Thursday, August 29, 2013

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Galant (1998-2005)

Myk Belmonte revisits a 90s wonder which could have been a hit, if things went right for the car itself at that time.

1998-2005 Mitsubishi Galant

One of the longest running nameplates locally and one of the top choices when it comes to premium sedans back in the 80s and 90s. While the sixth and seventh generation models were popular buys back then, the eighth generation one - what you see in this review - eventually started the downfall for the Galant nameplate especially when the vehicle started to feel old against some key competitors from Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. Think when Backstreet Boys got older, their popularity waned in favor of One Direction and The Wanted.

Launched in 1996 in either sedan or wagon bodies, the eighth generation Galant continued the styling cues of the model it preceded but with the deletion of the liftback model. Numerous engines were made available including a GDi (gasoline direct injection) and a 2.0 V6 one seen in the FTO. While last sold in the US in 2003, other countries had this one until 2006.

December 1997 saw the launch of the eighth model despite the financial crisis that crippled the Philippines back then. While it sold decently in its first run, the revised Cefiro in 2000, the all new Camry in 2002, and the redesigned Accord in 2003 clawed the market share of the Galant until a new model dubbed as the 240M was made available in January 2006. Trims available include the 4-cylinder Super Saloon which was later revised and renamed as the GT-A and the V6 VR sold from 1998 to 2000 but reappeared in 2002.

Value and Costs
Priced similarly to most Estrada and even some Macapagal-Arroyo era premium sedans, the Galant can be acquired for just between P210,000-P360,000. You'll be encountering the 4 cylinder models more than the V6 ones since the latter was retailed in a short span of time.

The common malady of the Galant of this generation is the automatic transmission that gives up on itself. Consumables include the suspension, ball joints. and other underchassis components must be inspected and replaced. V6 models are fuel thirsty, so if fuel consumption is a concern, hunt for a Super Saloon with a manual transmission.

Exterior and Interior
Local car enthusiasts dub this as the "shark" due to some sharp edges that resembles the water creature. In fact, it has some cues lifted from a BMW, but the way it drives and performs is a different can of worms altogether.

Unlike the Accord, interior materials used are more compatible for the Lancer since they are of poor quality. The wood trim is nearly the same with the Camry, but more Snickers dark than the lighter variety, and both the VR and GT-A have leather seating, a bane for tropical climates. While the front occupants have decent space (the driver has numerous settings for a comfortable position), rear ones have to contend with a tight bench.

It was the Galant that first introduced a four and six cylinder engine option, which competitors imitated later on. First on the Galant engine chain is the 4G63 1,997cc that carries 136hp at 6,000rpm and 180Nm at 3,000rpm while the king is the 6A13 2.498cc which has 163hp at 5,750rpm and 218Nm at 4,500rpm. My pick is the 2.0 model since it is more than decent for your daily needs and can be paired with a stickshift. There is nothing wrong with the V6 since it is fast, but it lacks the refinement found in the Cefiro and not that smooth in the power bandwith since the automatic is a "fuzzy logic" that adapts to the driver's style which ends up gear hunting.

Driving Impressions
Steering the "shark" is on the slow side especially that it does not befit the aggressive image it offers. Ride quality is decent, but not that refined in the Accord and Cefiro, both benchmarks in its class. Braking is excellent and stops in a centavo (dime is too American, so let's use the Filipino equivalent)

The downfall of the Galant's nameplate started with this generation by having some reliability problems, cheap interior trim, and a crude V6. Too bad, the nameplate was tarnished in some aspects and more potent (and competitive) rivals. Before settling with the "shark" Galant, check out other premium sedans of the age before arriving at a final decision.

The Good:
  • Powerful engines
  • Handsome exterior
  • Comfortable
The Bad:
  • Cheap interior trim
  • V6 lacks refinement
  • Tight rear seat
The Pick: 2.0 GT-A/Super Saloon

Engines: 1,997cc 46G3 I4 and 2,498cc 6A13 V6 gasoline
Power: 136hp @ 6,000rpm (2.0), 163hp @ 5,750rpm (2.5)
Torque: 180Nm @ 3,000rpm (2.0), 218Nm @ 4,500rpm (2.5)
Fuel Consumption: 6-9km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front and rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P850,000-P1,135,000 (from 1998-2005, including all variants)
Price (Now): P210,000-P360,000
Rivals: Honda Accord, Nissan Cefiro, Toyota Camry, BMW 3 Series
On Sale: 1998-2000, 2002 (V6), 1998-2005 (2.0)

El Dorado (Mitsubishi Parts Specialist) Cubao - (02) 911-0021/ (02) 913-4482

Photos from


  1. This was our former car. We bought it brand new in December of 1999 and got rid of it in November of 2012. It defined my Grade School,High School, and First Year College days. I had plenty of good memories with it like my Junior Prom, Graduation Ball, several debuts, and outings with friends.