If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve been wanting to buy a Montero Sport either as a family car, a workhorse, or you just really prefer a huge vehicle to conquer the unforgiving Philippine roads.
Don’t fret, a lot of people are with you. As a matter of fact, the Montero Sport nameplate is the second best-selling SUV in 2017 with 19,617 units sold in total. Now, that’s quite a number, and its population on the streets proves that.
Before the update, the Montero Sport GT has a plethora of safety features that can put a smile on anyone’s face: seven SRS airbags, hill start assist and hill descent control (that actually work), ISOFIX child seat anchors, and a Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body.
Aside from those, it also has the automatic emergency braking and blind spot warning (BSW) systems. Both can be refined a bit, though, as the emergency braking is quite sensitive, while the BSW can’t detect motorcycle rider sometimes. Guess you have to really use your side mirrors, which is the basic (and right) thing to do.
Before 2017 ended, two important toys were added to the Montero Sport GT without increasing its price tag. First is the Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) that controls the vehicle’s power when parking and driving through tight spaces. It’s a cool feature that somehow gave me confidence considering this car’s size.
The next one is the thank-god-for-this-feature called Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). As someone who drives through NLEX everyday, this is a relief as I can engage the cruise control and forget about it. The car brakes for you with a safe distance, and accelerates as the road ahead clears out.
These high-tech features are paired with the Montero Sport’s 2.4 MIVEC Clean Diesel engine under its hood. The 181-hp, 430 Nm torque mill feeds power in linear fashion, with the power spread throughout its 8-speed transmission. This is advantageous for fuel-efficiency and passenger comfort (no abrupt acceleration). I wish I can say the same for the engine sound, though, as it kinda penetrates the cabin at times.
Nevertheless, the power output is reserved, which you can tap anytime, delivering enough force to catapult the SUV into speeds I feel confident to overtake with. It has paddle shifters as well, just in case you want more power. But honestly, I didn’t feel the need to downshift even when the car’s loaded with seven passengers. Its braking power is enough, too, but can be improved.
The Montero Sport’s steering is a bit of a workout for me, which is kind of a problem when maneuvering in tight spaces. On the upside, it gives this fairly huge machine stability on highway cruises and makes the overall handling on-point. There are also less understeer from the default rear-wheel drive SUV, and engaging its high-range all-wheel drive (4H) gives you added traction. You can also thank its active stability and traction control for the proper correction in steering through curved roads.
With its engine behavior, the Montero Sport GT registered above average numbers in fuel economy. City crawls read 6.1 km/l, while faster runs at 60 km/h average put out 13.1 km/l. Highway cruise nailed at 90 km/h clocked in 17.3 km/l.
While driving the Montero Sport is something you’ll enjoy, its interior amenities will make you love the SUV even more, both as driver and passenger. The front cabin is plush-looking and worthy of its price. It has soft leather trims on the dashboard and door panels, an automatic dual-zone climate control that quickly cools the car, and a huge easy-to-use infotainment system at the center.
Ergonomics is king, too, with all the buttons and controls within arms’ reach. The center console on your right elbow is also of perfect size. Although, if I were to nitpick, Mitsubishi could have used a better material for the casing in the middle that houses the gear shifter and 4x4 controls. See, the piano black plastic can easily be scratched, and its silver trim doesn’t look that elegant. Good thing they’re soft-touch, so we’ll let that pass.
There are cellphone holders at the sides of the gear shifter casing, which is cool as you won’t be able to see notifications from your phone from there, therefore, less chances of you using your phone while driving.
And oh, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, speed-sensing door locks, tilt-adjustable and telescopic steering wheel, side mirrors that fold when you lock the door, power windows that go up and down with just one touch, and wide-angle parking cameras — these conveniences are found in the GT variant, which I absolutely like.
The ride comfort for each of the Montero Sport’s passenger is notable. Its front and rear suspensions are tuned just right — soft enough to rough it up and also stiff for less bounciness. It gears toward being car-like rather than a high-riding utility vehicle; minus the body roll, of course. And yes, road and wind noise isolation can still be improved.
One thing I also love about the Montero Sport is its tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). It displays live info of your tire’s pressure, especially on those times when the tires inflate when they get hot. The TPMS is really handy during long drives and can keep you safe from tire blowouts.
The SUV also knows when you’re driving for too long and tells you that you have to rest. Ignore it and you’ll surely get a piece of its mind. Though beeps, of course.
Speaking of long drives, the Montero Sport’s seats are comfortable as a couch for the first and second rows — lots of wiggle room for its occupants. The driver and front passengers are also gifted with power-adjustable seats for convenience. I just wish there are USB ports at the second row to charge gadgets.
As for the third row, save it for the kids and small adults. The legroom at the last row is a bit limited, you can just fit someone standing 5’6” and below there; blame that on the non-sliding second row. Thankfully, entry and exit is easy with the stumble seats, and cupholders are present.
What the Montero Sport lacks in the third row was made up for at the trunk space. With all seats erect, it can already carry overnight bags for seven people. This can be maximized further by folding all the rear seats. We don’t have the exact total volume but we were able to fit four balikbayan boxes (20x20x20 inches) inside with all the seats folded. If not for the lack of power tailgate, this would have been the best cargo area out there.
I won’t talk much about the Montero Sport’s exterior design because as I’ve mentioned, almost 20,000 of its range have been seen running on Philippine streets these days. I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with how it looks. I just want to point out three things.
One, its design is distinct and unmistakable, largely because of its dynamic shield design and “crying” LED taillights. It also has a generous amount of chrome, which fans of this styling will surely love. Lastly, as opposed to the Ford Everest’s balanced overhangs, the Montero Sport has less front and more rear, which is proven to be advantageous to interior space.
With all these things in consideration, I deemed that the Montero Sport GT 2.4 4x4 AT is a value-packed midsize SUV at P2,162,000 (new excise tax rates applied). It’s a safe, comfortable, powerful, and fairly economical SUV that surely gives its competitors a run for their money. After all, its nameplate is the second best-selling SUV last year. That won’t be the case without reason, right?
Now, does it have what it takes to be the one of the best, if not the best, SUVs out there? We definitely think so. I just wish they add a light to the driver’s vanity mirror for, well, vanity.