New & Used Mitsubishi Diamante: In Depth
2004 Mitsubishi Diamante ESEnlarge Photo
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The Mitsubishi Diamante was a full-size sedan—and the flagship model for the Mitsubishi line—through the time that it was sold in the U.S., from the 1992 through 2004 model years). Rivals when it was new covered a wide range and included the Pontiac Bonneville, Toyota Avalon, Chrysler 300M, Volvo S80, and Nissan Maxima.
Just as the Avalon was a somewhat larger, more luxurious model related to the Camry, so was the relationship between the Diamante and the mid-size Mitsubishi Galant. The Diamante upstaged the Galant somewhat in size and significantly in features, luxury, and price. By the time the Diamante was discontinued in 2004, sporty VR-X models and top-of-the-line LS models stretched up toward the $30k mark—then, nearly the entry point for true luxury-badge models like the Lexus ES 300.
Mitsubishi simply couldn’t measure up with the value equation here, and its brand cachet, already fading fast at that time with a refocus toward the Lancer small-car family, was certainly no selling point.
If you’re okay with the idea that the Diamante’s image (and resale value) haven’t held up well over time, what you can get on the used market today is a pretty stylish, pleasant-driving big ten-year-old sedan for a price that’s probably lower than any other comparable sedan from the same decade. With its well-detailed quad headlamps and frameless doors, as well as a very roomy back seat and top-notch seats and climate control, the Diamante does feel like a premium car to those inside.
For most of the time the Diamante was sold in the U.S., it featured a 205-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with a four-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Earlier versions featured a 3.0-liter V-6 making 158 hp. Original 0-60 mph times for the later versions were in the eight-second range—respectable for this time—while the Diamante is quick from a standstill, with reasonably strong passing power and a smooth, refined powertrain character.
Trim levels for most of the years the Diamante was offered were limited to ES and LS models, with the VR-X adding a sport suspension, sport seats, and a performance exhaust (with a bump in power to 210 hp).
Although Diamante isn’t as reliable as rivals like the Toyota Avalon, it’s shown to be pretty comparable in longevity to most other products of the period. The V-6 is known for oil consumption as it wears, and transmission issues aren’t uncommon.
From 1993 through 1995 there was also a Diamante Wagon, which sold in small enough numbers for it to be considered a cult-following, collector object today.