Bought my '97 Montero used with 98,000 miles on odometer. Spent some money to replace timing belt, leaking waterpump and new muffler. Needed a 4WD SUV to explore backwoods and unpaved roads. The Montero meets all the requirements very, very well. It is well built, tough and I still get 20 MPG on the highway! Reliability is still unknown to me as I have only owned it for two months. Did a 1,100 mile drive with no problems what so ever. It took us every where and never complained. I am very happy with my decision to buy a Montero.
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.
we bought this car new in late 96 we do not go off-road much but it does the job well when needed it has been very reliable we do all scheduled maintance it is not comfortable for long trips we had twins in college and this car really held a lot of stuff, especially with a luggage carrier on top the jump seats are more of a nuisance in that it robs the rear of space but if you have small kids, they would be fine the mileage is not great - around 16mpg around town
This is a great looking SUV and has lot's of features. I've owned this vehicle 2 1/2 years and have had nothing but trouble. I don't take it offroad and I keep up the maintenance. It's been very expensive to repair (2 alternators, rear door hinges, 2 batteries) in addition to very expensive maintenance. I will not buy another Montero, cool truck, but too unreliable.
This is the second Full-size Montero I've owned. The first was a '95 LS that was terribly unreliable and incredibly expensive to fix...I thought perhaps it was a lemon and took a chance on a '97 with the larger 3.5 engine. What a mistake that was. Except for the terrible gas mileage (the best I could get babying it on the highway was 16 mpg), the truck performed well until it got to about 85,000 miles. Since then it has had: a blown head gasket, 5 alternators, 3 batteries, a water pump, and camshaft seals. In addition to the mechanical issues the electronic mirrors, remote entry, and antenna have given up the ghost. This truck is a rolling electrical nightmare. Steer well clear of this brand. I know I will.