Full 2009 Mitsubishi Galant Review
What's New for 2009
The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant gains a face-lift (with a new grille and taillights), loses one trim level -- the DE -- and gains two: the Sport Edition and Sport V6. The 230-horsepower V6 returns, featured under the hood of the Sport V6. Later in the model year, Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera are slated to be offered.
Quick, without using Google, name the bass player in U2. Unless you're a big fan, you probably didn't know it was Adam Clayton. Of course, everyone knows about his bandmates -- Bono and the Edge. Within the midsize family sedan segment, the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant is like Adam, while the Accord and Camry are like, well, you know who. Sadly, in today's world, there is justification for the Galant's "out of sight, out of mind" existence.
Like our buddy Adam, the Galant is fairly competent at what it does, though it's certainly not a standout like that extroverted singer and innovative lead guitarist. Peppy performance, a comfortable cabin, respectable handling and good crash test scores are all key strengths of this Mitsu, yet a few key shortfalls prevent it from garnering that spotlight status.
While a few of its competitors boast interiors that might be confused for those of an entry-level luxury car, the Galant's use of some low-grade plastics and silver painted controls cheapen it. Furthermore, the Galant is lacking in terms of features, as a telescoping steering wheel, an auxiliary audio jack and stability control are not available.
The Galant's age -- the current model generation was redesigned five years ago -- isn't doing the car any favors, either. In an attempt to stir up renewed interest, Mitsubishi has given the Galant a new, chrome-edged grille and Lexus-like taillights and added two new trim levels for 2009. Dubbed Sport Edition and Sport V6, these versions (which include two-tone interiors and sporty flourishes such as a rear spoiler) fill the gap between the rather basic ES and the performance-themed Ralliart.
The new face-lift and trim levels aren't going to raise the 2009 Galant's fortunes much. Yes, it's still a decent choice for a daily commuter or sport-oriented family sedan. But if you want a true segment leader, the Bonos and Edges of the family sedan world are going to be better choices.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant is a midsize sedan available in four trim levels: ES, Sport Edition, Sport V6 and Ralliart. The base ES comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, full power accessories, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player. The Sport Edition adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a sunroof, automatic climate control, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power driver seat and heated front seats. The Sport V6 is equipped similarly but has a V6 engine and an upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio system with a six-CD changer and satellite radio. The Galant Ralliart trim level has the Sport Edition's features plus 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, larger brakes, exterior styling enhancements, leather seating, beige interior accent stitching and aluminum pedals. The Ralliart offers the option of a navigation system, the only Galant trim to do so.
Powertrains and Performance
The front-wheel-drive Galant line offers a trio of engine choices. The ES and Sport Edition are powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine that makes 160 hp and 157 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic with manual shift capability is standard on both trim levels. The Sport V6 features a 3.8-liter V6 with 230 hp and 250 lb-ft matched to a five-speed automatic with manual shift capability. The Ralliart gets a 3.8-liter V6 with 258 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
In performance testing, the Ralliart went from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds -- putting it at the head of the pack along with the V6-powered Toyota Camry, Chevy Malibu and Nissan Altima. Fuel economy estimates range from 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined for the four-cylinder trims down to 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined for the Ralliart.
All Galants come with antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. The Ralliart comes with traction control. Unlike most of its competitors, the Galant does not offer stability control.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2009 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 stack, blue backlighting, white-faced gauges and metallic 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. Unfortunately, the Galant suffers from the typical Mitsubishi trait of some subpar interior materials quality. Most plastics and other surfaces just don't match the refined look and feel of the Galant's main competitors.
On the upside, 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 2009 Mitsubishi Galant is one of the more fun-to-drive family sedans. The Ralliart's V6 delivers plenty of power 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 communicated 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.