Unlike the larger, seven-passenger Mitsubishi Montero sport utility vehicle, the companys midsize Montero Sport seats five people. Built on a truck chassis, the Sport got an elevated roofline for the 2003 model year.
The ES and Limited editions have disappeared from the 2004 lineup. Now, only the LS and XLS models are offered, and the automaker says that value has been added to both. The LS is now considered the base model and has lost some equipment, but those items are available in an option group. Both models now use the more powerful 3.5-liter engine that was formerly installed only on the more upscale versions. New roof rails and 16-inch alloy wheels are standard. Touring and Luxury packages are available for the XLS.
Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available in the Montero Sport. Mitsubishis All 4-Wheel Drive (A4WD) system operates in full-time mode but has a choice of part-time operation in either High or Low range.
At 181.1 inches long overall, the Montero Sport is approximately 9 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. It rides a 107.3-inch wheelbase and measures 69.9 inches wide, while its 68.3-inch height gives a lower profile than the regular Monteros.
A clamshell-type tailgate features a flip-up window on the top and a drop-down tailgate below. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires. Tubular side steps are standard on the XLS and optional on the LS.
The Montero Sport seats five people on front buckets and a three-place 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. A Convenience Package for the LS adds cruise control, remote keyless entry, side steps and privacy glass. A power sunroof, Infinity premium audio system, cargo cover and dimpled leather steering-wheel cover are included in the XLS Touring Package.
Under the Hood
Both models now use a 197-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Montero Sports may have either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, which includes a Low range.
Montero Sport 4x4s come with antilock brakes. Side-impact airbags are not available.
Is it a truck or isnt it? Because it steers, handles and rides with exceptional lightness, the carlike sensations of the Montero Sport 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; youll need to duck your head considerably to get in. The seat controls are confusing, and headroom isnt the most ample.
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 and without any awkwardness. Quite a bit of body motion is evident, but it is limited in range even on moderately rough pavement.
Posted on 8/27/03
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