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Available Montero Sport Models
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The 2002 Montero Sport receives a few changes and upgrades this year. Four-wheel-drive Montero Sports have a new mode called ALL4 four-wheel drive. This full-time all-wheel-drive mode automatically provides the appropriate traction for most on-road and light off-road situations -- without the driver having to activate anything. Engine choices remain the same, though the 197-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is now standard on XLS. In terms of features, there's a new appearance package for Montero Sport ES, and packages for XLS have been revised. Mitsubishi has also changed the seat fabrics and included metallic-faced gauges on LS, XLS and Limited. In case you are wondering, last year's XS "special edition" apparently wasn't special enough and has been discontinued.
Blame it on a lack of imagination on the part of Mitsubishi's name-creating team, but the Montero Sport bears little resemblance to the full-size Montero. While the Montero received a car-like unibody structure and an independent rear suspension in 2001, the Montero Sport continues to be the more truck-like vehicle. As more and more consumers are desiring SUVs that drive like a car, this isn't necessarily a good thing.
The Montero Sport is currently available in four trim levels: ES, LS, XLS and Limited. ES buyers receive power windows and door locks, single CD player, rear window wiper/washer and an overhead console with digital clock, map lights and compartments for sunglasses, garage door openers and security cards. Consumers stepping up to the LS will get three-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, tube-style side steps, a luggage rack, driver seat-height adjuster, 60/40 split-folding rear seat and tinted privacy glass.
Not enough? Go with the XLS or the Limited. The Montero Sport XLS adds integrated fog lamps, eight-spoke alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and outside thermometer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and remote keyless entry. There are also a couple of updated options packages available for XLS this year. Limited trim adds to the XLS and includes items like body-color detailing, a power sunroof, machine-finished alloy wheels, leather seating and front seat heaters.
Each trim level comes with either 2WD or 4WD. All 2002 Montero Sports are powered by one of two 24-valve SOHC V6 engines: the 3.0-liter model or the 3.5-liter version. Horsepower has dropped slightly this year, and the 3.0-liter now puts out 165 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. XLS and Limited receive the larger engine as standard, and this one makes 197 hp and 223 lb-ft of torque.
Even with the larger engine, we find the Montero Sport to be underpowered when gaining elevation at a steady pace, with its four-speed transmission hunting for the appropriate gears. The new ALL4 four-wheel-drive mode makes driving during inclement weather easier, as the system automatically applies power to the front wheels when needed. For more extreme off-road conditions, the system retains the choice of part-time four-wheel drive (with locked center differential) in both high- and low-range. Not that you'd want to take this rogue on any serious dirt trails -- a soft suspension system prohibits it from being a serious off-roader.
The interior is attractive and features an ergonomically sound design. User-friendly features include a center console with two cupholders, multiple power outlets and comfortable seats with lumbar support. Outside, the Montero Sport is one of the best-looking midsize SUVs available.
Although the Montero Sport deserves some consideration for your next SUV purchase, it shouldn't be a sole contender merely based upon its looks.
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