DRIVEN: This Galant Ultima still a pretty good looker

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It’s a little old compared to most other Japanese cars on the road, but the Mitsubishi Galant Ultima 1997 remains an attractive choice for second-hand car buyers, due mainly to the curved design that keeps it looking sufficiently modern.

Mostly in demand from those who make frequent trips to the provinces, the 2,000cc Ultima – available with a 12-valve, 4-cylinder engine or a 24-valve, V6 engine – still manages to call for prices ranging from Bt250,000 to Bt270,000.

The V6 engine version is the more popular, offering greater stability on main roads due to its big body.

If this is your choice, the most frequent problem to be found is the automatic gearbox, which often tends to jolt the car forward. But this can be fixed: by visiting Bangkok’s Siang Kong market, a second-hand gearbox can be found for about Bt10,000.

However, if you prefer to keep the original gearbox and get it repaired, the cost will be about Bt20,000. Although double the price, this route is recommended as you will never know for sure if the second-hand replacement is going to work well with your car. If price isn’t a problem, the best thing to do is visit a Mitsubishi service centre. Although the Ultima 1997 is getting on for 10 years old, its popularity remains and that means Mitsubishi dealers still stock new spares.

Indeed, the car is worth the investment. It is good at taking turns and smooth on long journeys. Moreover, Mitsubishi garages are located everywhere, even in remote provinces.

It is a good second-hand buy, es-pecially for a small family that needs some space for leisure travelling.

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