Unlike the larger, seven-passenger Mitsubishi Montero sport utility vehicle, the midsize Montero Sport seats five occupants. Mitsubishi redesigned its Montero for 2003, but the automaker has not yet released details on changes to the Montero Sport. Sales for the Montero Sport have been reasonably strong but dropped by 8 percent to 61,093 units during 2001, according to Automotive News.
Four distinct versions of the Montero Sport have been marketed: ES, LS, XLS and the top-of-the-line Limited. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) are available in the Montero Sport. Mitsubishis ALL4-wheel drive (A4WD) system operates full-time but has a choice of part-time operation in either High or Low range.
Currently built on a truck chassis, the Montero Sport will likely be redesigned for the 2004 model year. The new version may be produced in Illinois rather than Japan, and it may be car-based with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
At 181 inches long overall, the Montero Sport is approximately 8 inches shorter than the regular Montero, which is more upright and angular in appearance. The Montero Sport is a little more rounded and has standard fender flares and running boards. The Montero Sport rides a 107.3-inch wheelbase and measures 66.7 inches wide, while its 67.7-inch height gives it a lower profile than the regular Montero.
A clamshell-type tailgate features a flip-up window on the top and a drop-down tailgate below. Standard ES tires measure 15 inches in diameter, but other models ride 16-inchers. Tubular side steps and a roof rack are installed on upper-end models.
The Montero Sport seats five occupants on front bucket seats and a three-person rear seat that reclines and folds forward. The SUV yields a maximum cargo space of 79.3 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded. Standard ES equipment includes air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a CD player and a tachometer. Moving up to the LS model adds cruise control and remote keyless entry. The plush Limited model includes a sunroof, heated mirrors and front seats, and leather upholstery.
Under the Hood
The ES and LS models have a 165-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine, and the XLS and Limited versions are powered by a 197-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. All Montero Sports use a four-speed-automatic transmission and may be equipped with RWD or 4WD, which includes a Low range.
Montero Sport 4x4s and the RWD Limited come with antilock brakes. Side-impact airbags are not available.
Is it a truck or isnt it? The Montero Sport is constructed like a truck, so it should feel like one. Because it steers, handles and rides with exceptional lightness, the carlike sensations seem a little out of place. Otherwise, this SUV does all that its supposed to in a competent manner.
Despite its midsize dimensions, the interior feels slightly cramped. Entry into the drivers seat is tougher than expected; its necessary to duck your head considerably to get in. The seat controls are confusing and headroom isnt the most ample, but occupants will likely feel comfortable.
The Montero Sport runs quietly with minimal road and wind noise, and it responds eagerly to a light push on the gas pedal. The automatic transmission also reacts well, without any awkwardness. Quite a bit of body motion is evident, but it is limited in range even on moderately rough pavements.