2002 Mitsubishi Montero Review
All-wheel drive increases stability on slippery roads.
The Mitsubishi Montero Sport is a sporty-looking SUV, with its low roofline, aggressive front fascia and fender flares. It sits high off the road, with more than eight inches of ground clearance, but its roof is only 65.6 inches tall, which is nearly four inches lower than a Jeep Grand Cherokee's roof.
Styling is very important to Montero Sport buyers, according to Mitsubishi. The low roof of the Montero Sport is an advantage in tight parking garages, and it's beneficial when loading kayaks or mountain bikes onto the roof rack. The outside door handles on the Montero Sport are small and hard to grasp, however.
The Limited model is distinguished by color-keyed fender flares, integrated fog lamps, and color-keyed tubular side steps.
The Mitsubishi Montero Sport is about the size of a Nissan Pathfinder.
Don't confuse the Montero Sport with the bigger and more radically styled Montero. The big Montero, with its 109.5-inch wheelbase, 104.6 cubic feet of passenger volume, and 5840-pound Gross Vehicle Weight starts near $32,000 and often tops $38,000 with all the options.
Our subject here is the Montero's little brother, the Montero Sport: 107.3-inch wheelbase, 93.6 cubic feet of passenger volume, and a GVW of 5000-5350 pounds. This is still no econo-SUV, however, with standard V6 power and a starting price closer to $23,000.
Overall, the interior of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is attractive. Our 2002 Limited model was upholstered in nice light and dark tones.
The front seats hold the driver firmly and offer adjustable lumbar support. In the Limited, they come with seat heaters. They don't feel as bucket-like as the front seats in an Explorer or Grand Cherokee, but they seem to keep the body in better control. A trip home after a weekend on the trails is relatively easy on your back, even after you've done things on your mountain bike that your chiropractor warned you not to do.
The instrument panel is straightforward. Gauges are easy to read with bold black numerals on platinum-colored faces. We didn't particularly care for the fake wood surrounding the instruments and window switches on our 2002 Limited model. The handbrake lever is spindly and the material in the center console/cup holder area looks and feels like plastic. The tall center console takes up some elbow room and makes reaching the switches to the available seat heaters awkward. And the inside door handles are small.
The 210-watt Infinity stereo sounds good.
Just to the left of the floor-mounted automatic transmission shifter is the shift lever for the transfer case. Drivers can choose between AWD, 4H, and 4L. AWD is used in all but the worst off-road conditions. 4H is for part-time four-wheel drive to be used in rugged terrain, when there's a chance of getting stuck. 4L is the low-range for steep off-road grades, deep mud, sand or anywhere else ultimate traction is required.
Montero Sport's low roofline leads to a more cramped feeling inside. Looking out of the windshield is somewhat turret-like. Headroom is adequate for normal-size adults, but tall people may find it restrictive.
In the back seat there's adequate room for three adults and, although the interior is slightly cramped for headroom, your legs will have no complaints. Limited models provide rear heating controls on the back of the center console.
The Montero Sport offers more useful cargo space than its small exterior dimensions might suggest. With the seatback raised for passengers, the Montero Sport has noticeably more cargo room than the Rodeo, or the Nissan Pathfinder. With the seatback folded down, there is just a milkcrate less of cargo room than you'll find in Toyota's 4Runner or Isuzu's Rodeo.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero, click here: 2002 Mitsubishi Montero.