display screen located high on the center stack or the Ralliart's optional navigation touchscreen. Despite its appearance, though, that screen does not lower into the dash. The Galant suffers from the typical Mitsubishi trait of subpar interior materials quality. Plastics and other surfaces just don't match the refined look and feel of the Galant's main competitors, but there's no question that its interior style is distinctive.
Seating front and rear is roomy and softly cushioned. Some folks may wish for firmer support, which the Ralliart supplies. Trunk capacity, at 13.3 cubic feet, is about one or two cubes less than the competition, but the opening is wide. And although there is a ski pass-through, the rear seats do not fold down.
On the road, the 2008 Mitsubishi Galant is one of the more fun-to-drive family sedans. The Ralliart's V6 delivers 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 is. A surprising amount of road feel is transmitted through the driver seat and the steering. Although the steering is a little vague on-center, it is quick and responsive. None of this entertainment comes at the expense of ride quality, which is smooth, forgiving and ideal for weekday commutes.