Pros: I got a really good car with 105K miles on it for just $4K
Cons: Average Galant quality is significantly lower that that of Accord of Camry
I am a big fan of Japanese cars: I do not care about the looks, all I care is quality. We just bought 2001 Mitsubishi Galant with 105K miles on it and I want to share my experiences.
Mitsubishi Galant is a flagship of Mitsubishi cars in the US. This mid-sized car competes directly with Camry and Honda Accord, which partly explains the fact that there are so few of them. With 4 cylinder engine and 2.3 liters it delivers 140 hp and 21/28 city/highway mpg. Obviously when you buy a used car, especially a one for 4K with 105K miles on it, you care more about reliability than mpg or horsepower.
I classify cars on two different types: reliable and Unreliable. Before this Mitsubishi, I somehow got the impression that Galant was not a good car. Few reasons led me to this conclusion: I drove and thought of buying Eclipse (and it is a crappy car) and I just havent seen that many Galants on the road (thus, I assumed, people did not like to buy them). As you see, there was no actual experience with Galant before that.
When I saw 105,000 odometer reading, I felt that it was pointless to even try the vehicle. The only reason why I actually sat in there is that it looked very nice from outside and inside (more reasons to suspect a lemon for 4K price tag). Contrary to my expectations, the car handled very well, engine was running quietly and gears changes smoothly. I used to have all kinds of problems with cars and this one seemed to be a bless. I could not believe that and forced the car on a highway, then in a city and run a CarFax report, brought to a mechanic no problems! This was amazing given the fact that my pre-pre-previous car (Ford Taurus) died irreversibly after half the mileage this babe has
I was able to pick up few minor things there: a slight leak in the break fluid lines and low battery, but thats a easy thing to fix. No signs of rust, corrosion, oil leaks or transmission clicks.
Vehicle Handling and Performance
The car is pretty good on the road and on turns, no complaints, I can easily compare that to my Camry that I got for $8,500 with 75,000 miles on it. Basically twice the price of Galant. The only noticeable difference is mpg I can easily pull 32-33 on a highway, but this one does around 26. Apart from that it is the same horsepower, size and options. I would even say that Galant is accelerating better than Camry from the same year.
Interior and Exterior
The car is pretty standard and has all major features you will need: moon roof (optional), automatic mirrors, CD player, plastic-coated bottom to prevent corrosion. Somehow the right-size positioned gas tank cap can only be opened from the outside without a key This is a minus for those living in unsafe neighborhood you can find you tank empty or filled with sugar that will make your repair bill go up a lot. This is still a minor problem somehow Japanese think you can trust your neighbor I do not.
The exterior is great, paint is like new and no rust on the metal parts, even the engine is clean and neat. I do not like the aggressive look of Galant, but 2001 is still an ok car compared to newer "ideas".
This is the question I asked myself since I got it I could not find any reason to be upset about MY car so I checked what other cars are like. My reasoning was that there had to be a good reason for such a huge depreciation value compared to that of Camry. And I found it!
If you compare JD Power ratings for Galant http://www.carfax.com/car_safety/ratings/SRR.cfm/year/2001/make/MITSUBISHI/model/GALANT/trim_id/2001MITS4DFGALANT_ES and Camry http://www.carfax.com/car_safety/ratings/SRR.cfm/year/2001/make/TOYOTA/model/CAMRY/trim_id/2001TOYT4DFCAMRY_LE , you will see that Galant almost always does one point lower in reliability, appeal and quality. It is also inferior in crash tests, however, not significantly. But these things are not meant to be crashed.
In fact, it appears that people are so upset about Mitsubishis quality, that they set up a website http://www.mitsubishisucks.com/ to track all problems with cars.
Apparently, you can always get lucky, but this does not happen to everyone every time Galant is a lousy car compared to its peers (Accord and Camry) and that it why there are so few of them. I think you can still buy one of them, but make sure you know the car well: take it to mechanic, look yourself and look up CarFax. You may get lucky, you may not, but best idea is to get Camry.