Used 1997 Mitsubishi Diamante Review
To achieve success in the near-luxury market, an automaker must possess a strong brand image that consumers associate with prestige. Mitsubishi does not, and this partly explains the dismal failure that the first Diamante luxury sedan suffered in the United States. It wasn't a bad car, just a little dull looking and loaded with so much techno-wizardry that it cost far more than it was perceived to be worth. The all-new Diamante appears to be worth far more than it costs, featuring distinctive styling cues that emulate the best from Europe combined with more room inside and features that consumers actually want, like an integrated child safety seat.
Available in base ES or uplevel LS trim, the new Australian-built Diamante will be available initially only as an LS. A new 3.5-liter V6 drives the front wheels, making 210 horsepower. The Diamante will vault from zero to 60 in about 8.5 seconds, and if you make this Mitsu perform this way often, the four-speed automatic transmission will learn that you're a lead foot, and adjust itself accordingly. Oddly, ABS is optional on both models, bundled into the Luxury Convenience Group on the LS, and traction control is unavailable. Interestingly, an integrated child safety seat is optional, rare for a near-luxury sedan.
Exterior styling features a chisled, BMW-like appearance that is more bold than the previous car's smooth, flowing silhouette. Chrome appears in the form of window moldings, license plate surround, grille trim, and alloy wheels. The interior is tastefully trimmed, though the stereo has a ridiculous number of buttons on it. Gauges emit a Lexus-like glow at night, and the automatic climate controls feature innovative pictograms to convey fan mode. Viewed from the rear, you could almost mistake the Diamante for an older BMW 7-Series.
All in all, a much improved car. Still, to really play hard ball in this class, you need stuff to boast about. Stuff like traction control, standard ABS, and side airbags. The base LS stickers at the same price point as Cadillac's new Catera, which will feature all of this stuff, standard, by spring. Mitsubishi has improved the Diamante tremendously, but the competition has improved a little bit more.
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