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 must admit I didn't read many positive reviews about this SUV in earlier years but I new they had given it an overhaul and the price was right so I bout it. The bottome line is that I have really gotten my dollars worth from this car. I do alot of hunting and the ride is very "Non-car like" Yet in the field I was impressed with the 4WD on the fly. Also, the flexibilty with the back seats is a big plus.