2009 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart Review – An uphill battle with no end in sight.

Expert Reviews Mitsubishi

By Kurt Gensheimer


  • Engine
  • Engine
  • Engine


  • Fit and finish
  • Rear seats don’t fold
  • Horrible turning radius

Ruling: The Galant Ralliart’s engine comes close to negating its shortcomings. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Life must be tough being the Mitsubishi Galant. Thrown into a class of four-door, mid-size sedans which include the venerable Accord and Camry, the Galant has some monumental competition to overcome. Historically, it’s been outgunned in quality, reliability, resale value, and overall popularity. Like ol’ Rodney Dangerfield, it gets no respect. Ask the layman who makes the Accord and Camry, and most people can respond without hesitation, but the Galant? All you’ll hear are crickets.

So when the 2009 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart showed up in our driveway, I have to admit, at first I did a double take. I thought I was getting the Lancer Ralliart, a model with far more recognition. Quite honestly, I didn’t even realize that Mitsubishi made the Galant in the Ralliart package. Like I said, no respect.

Much like Mazda has Mazdaspeed and Toyota has TRD, Mitsubishi’s Ralliart namebadge represents their motorsports division, and they outfit a limited number of factory sport-tuned cars with the Ralliart plate. For 2009, in addition to the Lancer, Mitsubishi has souped up their larger sedan to entice performance-minded sedan buyers who would otherwise pass over Mitsubishi because they refuse the notion of owning a rice rocket like the EVO. But Mitsubishi’s problem isn’t that someone might pass over the Galant Ralliart, their problem is that most buyers might not even know that the car exists.

First Impressions

I’m going to be dead honest on this one and mention the first thing I saw when the Galant Ralliart arrived was a huge, uneven panel gap between the rear bumper and quarter panel on the driver’s side. Mitsubishi hasn’t earned a reputation for poor fit and finish for nothing. Determined not to let that detail taint my unbiased review of the Galant, without further inspection of panel gaps, I jumped in the car and took it for a quick jaunt.

Although this is a sports sedan with sport-tuned suspension and stabilizer bars front and rear, it’s still a portly machine that gets flustered when pushed to the limit. I tried keeping up with a bone-stock, base, late 1990′s Honda Civic on a local, windy backroad – granted I wasn’t as familiar with the road as the other driver – but the Civic made short work of me and the Galant in the twisties, leaving us choking on the Civic’s dust.

Speaking of steering, the Galant Ralliart has an exceptionally poor turning radius. Almost as bad as a crew cab, long bed F-250. We actually had to back up a few times at U-turn stop lights.

But despite these shortcomings, the moment I hit the accelerator, I knew what the Galant Ralliart was all about – the engine. If for nothing else, a buyer should consider this car for its 3.8L MIVEC V6 – the same variable valve timing motor found in the Eclipse. With 258 horsepower and the same number in the torque department driven through the front wheels, the Galant Ralliart accelerates like a mechanized steroidal cheetah. It roasts its 235 series Goodyears with reckless abandon and urges you to bury the throttle at every opportunity, especially after you shut off traction control. And the tune the engine sings while stomping the pedal through the floorboard is blissful.

Unfortunately, even though this is considered a sport-tuned sedan, the Galant Ralliart only comes in a 5-speed automatic transmission with Sportronic selection only on the gear shifter, no paddle shift options. But we actually really liked the shifter on the Galant Ralliart. Unlike most other automatic tranny shifters, this leather-wrapped and French-stitched affair was thin and svelte to the touch, resembling a sports shifter on a manual tranny. As far as the transmission performance, it’s like any other slushbox – forgettable.

However great the engine is on the Galant Ralliart, for a vast majority of buyers in this sedan segment, the powerplant isn’t a primary factor. Often times it isn’t even secondary or tertiary. Nowadays, the only performance figures most sedan buyers are looking for are fuel efficiency numbers. Although the Galant Ralliart’s numbers aren’t eye-popping, for a 3,700 pound sedan with a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds and a quarter mile in 15, getting 16 city and 25 highway mpg is downright respectable. But take those numbers and then compare them to the performance and fuel efficiency numbers of the V-6 Camry and Accord. Yeah, not great for the Galant. And once you dig a little deeper past the powerplant numbers, prospects go downhill even faster for the Galant Ralliart.


This is where the majority of my beefs lie with the Galant Ralliart. The fit and finish of the car leaves much to be desired. And I’m not just talking about the big uneven gap in the bumper. Once inside the car, at first glance, the interior looks well-appointed and attractive. But under a closer eye to detail, build quality issues come to light. The rubber weather stripping on the windshield is unevenly placed, popping out in random spots as if someone just jammed it in last minute with a screw driver. The navigation system appears to have a very ergo pop-up screen so that you can close it when not in use, but not so fast. It’s in a fixed position, adding a general awkwardness to its appearance.

And someone needs to tell interior designers that silver-finished plastic looks cheap and wears out quickly – as is the case with the Galant Ralliart. On the center console and dash trim, designers used a much more pleasing marble finish. Why not just extend it to the center stack and eliminate that cheap-o silver plastic?

(Continued on page 2)

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