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Selecting the "right" import mid-size sedan these days is a lot like ordering the "right" wine at a snooty French restaurant. It's almost easier to go with something familiar than risk trying something new.
forumBut that would be a mistake if you end up overlooking
a thoroughly decent car like the 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante, either the $25,687
ES, or the top-of-the-line $28,447 LS. This sedan, updated for 2002 with a new
front end and upgraded braking system, has good looks, is fun to drive,
well-equipped, and nicely straddles the line between full-on sport sedans such
as the Nissan Altima and Maxima that may be too aggressively styled for some and four-wheeled Prozac like the Honda
Accord and Toyota Camry, which are as reliable and efficient as they
are staid and ubiquitous.
To begin with the Diamante comes equipped with a standard and nicely punchy 210-hp twin cam 3.5 liter V-6 engine — whereas both Camry and Accord are underpowered four-cylinder chuffers in their as-is form. If you want a V-6 (and decent acceleration) in either car, you'll have to pay extra to get it — and even then, neither the V-6 equipped Camry nor the Accord is more powerful than the Diamante, with 192 hp and 200 hp, respectively. The frumpy-looking Toyota Avalon, meanwhile – once aptly described as the "best Japanese Buick money can buy," — does offer a standard V-6 engine, but it's rated at exactly the same 210 hp as the Diamante's six, so it's a dead heat on the question of power for your dollar.