2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Change year or car

Change year or car

$22,777

starting MSRP

2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport trim comparison will help you decide.

2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

If you’re looking for a low-priced, mid-sized, true sport-utility vehicle (i.e., one that can go off-road and get back), you might be interested in the Mitsubishi Montero Sport.

Not to be confused with the Montero, which is larger and freshly designed in 2001, the Montero Sport has been hanging around since 1997, and I don’t know why – it consistently comes in at or near the bottom in comparison tests. (It was the big Montero which gained notoriety last year when Consumers Union released footage of it trying to flip over in their avoidance-maneuver tests – saved by training wheels.)

The reason this review is slimmed down is because I didn’t spend as much time in it as I like. It was raining that whole week, and, intrepid as I am, I was loathe to push it hard or even drive it much at all.

The tester was an up-level XLS series, superficially very appealing, with nicely-finished interior and sleek exterior. But on wet roads, be they concrete or be they asphalt, it was scary – even with its nifty all-wheel drive and 2-range four-wheel drive.

Why? The tires.

After the first familiarization sally, I brought the Sport back to my garage and checked inflation pressures, thinking they must be out of whack. They were right at manufacturer-specified pressure.

It was then that I noticed they were Goodyear Liberty tires, a skin I had earlier found to have horrendously poor wet traction on a minivan I was testing.

If anything, they seemed worse in this application. Not only did they scratch for grip when I poured on the power somewhat boldly, but I felt lateral slippage even at moderate speeds on mildly curving roads. After a few ventures out, I slunk home.

It’s good that I had not first driven the Montero Sport on dry roads, because I might have been emboldened by its credentials to kill myself in the wet.

New this year is the A4WD system, as Mitsu calls it. Like Jeep’s SelecTrac, it allows operation in full-time all-wheel drive for most on-road and light-duty off-road situations, as well as in 4WD high and 4WD low modes for more demanding terrain.

The AWD setting apportions power front and rear via a viscous coupling, which allows smooth and infinitely variable operation. The other modes are mechanical, and a limited-slip differential is optionally available to mediate side-to-side power flow.

All that sounds very promising, but isn’t worth much if the tires can’t hack it.

The driver’s seat is uncomfortably high, and once you crawl up there (little help from a barely-tilting steering wheel), the roof seems low enough to induce claustrophobia.

Ride quality was only fair over rough surfaces – the Sport is truck-based and comfort definitely takes a back seat to ruggedness.

The Montero Sport is issued in four series: ES, LS, XLS and Limited, in increasing order of price and amenities. The cheapest member of the family is the ES two-wheel-drive machine, with a manufacturer’s sugge sted of $23,337, including freight. The XLS I tested starts at $30,187, with freight. (Edmunds.com says most people wind up paying $2,000-$2,500 under sticker). It also had a $1,790 touring package, which includes such goodies as an Infinity sound system upgrade (excellent tonality, so-so tuner), power moonroof, limited-slip diff, and some eyewash. Total was $31,977. Payments, if you paid sticker, would be $648, assuming 20 percent down, 10 percent interest and 48 coupons. There are better choices in the category, but if you are seduced by price or looks, plan on making your first stop at a tire store for grippier rubber.

“The Gannett News service”

Double review, split with Mr. Alan Vonderhaar’s permission, see 5/25/02 Toyota Matrix

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value for the money 4.3
  • Exterior styling 4.3
  • Reliability 4.3

Most recent consumer reviews

4.0

DRIVER

Its been a great vehicle I have it for over 3 years and no regrets just need to make a change that's why we are selling it..

4.7

Great car for a great price

Great Island car. Plenty of room and very comfortable. Easy to get around in the Big City too. Very clean interior. Runs absolutely perfect. And has ice cold air condition.

2.3

Don't Bother

Ah yes, the Montero Sport...Japan's gift to off-roading in the 90's. The key there is the 90's...because other than off-roading 20 years ago they are generally terrible. Handling is so-so, engines are underpowered, and they are generally unreliable. The one we owned sheared the crankshaft bolt, went through 4 sets of ball joints in 5 years, had to get shocks, stabilizer bar bushings (front and rear), and not one but TWO gas tanks replaced in the time we owned it. We did zero off-roading. It was virtually 100% street driven. Don't bother unless you are looking for a trail beater.

See all 15 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Mitsubishi
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
84 months/100,000 miles
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Less than 5 years/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Remainder of original 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain
Remainder of original 10-year/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
123-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2001

Isuzu Rodeo

$17,990

starting MSRP

1996

Suzuki X-90

$13,499

starting MSRP

2003

Suzuki Grand Vitara

$18,599

starting MSRP

See all 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport articles