By Jeremy Cato
Mitsubishi plans to return to Canada, opening at least 50 dealerships by 2003 and growing to as many as 150 within five years of launch.
Return to Canada? If you’ve followed the car business closely in this country, you’re probably thinking that Mitsubishi can’t “return” to Canada. Mitsubishi never was in Canada in the first place, right?
For a few years the former Chrysler Canada sold Mitsubishi vehicles rebadged as Dodge and Eagle products. One of them was the 1989-93 Mitsubishi Galant. It was introduced in the ’89 model year as the 2000 GTX, only to become the Eagle GTX from 1991-93.
When it arrived, the 2000 GTX/Galant was conceived as a sporty alternative to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, to name two. Initially, three versions were sold: base, Premium and Premium DOHC.
For its time, even the base car was considered quick, with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine rated at 102 horsepower. But the high-performance version (with a tweaked 2.0-litre four-banger) was quicker at 135-horsepower at 6,000 rpm. (Note: in the United States, a turbocharged Galant rated at 195 hp. was also sold from 1991-92, but it was never offered by the manufacturer in Canada.)
On top of the power offered, the top-of-the-line car had a computer-controlled Active Suspension System that was designed to “feel” the road, then adjust damping rates (shocks and springs) in ways that improved road holding. Not only that, power steering control modes could be changed from Normal to Sport, thus tightening up the steering response a little for the sportier-minded.
All that was pretty sophisticated for the time. But Mitsubishi wasn’t done. In 1990 an all-wheel-drive version arrived, increasing the number of GTX versions in Canada to four. This was truly a smart car for its time, yet with prices back then starting at around $16,000 it was quite affordable.
Sadly, the 2000 GTX was orphaned by Chrysler Canada. The marketing bucks never materialized to support the 2000 GTX and when the 1994 models arrived, it was banished from the lineup. At that time Chrysler was more interested in promoting its own lineup of LH full-size sedans (Chrysler Concorde/Dodge Intrepid/Eagle Vision), not to mention the Neon and the soon-to-arrive so-called cloud cars, the Plymouth Breeze/Chrysler Cirrus/Dodge Stratus.
Looking back, though, it’s clear that in the context of what car manufacturers are doing today, the 2000 GTX was way ahead of its time. Quite a number of carmakers, for instance, see offering all-wheel-drive as a way to carve out a nice little niche in the marketplace. Example: Jaguar X-Type.
The 2000 GTX was also available with a four-speed automatic transmission, somewhat unusual for the early ’90s. A very nice five-speed was the base tranny. The twin-cam 135-hp engine was among the most powerful available in a mid-size car back in the early ’90s.
Overall, the 2000 GTX is a roomy and comfortable four-door. It rode well when it was new, with steady and predictable handling. A well-maintained used model should still feel pretty slick.
Be alert to the long-term prospects of well-equipped models with the adjustable suspension, though. The same holds true for all-wheel-drive cars. Aging high-tech do-dads from the early ’90s should be examined carefully.
If repairs are necessary, parts should be available (see Buyer’s Alerts for more details about trouble spots). After all, Mitsubishi has long sold cars and light trucks in the United States and the whole operation is soon to come to Canada, too.
Of course, the former Chrysler Corp. didn’t sell a whole bunch of 2000 GTX models in Canada, so availability is limited. Prices, while not detailed in the regular Canadian Red Book for a model this old, should not come in above a few thousand dollars.
If nothing else, the pricing and limited availability make the 2000 GTX something of an interesting collector car.
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.