Text: Brent Co / Photos: Dean Ang | posted September 25, 2012 11:36
The Petrol Option
The Mitsubishi Montero Sport rocked the Philippine automotive market when it was introduced back in 2008. It catapulted itself to the number one spot in the 7-seater SUV segment, almost instantaneously bumping off the Toyota Fortuner with a highly competitive package that offered good value for customers.
Since it was launched, however, it was only offered with diesel engine options. Not anymore.
Earlier this year, Mitsubishi reconfigured the Montero Sport to support a 6B31 3.0-liter SOHC MIVEC V6 engine; a motor it shares with the Outlander that MMPC sold before. This move was meant to address a demand in gasoline engine-powered variants, a segment which was being monopolized by the Fortuner with its 2.7-liter VVTi engine.
On the outside, the V6 looks just like every other diesel-powered Montero Sport variant except for a small MIVEC V6 sticker on lower right of the backlight (proper term for rear windshield or back glass). So no matter which variant you buy it looks the same, making very good business sense as customers who buy lower end models wouldn't feel left out.
The interior is likewise kept the same save for a few improvements. For tropical climates of the ASEAN region, Mitsubishi decided to add air vents for the third row passengers. The perfect gradient of grey, silver, dark charcoal and black has proven to be a good combination for the interior color. The seats are wrapped in fabric for the GLS MIVEC variant. The absence of leather seats negated the need for faux wood panels which I personally feel is a bit too outdated already.
The integrated vehicle monitoring, navigation and entertainment system is still the same OEM system supplied by AVT carried over from the last upgrade that came with the GTV. It was nice to have an all-in-one system, but I did find the system quite tedious to navigate through and sound quality wasn’t quite up to par with the first release that came with the JVC head units and possibly better speakers.
One quite noticeable difference with the engine is the absence of diesel engine vibration and the quiet starting and idling. The very capable 6B31 3-liter SOHC MIVEC V6 engine propels the vehicle with ease despite originally being meant for the smaller and lighter Outlander. Being naturally aspirated and V6, it had that grunt and rumble with virtually instantaneous access to 220 PS of power and 281 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a well geared 5-speed INVECS-II automatic transmission with Sportronic Mode and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; really a novelty since you don’t race an SUV... unless you were on the Dakar route.
On to the question of fuel consumption; something I’m sure you’d have been asking since the start of the story. In the city it averaged 5.5 kilometers per liter in moderate traffic, and about 4.5 kilometers per liter in heavy traffic. On the highway, I was able to get it to clock 11.2 kilometers per liter.
Suspension-wise, the Montero Sport has always been a darling among buyers due to its more comfortable ride compared to its arch-rival. However, the softer suspension does have its effects, as there is more body roll. It's still predictable, though. I did find this variant to have a strange balance issue compared with the diesel equipped version, most likely due to the V6 engine which is nearly 100kg lighter. The lighter weight certainly gave improvements to braking though.
If put side-by-side with its primary competition (the Fortuner 2.7L VVT-i), the Montero Sport GLS MIVEC V6 is more expensive by nearly PhP100,000. It does come with navigation, a more advanced entertainment system, and a more capable V6 engine.