A redesigned Montero arrived in the spring as an early 2001 model with new styling and more luxurious appointments. The changes are more than cosmetic, however. Under the skin, carlike unibody construction replaces a truck-based body-on-frame design, which Mitsubishi says reduces weight and noise, and a fully independent suspension provides a more comfortable ride.
Despite the switch to carlike construction, Mitsubishi maintains that the Montero is capable of rugged offroad travel.
Though the new Montero is 2 inches longer at 189 and 4 inches wider at 74, it looks smaller than the previous model. Rounded instead of squared styling, reduced body overhang and a 2-inch reduction in height to 73 inches make the new model look trimmer than the old one.
A full-size spare tire mounts on the outside of the tailgate on the four-door Montero.
Montero seats seven, with two front buckets, a three-person middle bench that folds for more cargo room and a two-person rear seat that folds flat into the floor and is removable. The previous generation had two rear jump seats that folded outward against the sides of the interior.
Virtually all interior dimensions have increased, including cargo volume, which grows to 91 cubic feet with the middle and rear seats folded.
Under the Hood
The only engine available is a 3.5-liter V-6 with 200 horsepower, a carryover from the previous generation. It teams with a four-speed automatic transmission on the XLS model, and a new five-speed Sportronic automatic that allows manual gear changes comes on the Limited.
The four-wheel-drive system for the XLS is the part-time type that is intended for use on slippery surfaces. The Limited has ActiveTrac, a permanently engaged system that distributes power between the front and rear wheels as needed for traction.
Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard.