Been driving Monteros for 15 years now and have had great reliability. Just blew a head gasket after 193800 miles on a great 1998 model. Sad to hear dealership say it'd cost 5-6000 min to get a rebuilt engine with 87k. I've had great experiences on hwy, beach, back roads and fields. Only thing I'd change would be the alarm system. Buying another brand SUV tonight but if I can find a way to fix my old dog for a few $ I would love to keep her around- I like the look and the ride.
I bought my Montero in 1997. I have over 150,000 miles on it now and it is still in great shape. The 24 valve engine still has a lot of life left in it. Like all Mitsubishis, it smokes from its seals, but with a quart of that stuff Pep Boys sells, the smoke goes away. I put a slightly higher tires, 265/70/15, on it and it drives better. I am so happy with my Montero I bought a second one (a 2006 Limited). It is a great vehicle for the money. I paid $26,000 for mine in 1997. My other choice would be a Toyota 4Runner, but the price was around $5,000 more.