The Nissan Terra’s all-new and all set to take on the big names in the industry. The question is, was the Montero Sport ready for it? Despite the aging platform, Mitsubishi’s midsize SUV is still a volume seller for the brand. The Terra has it good too, with it also being Nissan’s best-selling SUV and looking handsome while doing it.
With that being said, the Montero Sport now has to play a bit of defense against the Terra. Being the more senior of the two, does it still stack up? The Terra’s mounting an all-out offensive against its rivals, Montero included, so does it have what it takes to trample and topple Mitsubishi’s SUV?
The Terra has a rather regal design to it with a bit of attitude. Compared to its predecessor, we think that this new one looks better, but compared to the Montero, it’s not totally clear-cut. With broad shoulders and hips, the Terra strikes a good balance between looking class and aggression, and with its modern styling which includes LEDs, shapely panels, and a face that’s easy to love, is it really better? Chrome may not be our top pick in terms of material choice, but the Terra wears it well. The headlight shape gives it a very upscale look, borrowing a few of the Nissan Patrol’s elements and putting it into a smaller form factor. Whether or not this look is for you depends on how much you like Nissan’s design language, and more conventional yet modern SUV design in general.
Meanwhile, the Montero Sport is modern, yet ironically the older of the two when it comes to design. Mitsubishi has been playing with the Dynamic shield design for quite some time now, and the Montero Sport is definitely on the more modern side of the design spectrum, some would even say futuristic. We’ve covered the Montero in-depth several times now, but we’ll say it again. There are a lot of people that like futuristic designs and the Montero’s popularity and brand contribute to that fact.
There’s little to nitpick between the two. Both come with LEDs, both come with two-tone wheels, and both come with ample ground clearance to attack the urban jungle. Style-wise, however, it’s a toss between the two. We feel that the Terra has a totally different appeal compared to the Montero, evoking classy design elements in contrast to the Montero Sport’s more futuristic and, dare we say, sportier elements. Perhaps the only thing that we think gives the Terra the edge is the age of the design. Dynamic Shield’s fine, Mitsubishi has found a lot of success with the language, but it is older than the Terra, so the win would have to be awarded to the Terra by just a hair.
The main pain point with the Terra before this current one was the interior. The midsize SUV in its prior incarnation had an extremely plain interior. Now, however, we think it’s at least a top-three finisher when compared to other rivals in the category. Nissan could have just dyed the leather black in its top-spec trim, but the Japanese brand actually went the extra mile and offered red leather on the dashboard. Other trim levels and color options are also available, but we think that the red really pops without looking too out of place. On top of that, we get quilted leather in the top-spec trim. Sitting in the Terra makes you feel special, and the attention to detail in the model really is one of the best we’ve seen in the segment so far.
Meanwhile, the Montero Sport stayed stagnant throughout the years. Sure, there are a few amenities added for the GT variant, but they can only do so much to hide the Montero’s rather dated look. It’s safe to say that the Montero Sport does have a better gauge cluster in the top-spec trim, but you can only get that in the top-spec trim. We feel that the practicality is also at par with the Terra if not a little less because the Nissan has a switch-activated tumble seat at the rear for easy access to the third row. To prevent beating on Mitsubishi too much, however, it’s still a fine interior on its own. Leather seats are plush, and the steering wheel is well-shaped, but the Terra is just better.
Unfortunately for Montero fans, but fortunately for Terra fans, the Nissan takes this. The once ugly duckling of an interior has now developed into a beautiful leather-clad swan.
On the infotainment system front, the Terra comes with a 9-inch unit from Nissan. The system shrinks a bit when you get to the lower trim levels, but otherwise, all models will come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto baked in. On top of that, you get a BOSE eight-speaker audio system and even an 11-inch flip-down monitor for your rear passengers to enjoy. On top of that, the reverse camera is standard and pairs with the rest of Nissan’s cameras around the car to form the Around View Monitor, or AVM for short. This feature is one that Nissan has been pioneering in its products since the launch of the Terra, and it is a part of the Intelligent Mobility suite of features. That means that the Terra gets even more driving assistance and safety features as a result, but more on that later.
Meanwhile, the Montero Sport has an 8-inch infotainment unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The gauge cluster of the Montero is arguably better than the Terra’s because it has a fluid TFT panel that you can customize. You get a 220V socket inside as well which is good for powering an external monitor, a laptop, or a phone charger, but that’s about it apart from the standard top-of-the-line offerings that you see on other SUVs. You do get a backup camera and sensors, but nothing in the way of a 360-degree monitor.
The technology package in the Terra’s superior to the Mitsubishi. Even with the flashy gauge cluster, we feel that there’s some merit in analog gauges, still. We feel that there are a ton more useful and polished features in the Terra. It’s a bit of a landslide victory here for Nissan so far, but will Mitsubishi be able to mount a comeback?
On the safety side of things, the Terra’s got a lot of kit, perhaps one of the best safety packages in the industry right now. Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility suite of features is really great, and we love the fact that the Around-View Monitor is a part of it. In addition to that feature, you also get forward collision warning, intelligent emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver alertness monitoring, blind spot warning, hill start and hill descent assist/control, a tire pressure monitoring system, and six airbags in total with ABS and EBD as standard, as well as stability control.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s safety package is still good, it’s just not as amazing as the Nissan’s. There are, however, a few unique additions to the Montero like the Brake Override system, trailer stability control, ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation system, and traction control. Otherwise, it’s mostly the same feature set as the Terra minus the 360 camera, driver alertness feature, and the omission of one less airbag because the Montero has seven and not six.
If safety was all about the number of airbags, we’d give it to the Montero, but making the car easier to drive is also paramount in the world of safety. While both cars will keep the driver from rear-ending someone because they’re not paying attention, and both cars come with a full suite of airbags, the Terra is actually made easier to drive because of the around-view monitor. Thus, it gets the win.
The Terra takes the tried-and-tested diesel mill from the Nissan Navara, and it continues to do so into the next-generation model. The 2.5-liter turbo-diesel mill makes 187 hp and 450 Nm of torque, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The Montero has a 2.4-liter turbo-diesel engine, but that comes with a power figure of 179 hp and 430 Nm of torque mated to an eight-speed transmission.
Now, with both figures on the table, it’s easy to see that the Nissan Terra is the more powerful and the torquier of the two. The Mitsubishi has an extra gear up its sleeve, and that’s worth acknowledging, but as it stands, the Montero is one of the weaker performers out in the market if torque figures are a concern for the buyer.
No matter how you cut it, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is more affordable everywhere compared to the Terra. The Terra commands a premium base price of P1,709,000 at the time of this article’s writing, while the Montero Sport can be had for as little as P1,568,000. Of course, you’re getting base manual models with these trims so let’s look at the other end of the spectrum.
At the top-spec, both models cross the P2,000,000 mark, and once again the Montero Sport is the more affordable option between the two. At P2,370,000, the Mitsubishi is more affordable, and given that it has just enough features, it’s a rather good deal. This is in contrast to the Terra where you have to fork over P2,399,000, which is not too expensive unless you’re willing to make the Nissan look a lot sportier with the Terra Sport variant which comes in either 4x4 or 4x2 configurations. If we look at the 4x4 Terra Sport, we’re looking at a price of P2,459,000 sans the Aspen Pearl White option.
Due to the fact that the standard top-of-the-line models are very close in price, we’re going to award a tie there, however, the Montero is more affordable if you’re willing to forego a number of features. As such, Mitsubishi takes its only victory in this comparo.
Winner: Montero Sport
At first, we thought it would be close in terms of score, but looking at the minor details of this comparison, you will see that Mitsubishi did put up a good fight against Nissan. The Terra just won round after round and spec for spec, so it was rather difficult for the Montero Sport to score rounds. Regardless, it’s tough to deny that the Terra is well-equipped to slay staple SUVs like the Montero Sport and even the Fortuner.
As the story goes, the Terra was late to the SUV party when the first model came out, now in its second generation, however, it’s leaving other competitors in the dust. With that, we crown the Terra as the winner of our Head to Head.