2009 Mistubishi Galant ES (36.5 MPG)

by Rick Harrell on July 13, 2008

Galant Front

+ Efficient for Size
+ Good Torque Response
+ Improved Exterior Styling

– Bargain-Basement Interior and Defects
– Expected Reliability
– Sponge-Tastic Tires

Introduction: I’ll admit it.  I have mixed feelings for Mitsubishi.  I once owned a 2003.5 Lancer Evolution VIII that was a blast to drive, yet was plagued with factory defects.  Most owners of that conveyance have since traded it for a Subaru Impreza STI, or something else, before it catastrophically failed.

The Galant was the only 4-cylinder offering in which to choose from the lineup in Rental Row.  Among with the Impalas, SUVs, and Chrysler 300’s, the Galant offered the most promise in it’s small 2.4L “World” engine (that’s the same one shared with many Chrysler-based vehicles — such as the Sebring, Avenger, and high-trimmed Caliber.  The FE may just save this vehicle’s shortcomings.

On the Outside: The front-end harkens images of the ill-fated Diamante, with the rear ¾ view taking after the youthful Lancer.  I would classify it “awkwardly average” with an air of some class.

Galant Front 3/4

Mitsubishi has had its fair share of trouble lately.  Before the Chrysler buy-out from Cerberus, Mitsubishi was left wondering were to go and was struggling to gain a foot-hold on the U.S. market while still sharing engines.  The Eclipse bloated-up, the Galant itself was slipping in simplicity, and the brand was viewed as a risk to buy.  Now, the Chrysler brand has broken free any new design sharing, but retains the venerable 2.4L, DOHC, 4-cylinder that powers much of its lineup.  The question: has Mitz redeemed itself lately?

Galant Rear 3/4

On the Inside: Ugh.  The interior is cut-and-pasted from the Endeavor SUV, which is at best, mediocre (or vice-versa).  The biggest complaint is the driver’s seat comfort.  Height adjustment is available in this trim via knob, but lumbar is fixed in the Hunchback Position.  The wheel/column only tilts and doesn’t telescope.  Even the Chevy Cobalt offers a telescoping wheel.  Not good.  The HVAC and radio controls are cheaply lit, and hard to see in bright light.  Is the A/C on or not?

Galant Interior

Reporting in all fairness, blind-spots were abundant and sound system was utterly awful.  The bass boost was in full-force.  A full adjustment to “-6” on that setting still announced the authority of the thump.  Conclusion: it’s uncomfortable in there.

Otherwise, expect faux-wood trim, a bit of extra room and some added safety features.

Interior II

Safety:Tire Pressure Monitoring, depowered drivers bag, side airbags, and ABS with EBD.

Efficiency: This is the only reason why I bothered to report on this car.  Over 73.4 miles of Cincinnati hills and gridlock, the car only used a smidge under 2 gallons of fuel.  Let’s assume the previous renter filled-up a ways-out from the lot, and give it 73 miles at 2 gallons.  That’s [B]36.5 MPG[/B].  I could hardly believe it!  Honestly, I didn’t go easy on the go pedal at all.  On the highway (when it opened-up), I set the cruise for about 65-70 and went around town with the traffic (at their hefty pace and acceleration).  The only technique I used was to force an upshift from the slap-shift gear selector.  Otherwise, it was business as usual.


The Drive: Perhaps this is where the Galant makes up for it’s shortcomings.  Steering feedback is precise, torque is well-pronounced, and transmission feel is rather appropriate.  The ride is well-adjusted for the vehicle’s size, which promotes some driving confidence.  Where it starts to sponge out, is during corners with its marshmallow tire sidewall strength.  Save cash on manufacturing where you can, I suppose.

For the Energy Conscious: This car competes with some pretty heavy-hitters in the FE lineup: Accord, Camry, Sonata, Malibu, Fusion.  Further testing would be required, but the only advantage I can see is: 1) Potential FE, and 2) being different (with choice #1 actually paying for itself).

As always, consider the size of vehicle you need. This car may fit the bill for folks looking for a new car with low financing and a gracious warranty.

For an efficient, mid-sized sedan, others are out there.

Raw Data — Specs:
Model: 2009 Mitsubishi Galant
Trim: ES (Base)
Class Size: Mid-Sized Sedan
Transmission: 4-speed automatic with lock-up torque converter
Engine: 2.4L SOHC, 16-Valve, “MIVEC” Variable Valve Timing, I-4
Rating: 160 hp at 5500 RPM and 155 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm
Drivetrain: FWD
Seating Capacity: 5 (very snug) at 2+3 or 4 more comfortably at 2+2
RPM @ 60 MPH: 2400
Price as Tested: $21,000 USD (June, 2008)
Curb Weight: 3483 lbs.
EPA: 20/27
EPA Average Fuel Cost per Year: TBD
Emissions: ULEV

Raw Data — Stats:
EcoModder Tested Mileage: [B]36.5 MPG[/B]
Speed Avg: ~40 MPH
Time of Operation: ~1.0 hours
Distance Driven: 73.4 Miles
Ambient Outside Temp: 75-95F
Cruise Speed: 65-70 MPH
Test Loop: Metro Cincinnati, OH
A/C Usage: 100% of time
Wind/Weather: Warm, Humid – Wind calm
Driving Style: Average (including some rush hour jams)

Photos: Edmunds.com

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1 Hampden Wireless July 13, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Interesting review. I just don’t understand why the MPG you get is so much higher then the stated mpg for the car. We all know the epa rating is not that accurate but you are getting around 30% more mpg.

2 Rick Harrell July 13, 2008 at 9:04 pm

The MPG listed is what was actually attained. I picked up the car at Covington, Kentucky (Cincinnati Airport), drove it to a hotel in Loveland, to a work location the next day outside of downtown, and back to the airport. I filled it to the brim and noted the mileage. Take note that short trips have a higher margin of error.

The speed limits on the route were 55-65 (mostly 55) and the limit was held. For those not familiar with the terrain, a very long and rather steep downhill is present before crossing the Ohio River on the inbound route (reverse for the return).

For the most part, the trip went like this:

Vehicle pick up at 10 pm: to I-275 (65 MPH), I-71 North (55 mph) through downtown, several miles back to the North-side of the I-275 Loop East, then 65 mph to Loveland. Very little traffic.

The next morning was stop and go traffic to the work location outside of downtown. I stopped for breakfast at one exit.

In the evening, the trip was in full-force, rush-hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic — all the way back to the airport.

I ended up with an utter boat on my next trip. I was assigned the vehicle from another agency for a one-way trip to Indy, and couldn’t choose my vehicle. It was an ’09 Cadillac DTS V-8. The vehicle averaged 22.5 MPG on the same circuit up to the work site. After the 70 mph cruise to Indy, it resulted in 18 MPG.

Perhaps further testing with the Galant is required for an accurate count. The test circuit seemed to represent a decent hwy/city loop, but I’ll see if I can get another one to test for an increase in statistical power.

Thanks for the concern in the representative fuel economy. I was also surprised by the result.

-Rick H.

3 Brian Green (atomicradish) July 21, 2008 at 12:26 am

I am not surprised by the FE returns you got. I drive a 1994 Mitsubishi Galant GS which is powered by the 2.4L DOHC engine as well. I easily get 30 MPG on the highway at 75-80 mph on a car that is EPA rated at 27 highway. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see FE returns as high as 36.5 with a light foot and cruise control.

Thanks for this review. I will have to consider the ’09 Galant for my next car purchase. I have had no problems to speak of with my car to this point and would happily buy from Mitsubishi again.

– Brian

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