What Mitsubishi terms a “resculpted” Diamante went on sale in November 2003. The styling features of the face-lifted near-luxury sedan include a new front fascia with a split upper grille, projector-style triangulated headlights and a mesh lower air intake. Unlike previous Diamante models, the bumpers are more integrated and the rear end is less angular. The front fenders display a more dominant look.
The interior features a new instrument panel and console. Premium cloth upholstery in the entry-level ES model has a more upscale ambiance, according to Mitsubishi. Both the luxury LS and sporty VR-X contain a 270-watt Infinity premium audio system. A Sportronic automatic transmission features a manual gear change provision; it is standard in the LS and VR-X. The VR-X also gets unique sport suspension tuning, traction control and a low-restriction exhaust system.
Built in Australia, the front-wheel-drive Diamante uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Antilock brakes are standard. The VR-X trim level joined the lineup of Mitsubishi’s near-luxury sedan in 2002. With a more aggressive exhaust sound and an engine that delivers 5 horsepower more than the 3.5-liter V-6 in other Diamantes, the VR-X is said to add sporty appeal to the sedan line. For 2003, the VR-X got new European sport-style bucket seats, colored-taillight surrounds, sport seat fabric, and aggressive side-skirt air dams and wheel lip moldings.
The Diamante debuted in its current form in the 1997 model year as a lower-priced alternative to such models as the Infiniti I35 and Lexus ES 300
Mounted on a 107.2-inch wheelbase and measuring 196 inches long overall, the Diamante is almost 6 inches longer than Mitsubishi’s newly redesigned Galant sedan. The VR-X features unique headlights and taillights, a deck lid spoiler and color-keyed bodyside trim. Fog lamps are installed on the LS and VR-X versions. Alloy wheels on each model hold 16-inch tires, and a sunroof is standard.
Cloth upholstery is used in the base ES sedan, while the more costly LS gets leather-faced seating surfaces. The front bucket seats in the ES have manual adjustments, and the LS’s buckets are power adjustable. All Diamantes seat five people.
Standard ES equipment includes automatic air conditioning, a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The LS sedan adds steering-wheel audio controls, a 270-watt Infinity premium sound system, heated seats and mirrors, and power front seats with a memory feature. Sport-style bucket seats, a white-faced gauge panel and platinum-finished accents go into the VR-X. The sedan’s trunk holds 14.2 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the Hood
A 205-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is installed in the ES and LS versions. The V-6 in the VR-X produces 210 hp. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. In LS and VR-X models, the automatic incorporates a Sportronic mode for manually selected gear changes.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available. Traction control is standard on the VR-X and optional on the LS.