1997 Mitsubishi Diamante Review

1997 Mitsubishi Diamante - A diamond from down under.


Owners of past Mitsubishi Diamantes may not recognize the new model, which has smoother styling and more power. It doesn't even feel like the old Diamante, which was generally ignored. Many automakers are trying to keep base prices of their ``near-luxury'' market cars just under $30,000. The top-line LS version of the new, Australian-built Diamante I drove comes in just under the wire at $29,990. A base ES version with less equipment arrives in February, probably at about $26,000. The 1996 Diamante more or less took a year off, being available only to rental car companies. While decent, previous Diamante sedans were far from special. The more-refined 1997 model has been worth the wait, and can take on rivals such as the $29,900 Lexus ES 300 and $29,995 Cadillac Catera. Never mind that the Mitsubishi nameplate isn't as illustrious as the Caddy or Lexus nameplates. The swift, highly aerodynamic new Diamante LS I drove is plenty luxurious, and has virtually no wind, road or engine noise. The new Diamante four-door has the same 107.1-inch wheelbase of its predecessor but is about four inches longer and higher. Thanks to the sleeker interior's larger dimensions, tall rear-seat passengers no longer feel squeezed--although long-legged ones still might want another inch or so of legroom. Greater use of aluminum gives the solid new Diamante more chassis rigidity and trims weight by several hundred pounds. That reduction and a lighter, smaller 210-horsepower V-6 result in lively acceleration--0 to 60 m.p.h. in 8.3 seconds. The overhead-camshaft, 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 is far more potent than the old 172 horsepower engine. But my test car's smooth four-speed automatic transmission occasionally didn't downshift quickly enough for good passing times on highways. It felt as if the transmission's adaptive control management system was screwed up. A revised suspension that easily soaks up bumps gives the Diamante better handling and makes it more fun to drive, although it's more of a luxury sedan than a sport sedan. The Diamante LS definitely is worth a look.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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