1997 Mitsubishi Montero Review

Pros & Cons

  • Wonderful off-road agility, seven passenger seating, and powerful new engine.
  • Price makes this truck more expensive than the larger, more powerful GMC Suburban and Ford Expedition.
List Price Estimate
$557 - $1,122

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Mitsubishi was in the vanguard at the beginning of the sport-utility boom. Way back in 1989, when the Explorer had yet to be introduced, and the Grand Cherokee was little more than scribblings in a designer's notebook, the Montero had already evolved into a wonderfully practical four-door design that offered excellent utility and go-anywhere capability. As the years passed, however, the Montero moved further and further up-market as Mitsubishi lavished their only sport-ute with additional equipment and expensive gee-whiz components. Today the price of the Montero starts at just under $30,000 and doesn't include options such as a roof rack, air conditioning, antilock brakes, or floor mats.

Realizing that they were losing sales as a result of this steep price, Mitsubishi penned a new shape, placed it on a proven platform, and came up with a not-very-original name for a smaller, less-expensive SUV. The Montero Sport shares a frame with the larger Montero, which is a good thing for those seaking off-road capability, but is shorter overall due to decreased front and rear overhangs. The Montero Sport's cabin holds five passengers instead of the Montero's seven-passenger capability. Interestingly, however, is the fact that the Montero Sport's cargo space actually surpasses that of the full-size Montero.

The Montero Sport is available in three trim levels (we currently only have information on two of them), the ES, LS, and XLS. The Es is powered by a four-cylinder 134-horsepower engine. We doubt that many people will opt for this value leader, and think that it is the lineup to act merely as a customer-grabber in the Sunday new car ads. The most popular model will probably be the LS 4WD automatic. The base price of this truck is $24,415 (including destination charges), and includes a powerful V6 engine. Add preferred packages #3 and #4 and the price climbs to $26,207. If you want power door locks, windows, and mirrors, you'll need to drop an additional $829; the Montero's alleged value is diminishing quickly.

Nevertheless, it is possible to get a well-optioned Montero Sport for less than $30,000. We think that by staying under that magic number, people will flock to Mitsubishi dealerships to check out the this new SUV. Be sure to check out the Montero Sport's rear seat, however, we were disappointed by the short seat cushion and lack of leg room. If you've got lanky teenagers to cart around, this may not be the right truck.

1997 Highlights

The Montero is unchanged for this year.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Mitsubishi Montero.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great SUV for under $5K
LS 4dr SUV 4WD
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.
Good used rig
SR 4dr SUV 4WD
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.
SUV for under $5K
LS 4dr SUV 4WD
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.
Best car I've ever owned
LS 4dr SUV 4WD
I love this car! I bought it new in 97 and I’m so happy it’s lasted. It’s 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 I’ve only half used up the engine so here’s looking at another happy 12 years!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Mitsubishi Montero

Used 1997 Mitsubishi Montero Overview

The Used 1997 Mitsubishi Montero is offered in the following submodels: Montero SUV. Available styles include LS 4dr SUV 4WD, and SR 4dr SUV 4WD.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Mitsubishi Montero?

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Which used 1997 Mitsubishi Monteros are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Mitsubishi Monteros you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mitsubishi Montero for sale - 2 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $13,261.

Find a used Mitsubishi for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $15,608.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mitsubishi Montero for sale - 3 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,442.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mitsubishi for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $17,266.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Mitsubishi Montero?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mitsubishi lease specials
Check out Mitsubishi Montero lease specials