The car you are describing must be clean indeed. In my opinion these cars are not made for "value". If your a car lover then you will own these cars without thinking of resale, if your just another car owner and care about resale, then these cars are not made for you.
The 1.8 liter you drove, make that 2.5 liter, and imagine the additional power you would have. Now add two small turbos on it and make it awd for traction purposes.
The Vr4 is comparable to its sibling Mitsubishi Evo yes. Only thing is that the VR4 is sort of a big brother, heavy weight car while Evo is lighter. Hp wise both cars are the same 26ish/280ish hp stock.
Evo will be ahead in a race due to its light weight. Also the later model evos, evo 8/9 are equipped with better type of awd system. Still a VR4 can surely be neck to neck with an evo if tuned just a little bit.
If i had a cl9 i would say that its unfair for Honda, to be compared to a top of the line galant with a cl9. Cl9 does not have that much grunt. Either give cl9 a turbo system for punch and an awd system for traction and then see which car is better, or take both of these away from the galant and compare the cl9 with the NA 2.5liter galant. I think comparing a vr4 with a euro r is right, as both of them are top of their respective category. We have many euro r around, sadly not so many vr4's to see what would happen.
This was on the performance basis, if you look at the drive, galant wins most of the people around.