Classic CARmentary: 1999 Mitsubishi Galant GTZ

Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.

After trashing today’s Mitsubishi in the Galant ES Classic CARmentary, please enjoy the following review of the last Mitsubishi mid-sized sedan that could be described as “fun.”  Apparently, in 1999, a proper sports sedan needed a manual transmission option to be taken seriously by the journalista.  Today, not so much.

It’s a rare opportunity to be able to test drive two versions of the same model only weeks apart. Four weeks ago, we reviewed the four-cylinder Galant ES, which has been extensively redesigned for 1999. That car was found to be an exceptional value at under $19,000. But what about those buyers that want a little “oomph?”

Mitsubishi proudly offers those “oomph”-seekers the top-of-the-line GTZ. Distinguishing features include a body-colored grill, bright alloy wheels on low-profile tires from the luxury LS model, substantial rear wing, black-on-white gauges that change to orange-on-black at night, and a beefed up suspension. The add-ons appear natural on the Galant, which looks like a sports sedan even in its base form. The same cannot be said of previous Galants nor most other mid-size sedans for that matter. The rear wing, however, is a bit too much and does little more than block rear vision.

At the heart of the GTZ is the all-new 195-horsepower 3.0 liter V6. This engine finally allows the Galant to play with the big boys. While losing only one mile per gallon to the four cylinder, the V6 gives the Galant much needed highway passing power and flexibility. While not as silky smooth as the V6s in its Camry/Accord/Maxima competition, it has a nice sporty growl. Unfortunately, the only available transmission is a four-speed automatic, a trend that is disturbingly becoming the norm. While it generally shifts smoothly, a proper sports sedan needs a manual transmission, which is only available on lesser, four-cylinder Galants. A “manumatic,” automatic/manual hybrids that are becoming popular, would also be acceptable if one were available.

Thanks to the sportier suspension, the Galant’s already excellent handling is even better, taking hard turns with the finesse of a European sports-sedan. There is a substantial ride penalty, so make sure you know what you’re getting into when choosing which Galant to buy.

The GTZ comes one way – loaded. Options are limited to a CD player, 10-disc CD changer, and a few other odds and ends.

Best of all, the GTZ is a genuine head turner. Just check the box that says “delete rear wing” and sign on the dotted line.

For more information contact 1-800-55MITSU


Type: Four-door Sedan
Engine: 195-horsepower, 3.0 liter V6
Transmission: Four-speed Automatic
EPA Mileage: 20 city/27 highway
Tested Price: $25,562