Used 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante
Edmunds' Expert Review
A diamond best left in the rough.
We recently conducted a comparison of eight entry-level luxury sedans. The Mitsubishi Diamante was not among them. Why? Our rules for comparisons say that competing vehicles must have either won the previous test, or be all-new or significantly revised. The Diamante hasn't been redesigned or significantly revised since 1998, and it didn't win our 1999 entry-level luxury sedan test. Actually, it came in last.
This wasn't due to styling. We generally approve of this car's shape, and Mitsubishi has further updated the look this year with a restyled grille, hood and decklid; new combination lamps; and new wheels.
The last-place finish wasn't due to a poor value equation, either. The base ES model comes with a CD player, a 10-way-adjustable power seat and an anti-theft engine immobilizer. Stepping up to the LS nets leather seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, driver seat memory, a power sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, woodgrain accents, color-keyed body-side molding and a HomeLink transmitter. You also get steering wheel audio controls, but the All Weather Package is required to get heated seats, heated exterior mirrors and traction control. The new VR-X, slotted between the ES and LS, is designed to appeal to those who prefer more sporting features and driving dynamics, and as such comes with a performance-tuned suspension and exhaust (the latter worth a five-horsepower increase), mesh grille inserts, rear deck spoiler, white-faced instruments and the now-obligatory metallic interior accents.
Even an LS with the All Weather Package and additional accessories costs little more than $30,000. But many features found on competing vehicles aren't available on the Diamante, such as a navigation system, stability control, side (or side curtain) airbags, high-intensity discharge headlamps or an automanual transmission.
The only transmission offered is a four-speed automatic. It's not a particularly bright unit, despite Mitsu's claims of "Adaptive Shift Control." Downshifts are lumbering, which is unfortunate, as the Diamante's 210-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is a torquey and smooth unit. The Diamante has some strengths as a driver's car that include capable and confident brakes; a quiet, well-insulated interior; and sticky tires that remain silent at highway speeds. But these attributes are more than offset by the somewhat mushy suspension (on the ES and LS) and numb steering.
In the past, we've criticized the design of the climate and audio controls, saying they were overly fussy. Mitsubishi has at least upgraded the audio system interface this year, but the interior still has other problems. The interior materials aren't up to $30,000-sedan standards, and there's a rampant lack of nighttime control illumination. Seating is comfortable, but the rear seat does not fold down, and no center pass-through is offered.
There's not much that's positive to say about Mitsubishi's slow-selling sedan. It has the basic ingredients -- elegant shape, long list of luxury features, a seemingly sumptuous interior (as long as you don't look too closely). It even has a strong engine and comfy ride. But if you dig a little deeper, you find a host of negative traits. If you're shopping for an entry-level luxury sedan, we suggest something other than the Diamante.
Features & Specs
Used 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante Overview
The Used 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include LS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), ES 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), and VR-X 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.