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The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 Is an Ultra-Cool Unknown Fast Sedan

In the history of 1990s Japanese performance cars, everyone knows the obvious ones: the Acura NSX. The Toyota Supra. The Nissan 300ZX, the Mitsubishi 3000GT and the Mazda RX-7. Some remember the Subaru SVX, and it occasionally happens that the “DSM” cars get mentioned: the sporty cars built in a joint ChryslerMitsubishi venture at the “Diamond Star Motors” production facility in Illinois. Those were the Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser.

One car that’s often forgotten in this discussion, however, is a high-performance Japanese sedan we got in the 1990s: the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. The Galant VR-4 was a high-performance version of Mitsubishi’s Galant sedan, and it’s noteworthy especially because it used the exact same drivetrain as the high-performance versions of the Eclipse, the Talon and the Laser: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that made about 200 horsepower, coupled with all-wheel drive and a stick shift.

Now, 200 hp may not seem like much, but the Galant of the period — the early 1990s — was much smaller than midsize sedans of today, and in fact it only weighed something like 3,200 pounds. Helping matters was that AWD system and manual transmission, which really made the car feel sporty and exciting.

And, indeed, the Galant VR-4 was sporty and exciting, for the few years it was made. I can’t pin down the exact model years, but it came and went quickly, as there wasn’t much of a market for it — a shame, due to its “sport compact” status, and the fact that it offered sports car performance in a more rational, practical 4-door sedan.

Indeed, the Galant VR-4 is one of the unremembered 1990s Japanese performance cars — but it deserves a little recognition and appreciation, especially from those of us who appreciate the rare stuff. Find a Mitsubishi Galant for sale

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  1. Inexplicably we got a flyer in the mail to come test drive one when this car came out, and it was the first car I ever test drove (at the ripe old age of 15). I looked old for my age and they never asked to see my (restricted) license. Hell of a fun car. And the perfect thing in the hands of a 15 year old!. 

  2. Hardly “unremembered.”  Just from a different time when Mitsu actually provided some interesting and desirable cars.  I really liked the VR-4, just couldn’t afford one coming fresh out of college at the time.

  3. There were later versions of the Galant VR-4 too, but Japan-only. There was also a wagon-version called the Legnum VR-4 (8th gen Galant which is absolutely gorgeous in anyway) with the engine of the 3000GT…so awesome 

  4. I had one of these when I lived in NZ, without a doubt it was one of the best cars I have ever owned, hands down my favorite feature was that it had a button on the dash that you could select the colour of the cluster lights from either green or amber.  

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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