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The Montero is left in the dust by competition that offers superior power, comfort and ergonomics.
Off-road ability, seven-passenger seating, relatively easy to maneuver and park.
Old-school design, sluggish acceleration, busy dash layout.
The Montero's list of standard features has been lengthened, and a new Endeavor package adds even more luxury items to Mitsubishi's largest SUV.
Marketed since 1983, Mitsubishi's full-size sport utility ranks as an old-timer in its field, especially since the current four-door, seven-passenger version has been around since '92. To keep up with the burgeoning luxury SUV market, Mitsubishi's veteran mountain machine gains a short list of standard equipment items for 2000. These include a security system with keyless entry, a CD player, a roof rack, a spare-tire cover and, in an amazing show of generosity by Mitsubishi, floor mats!
If the floor mats aren't enough to satisfy your luxury demands, a new Endeavor package can be ordered to further enhance your Montero's opulence. Check this option and you'll be greeted by an interior featuring wood trim, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, a power sunroof, and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system. You'll also get heated outside mirrors and headlight washers.
Powered by a 3.5-liter, 200-horsepower V6 engine, the Montero moves adequately when asked to do so. It's 228 ft-lbs. of maximum torque help it to power over obstacles when off-roading and its ActiveTrac four-wheel drive can be shifted "on the fly" or set up to operate all the time. A variable shock-absorber system is included on all Monteros and has three settings: hard, medium and soft. These features conspire to make the Montero a capable off-road warrior. And while its 5,000-pound towing capacity looks impressive on paper, in the real world this SUV needs more power. A larger and/or supercharged V6 is in the works, but for now the 3.5-liter engine feels a bit overwhelmed by the Montero's 4,500-pound curb weight.
The interior design has a distinctively trucklike feel, despite its soft-touch surfaces and wood trim. The seating positions are high and upright, even by SUV standards, and the seats themselves are not as comfy as we've come to expect from vehicles in this class. A busy dash layout, featuring a multitude of buttons, switches and knobs, can make simple tasks somewhat daunting.
The Montero does get credit for having one of the largest sunroof openings available on an SUV. We also like its easy-to-use rear seats that quickly turn the Montero from a five-passenger vehicle into a seven-passenger vehicle...as long as children or small adults fill in those last two slots.
Mitsubishi's Montero is an interesting blend of luxurious conveniences, go-anywhere capability and unique styling. A few short years ago, that was enough to be competitive in the SUV market. Today, however, a weak engine and an overall lack of refinement make the Montero a tough sell. With companies like Jeep and Land Rover now offering a generous combination of advanced off-road ability and highly civilized on-road manners, the Montero is simply outclassed. We recommend either shopping elsewhere or waiting for the redesigned 2001 model.
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