I felt like I’d been mostly thinking of American cars for these Meh Car Mondays, so this time I wanted to find something not produced here in our proud meh-motorworks. And I think I found a good candidate today: a car with a good history that managed to end its career not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with the sort of sigh you emit when you realize you have slightly less toothpaste than you thought. The ninth-generation Mitsubishi Galant.
The previous eight generations of Galant I wouldn’t consider meh at all; the early ones were charming little cars, some of which came to the U.S. as captive imports from Chrysler. And, of course, there was the early-’90s Galant VR-4, a 197 horsepower, rally-indoctrinated four-door box of a hell of a lot of fun.
Maybe that’s why the last generation Galant is so glumly ignorable and, as a result, sad.
The ninth-generation Galant looks and feels like the sort of car made for a person who, when shown, say, a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta, says “Woah, woah woah! I’m not in Cirque du Soleil!” The ninth-gen Galant is like a Nissan Altima without all the glam.
God, look at this thing:
It’s pretty much anonymous. It could be almost anything made in the last decade or so. Let’s take the badge off and look again:
Yeah, that could be anything. Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Chevy, Kia, anything. It’s a complete blank slate.
Look, I even found some parody article about generic cars, and the composite car they made for the article is fairly close to the Galant. Because the Galant is fairly close to pretty much anything at all.
It’s also worth noting that this generation of Galant was made between 2003 and 2012. That’s the longest of any of the generations of Galant, and suggests that maybe even Mitsubishi forgot they were still cranking these things out. I mean, somebody remembered, because this got two facelifts, both of which somehow made the car even more anonymous.
I know there are Galant fans out there, and I bet there’s even fans of this rolling mass of adequacy. I mean, the car wasn’t awful—power was decent at 160 hp for the four and, eventually, a 3.8-liter making 235 hp. But it wasn’t that different than anyone else, and it wasn’t enough to save the ultimate Galant from feeling like the rental-fleet car it was doomed/destined to be.
The Galant really embodies the taupe, smooth spirit of the meh car in an all-encompassing, fantastic way. It’s very possible you’ve known someone with one and never realized it, because the car commanded so little attention.
You’ve probably rented one, and just assumed it was a Camry or something in your memory. If anything, you’d think the diamond-star badge on its nose might help save the car from total mehitude, because Mitsubishis are comparatively uncommon, at least in America.
But that just shows how potent the last Galant’s blandness is: it can overcome a less-popular marque and a long, interesting history.
That’s weaponized blandonium right there.