Bought this Montero 2 years ago after doing allot of research for a reliable SUV for under $5K; this was one of 5 suggested. I didn't want something big like a Expedition or small like a Escape and this fit the bill. It had 141,000 miles and I knew it would need some money for maintenance items like timing belt, etc. I only paid $3800.00 so had room to do these repairs. Although I did have a cooling issue that turned out to be the radiator, overall I am happy with this Montero. It's a 3rd vehicle that I bought for hauling around the dogs and Home Depot runs that I drive allot more just because it's pretty fun to drive and simplistic in nature, which I like.
Tough 4x4 easy to shift into and out of four wheel drive, not to big or to small, easy to work on yourself with basic mechanical skills, gauges, cargo room (without 3rd row seats), tool kit/flashlight, basic SUV that were built to last (they made this model for many years overseas), unique in style - much cooler than the 1998 flared fender style or the completely restyled 2001 and new models (my opinion of course)
gas mileage sucks but I expected that from a SUV of this size, sunroof is cool but worthless for those in the front seats, stereo system, use of a timing belt instead of a timing chain..... The only complaint that really matters in my opinion is A/C isn't the greatest and NO REAR A/C...
Outside of the A/C I doubt I'd get rid of these unique SUV
Bought this 1997 Montero (full-size) LS 2 years ago after a ton of research on a GOOD SUV under $5K. I never heard of this SUV until I was researching and overall I'm impressed keeping in mind this is a 16yr old SUV. I knew my requirements and knew I had to get the Montero under $5K if the timing belt wasn't replaced recently. I found one locally with under 150,000 mile (141,236 to be exact). I had quite a bit of Maintenance work done, timing belt/water pump first, then within 6 months all the fluids and filters replaced. This is my 3rd car and is only driven about 5k miles annually. Although I've put some work into this Montero it's a rough tough SUV; truck like feel.
4x4, solid SUV, Big but not to big, tool kit in back, rear mount spare, towing, rugged
No rear AC in 1997 and earlier models, they added it in 1998 but did not like the body style change.
Huge sunroof but worthless for those in the front seats, cooling system - suggest upgrading the radiator to a 3 or 4 core
We were given this truck with 315,000 miles on it by a family member. We have had the truck for about 6 months and have put an additional 6,000 miles on it without incident. The truck drives like it is new and has a ton of power. The truck is a workhorse, having towed a camper many miles around the U.S. The previous owner was meticulous with maintenance and changed the oil with synthetic oil every 5,000 miles. The truck is from the south and still looks immaculate. We get lots of compliments when people see it for the first time and no one can believe that it has so much mileage on it.
Reliability, the stereo, our truck has a disc changer in the back, sun roof,seating for 7, space.
We have two very tall teenage sons and our other cars are a prism and a honda civic so this was a huge upgrade for our family.
The only negatives I have found are the gas mileage and the cup holders for the driver and passenger.
Love the truck in winter! Looks good and is holding up well except for a bolt walking out and bending out from the crank shaft to the harmonic balance. I almost had to replace the entire engine if they couldn't get the bolt out. Wish it were better on gas. It's a six, but sucks gas like an 8.
I love this car! I bought it new in 97 and Im so happy its lasted. Its reliable, very little repair, small stuff, but mainly the typical brake and tire service required for midsize trucks. Living in Southern California, I mostly drive town and freeway but also some off-road in the mountains - nice to have during our heavy rains. At 100,000 miles, my mechanic says Ive only half used up the engine so heres looking at another happy 12 years!
Love the height & visibility. I feel so safe and its comfortable.
In 1997 the 10-CD changer was so amazing but in 2009 - I have to play the ipod through the tape deck.