Used 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport SUV Review

An attractive mid-size SUV in need of further refinement.




what's new

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.

vehicle overview

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.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.