Redesigned as an early 2001 model, Mitsubishis seven-passenger sport utility vehicle switched from a truck-based structure to a carlike unibody construction. Mitsubishi also produces the smaller Montero Sport.
Several changes are coming for 2002. The Montero XLS gets a chrome-accented grille, while the Limited wears a new color-keyed grille and mirrors. Both gain lighted visor mirrors, a drivers seatback pocket and a three-point seat belt with head restraint for the center rear occupant. A new windshield shade band aims to improve visibility on sunny days, and a new Touring Package for the SLX features Ecsaine seat trim and an available rear air-conditioning system.
Mitsubishi maintains that the Montero, which has a fully independent suspension and comes equipped with a 200-hp V-6 engine, is capable of rugged offroad travel. In June 2001, Consumer Reports magazine asserted that the testing of a Montero Limited revealed a propensity for rollovers during 37-mph back-and-forth maneuvers through a set of cones. Mitsubishi quickly denied that any safety problem exists.
Rounded in profile, with minimal body overhangs, the Montero is 189 inches long overall on a 109.5-inch wheelbase. The four-door SUV measures 74 inches wide and stands 73 inches tall. In contrast, the five-passenger Montero Sport is 181 inches long and only 68.3 inches high. A full-size spare tire mounts on the tailgate of the Montero.
Seven occupants fit inside the Montero, which uses two front bucket seats, a folding three-person middle bench and a two-place rear seat that folds flat into the floor and is removable. Cargo volume is 91 cubic feet with the middle and rear seats folded down.
Under the Hood
Mitsubishis 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 200 hp. A four-speed-automatic transmission goes into the XLS model, but a five-speed Sportronic automatic transmission that allows manually selected gear changes is standard on the Limited model.
Part-time four-wheel drive for the XLS is intended only for use on slippery surfaces. The Limited has a permanently engaged Active Trac system that distributes power between the front and rear wheels as needed. Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard.