The Mitsubishi Montero Sport is an SUV with Sedan Smarts

We test drive the Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS 2.4 4x2 A/T.
IMAGE Eric Tipan

I’m loving how Mitsubishi has upped the level of smarts in its SUV lineup, specifically the Montero.

Tech that used to be available only to the high-end stuff like the Pajero and the top-of-the-line Montero has finally trickled down even to the two-wheel-drive models.

Before I give you the rundown of the innovative stuff, let’s first see why this has been the truck of choice for many SUV lovers.

Rigidity and comfort

The Montero's Strada roots is where it gets the “tough” image, including the body-on-frame design that sits on a ladder frame.

This chassis makes the ride stiff to resist twisting when going off-road but since you’ll be on EDSA more than on the Pinatubo trail, it has ditched the leaf springs for independent suspension (front and rear).

The result is a pleasant mix of rigidity and comfort. The bumps are palpable, but in a less pronounced manner, softened by the coil springs and hushed by the chassis’ NVH(noise, vibration and harshness)-absorbing qualities.

It claims to have a 700 mm water wading depth, which is good to have in your back pocket, but something you pray you’ll never need to test.

Photo by Eric Tipan.

Photo by Eric Tipan.

A robust 2.4L engine revs audibly under the hood, sounding throaty enough to trick you into thinking it has more than just 181 PS and 430 Nm of torque to spare.

These are not modest numbers at all, but in a vehicle this big, it is but normal to expect plus-sized numbers.

Acceleration is average unless you recruit all that pulling, or pushing, power (depending on how you think of torque) on the low gears. This is when the engine’s grunt makes this almost two-ton unit feel nimble and quick.

Fuel consumption is a very good 14.3 kilometers per liter, while traveling at 70 kilometers per hour and when traffic slows down to a crawl, I still got a very decent 8.5 km/l.

Despite the chunky body, it is surprisingly easy to handle; not light on the arms ‘easy’ but more because it’s so maneuverable. Add the fact that it has one of the best turning radiuses in the (SUV) business at 5.6 meters and you get an SUV that’s moves well even along the tight streets of Metro Manila.

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Photo by Eric Tipan.

Photo by Eric Tipan.

Montero's Smart Features

Now that the truck part of it is out of the way, let’s put the spotlight on its “smart” features.

1| The keyfob is handier than ever. I know the press-the-button-on-the-door-handle, which is still has, is kind of old already, but as a new feature, to open the hatch, you don’t even need to push any button. Just reach for the latch and it will unlock automatically.


2| There’s a Start/Stop button now, albeit it's on the driver’s left side. It takes a lot of getting used to but there’s an upside. If you want to cool the cabin before getting in, you don’t need to reach around the steering wheel to access the button.

3| USB ports are aplenty. There are two at the back, located behind the center console and one in front, just below the center stack. Rear passengers won’t need to leave their phones with you in front nor will they require longer cables.

4| It has a 6.75-inch touchscreen system that is easy to use and comes with Bluetooth connectivity. Pairing is also a cinch even though the system appears to be using third-party software.

5| Increasing the space around the front is the absence of a manual handbrake. This model now gets an electronic handbrake, which is easier to engage, safer because it applies the proper amount of braking force every single time, and will never need readjustment, like “manuals” do.

Photo by Eric Tipan.

Photo by Eric Tipan.

6| For couples who are hot and cold, there’s dual climate zone. This way I kept the breeze nippy on my part, literally, whil my wife kept the temp a little higher, which is just the way she likes it.

It has truck features people have always loved about Mitsubishis, but now it includes sedan-type amenities the younger market will appreciate in an SUV.

Did I mention that it even has an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be overridden by using magnesium alloy paddle shifters? It’s probably one of the smoothest-shifting in the segment, too.

If you’re not keen on spending P2.15 million for the top trim, the non-Premium GLS 2.4 4x2 A/T, which is more than half a million pesos cheaper at P1.769 million, can definitely cover your demands for a truck with sedan-like features.

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