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.

SPECIFICATIONS

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.

COMPARISONS

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)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...

    Recruitment Genius: Weekend Factory Operatives

    £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...

    Recruitment Genius: FP&A Analyst

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific