The Mitsubishi Galant has a long history in Australia. Back in 1971, Chrysler Australia started producing the Mitsubishi compact at their Clovelly Park plant. It was called the Chrysler Valient Galant, and it featured aerodynamic styling, inspired by the racy American muscle cars of the day. In 1980, Chrysler sold its Australian operations to Mitsubishi, and they renamed it the Mitsubishi Sigma.
In 1989, Mitsubishi returned to the Galant nameplate, affixing it to their new (mid-size) Australian flagship. Now with front-wheel drive, the new Galant was designed to compete in the near luxury segment, against popular sedans like the Honda Accord and Mazda 626. Although it failed to unseat the category leaders, the Japanese-built Mitsubishi Galant actually helped Mitsubishi to return to the World Rally Championship. This was thanks to the hot Mitsubishi Galant VR4, which featured four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steering, and a 148kW 2.0L turbo-4. WRC rules required all manufacturers to sell 5000 copies of the car they wanted to race, so the Mitsubishi Galant VR4 really was a road-going rally car.
The Mitsubishi Galant VR4 used a speed sensitive steering system, which allowed the back wheels to turn 1.5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels at speeds above 48km/h. This was cutting-edge technology at the time, earning the Mitsubishi Galant a reputation as a serious sport sedan. Parts of the VR4’s setup would eventually find their way into the Lancer, laying the foundation for the Lancer EVO that we know today.
Thanks to the VR4’s rally success, Mitsubishi was able to install the VR4 mechanicals into the smaller Lancer compact, creating the Lancer Evolution rally car, so there was no reason for the hot VR4 to return after the 1993 redesign. The HJ Mitsubishi Galant came only as a five-door hatchback, and it drew power from either a 92kW 2.0L 16v or a 110kW 24v 4-cam 2.0L V6. A tight independent rear suspension replaced the previous torsion beam setup, significantly improving the Galant’s handling.
While the HJ Mitsubishi Galant really was a good car to drive, prevailing market conditions forced Mitsubishi Australia to drop the Galant after the 1996 model year.
The 1972 Mitsubishi/Chrysler Galant was powered by a variety of engines, ranging from a 1.3L to a 2.6L. For more detailed information on the specific engine in a classic Galant, research the specific year Galant you’re considering.
The later model HG/HH Mitsubishi Galant got a rather basic 77kW 2.0L in the base SE models, while the up-level Mitsubishi Galant GSR hatch got a 102kW twin-cam 2.0L. A 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic were available on both. The VR4 got the aforementioned 148kW turbocharged 2.0L, with a 5-speed manual transmission.
The HJ Mitsubishi Galant got a standard 2.0L single-cam 16 valve 4, which produced 92kW and 170Nm of torque. The Mitsubishi Galant V6-24 got a dual overhead cam 24-valve 2.0L V6, which produced 110kW and 179Nm of torque.
The early Mitsubishi/Chrysler Galants were kitted like most cars of the day were. You could get fashionable upholstery, full wheel covers, push-button radios, extra chrome trim, and an automatic transmission in the luxury models. The pillar-less hardtop coupes are the most sought after, due to their muscular lines and sporty demeanour.
HG/HH Galants had above average build quality, reaffirming to its upscale intentions. Standard kit on the Mitsubishi Galant SE included powerful ventilated disk brakes, electric windows, central locking, multi-adjustable driver's seat, and velour upholstery. The sporty GSR hatchback got a computer-adjusted suspension, which would be considered an ‘active’ suspension today. In the early 1990s, the Mitsubishi Galant really was an impressive car.
The HH Mitsubishi Galant VR4 got (among other things) leather upholstery, power everything with a now-common ‘auto-down’ driver’s window, an LED third brake light, projector fog lights, special interior and exterior trim, and a numbered dash plaque.
The HJ Mitsubishi Galant came similarly equipped, but it gained a four-wheel independent suspension and extra safety gear, like airbags and ABS.
Early Galants competed against the Toyota Corona and Holden Gemini. Buying a Galant today is more about taste than anything else.
The HG/HH Mitsubishi Galant competed directly against such mid-size standouts as the Toyota Camry, Subaru Liberty, and Mazda 626. These competitors clearly lacked the Galant’s European styling, hi-tech kit, and luxury-like build quality. Compared to other mid-size cars of the day, the Mitsubishi Galant really was nearly a luxury car.
The HJ Mitsubishi Galant competed against the same three mid-size car heavyweights, and it was just as good a car, but it lacked the overt panache of its previous generation. It is, however, a quite good and quite affordable runabout.