MOTORING / Class needs no gimmicks: Roger Bell finds the new Mitsubishi Galant conformist in design but extremely refined

REFINEMENT in a car has less to do with gadgets and trim than with classy bodywork and a classy engine. The Mitsubishi Galant has both, its hushed six-cylinder engine sounding particularly smooth.

Most expensive luxury cars are 'sixes', if not 'eights' or 'twelves'; the more pistons, the sweeter the delivery. Although low-rank sixes are not new (remember the Triumph Vitesse?), their recent proliferation establishes a welcome sub-species of which the Vauxhall Cavalier V6 is price leader at pounds 16,085. This is the class in which the Galant V6 must compete.

The new Galants are longer, wider and roomier than the cars they supplant. They are more stylish, too, if not especially distinctive or inspiring inside. Take away their menacing Sigma-like front and they could be mistaken for rivals from Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Ford. Likewise the cabin decor and design, which are grey and conformist, though the facia is none the worse for being conventional. Prices range from a keen pounds 12,750 for the four-cylinder 1.8 GLSi four-door to pounds 20,299 for the complex 2.5V6 4WD/4WS (meaning four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering), which is for rich gadget freaks.

Star of the range is the cheaper, technically simpler, front-drive 2.0V6 auto, tested here as a five-door hatchback, daftly called a coupe. At pounds 18,639, it costs pounds 1,650 more than the comparable 2.0-litre four-cylinder Galant, underlining that top-class refinement does not come cheap.

Although less powerful than the flagship 2.5, the 2.0 is also much lighter, so there is no great loss in performance and considerable gains in economy. It is not so much the engine's power that impresses as its smoothness. There is no harsh vibration and little noise other than a discreetly muted exhaust snarl.

The smooth, willing engine is complemented by an automatic gearbox which not only slurs its shifts imperceptibly but has the ability to 'think'. When hill-climbing, for instance, it will not make an unwanted upward change if you back off for a corner. Similarly, on steep descents, the transmission's computer, connected to various sensors, will select a lower ratio to check the car's speed without driver assistance.

In unison, the Galant's smooth, flexible V6 engine and intelligent gearbox are an accomplished star turn. They are the best features of a car that is more exclusive than adventurous: Mitsubishi expects to sell only around 3,000 Galants in Britain annually.

Despite new suspension that 'points' the rear wheels on corners to improve stability, the 2.0V6 is not especially agile or alert. It is very easy and undemanding to drive - the steering is as light as it is benign, the brakes are strongly assisted.

Subdued inside to the point of blandness, the grey Galant does not come across as a particularly opulent car, even though it is comfortable, roomy and quiet. The seats and steering wheel are height-adjustable and the big, low-lipped boot can be extended by folding the back seats.

Comprehensive standard equipment includes ABS anti-lock brakes, side-impact bars (but no driver's airbag) and powered doors, windows, mirrors and sunroof. Just as important are the car's finish and rattle-free integrity. It looks and feels impeccably made: witness the quality of the paintwork, the consistency of the panel gaps, the solid thunk of the doors. Mitsubishi expresses its own confidence in the car by backing it with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty.


Mitsubishi Galant 2.0V6 five-door auto, pounds 18,639. Engine: 1,999cc, V6, two camshafts, 24 valves, 147bhp at 6,750 rpm. 0-60mph in 11.2 seconds, top speed 128mph, fuel consumption 25-30mpg.


Alfa Romeo 155 2.5V6, pounds 18,910. Thinks it's a front-drive BMW 325i, but doesn't quite make the grade. Lacks class, inside and out, but goes well and sounds glorious. V6 engine better than chassis it drives. Much better than flawed 75 it replaces, but not as much fun as a fast Alfa should be.

BMW 320i, from pounds 18,995. Benchmark compact 'six' with strong image and lots of snob appeal. Balanced and precise rear-drive handling and good performance - though 325i is much stronger. Add pounds 1,000 for auto transmission, lots more for equipment to Galant's specification.

Vauxhall Cavalier V6, from pounds 16,085. Solid, well-made hatch or saloon that disguises its age well. Performance stronger than Galant's, refinement less impressive. Eager but rather unruly when extended. Not particularly refined but good long-distance driver's car. Excellent value as the cheapest five-seater 'six' on the market.

VW Golf VR6, from pounds 18,740. The hot-hatch extended. Smooth and muscular 2.8-litre engine gives potent, effortless performance. Great to drive, even though power can corrupt handling. VR6 engine also available in big-booted, Golf-based Vento saloon costing more.

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss