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by Steve Siler

Mitsubishi Galant
2003 Mitsubishi Galant

Over the past two decades, the Mitsubishi Galant has grown up into a comfortable, attractive sedan that still boasts affordability and user-friendliness above all else.

This is a favorite car of rental fleets, due to its straight- forwardness and reliability. And this is a good thing if you are of the type that doesn't want to have to go back to college to learn how to adjust your stereo. Seriously, the Galant's interior is comfortable, nicely laid out with no surprises. The seats are comfortable, and as we discovered with a long-term loan with a Galant a couple of years ago, the light, airy cabin is a great place for road trippers like us. The rear seat isn't as big as others in this class, though.

Yet the Galant has many other virtues as well. A big trunk has a good, low threshold, and it gets even bigger with the split fold-down rear seats (the folding seatback isn't available on the base DE trim). The level of standard equipment is high, with power windows, locks, a/c and a CD player on the DE. ES models add cruise control, power mirrors and keyless entry. LS models get niceties like a power front seat, sunroof, an Infinity stereo and side air bags. And finally, the sporty GTZ model gets a sporty suspension (which can be a bit rough), leather seats, traction control and a super-adjustable driver seat.

The base 140-hp four-cylinder powertrain is okay, and gets good EPA fuel mileage (21/28 mpg), mated as it is only to a four-speed automatic. The 195-hp V-6 is much stronger, and doesn't exact much of a penalty on gas (20/27 mpg). The latter engine is available on the ES and LS, and is standard fare with the GTZ.