It took a very long time for the Montero Sport to receive a facelift. Until now, Mistubishi’s venerable SUV has retained much of how it used to look and its performance since taking on its Dynamic Shield generation.
Now with a nip and tuck, plus a few added bits and bobs here and there, what you see here is the 2nd or middle variant of the Montero Sport lineup: the GT. While some may find entry-levels a bit too bare and the top-of-the-line just too much to pay for, what does the GT have to offer in terms of looks, performance, and value?
Okay, let’s start off with saying that the Montero Sport (hereon: “Monty") now looks a whole lot better. Personally I’ve waited a long time for this update, and I must say I’m not disappointed. Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield design always did meld very well with the Montero’s overall scheme, and the relocated fog- and signal light housings – now on the sides of the bumper – give it a more macho look.
Gone is the bulbous overall shape and instead we now have a more flowing silhouette for the Monty. Creases and angles are found all around and while it literally gives this SUV an edgier appearance, it serves well to make it look a lot less bulky than it really is.
Also, if you might have missed it when looking at the front, this particular variant of the Monty has a wrap-around kit that comes straight out of the factory. From a front bumper chin to its side-steps / skirts, a rear skirt, and a wing atop the tailgate, this is probably Mitsubishi’s way of putting the “Sport” into the monicker. (The kit is an option, by the way. If you want your GT to look full-on stock, you can do so.)
It does take away from the sharper edges elsewhere on the bodywork, and gives the Monty a boxy bottom, though. If you're not a fan of it, you'll be relieved that it's an optional extra so your ground clearance remains uncompromised. There are other bits and bobs that were added to this "GT", but let’s talk about this again later.
Now, if there’s anything the Monty had standing out as truly its unique feature, it had to be its taillights. A lot of people were taken aback when it first came out, but based on how many have been bought since its first appearance on the previous Monty, and even as we speak. we can say that it still works in the overall scheme of things.
One of our editors previously described it as “crying” taillights, and with good reason. When everyone else designed up- or sidewards, Mitsu went straight down, literally. This design cue has carried on to the current generation, albeit now a bit shorter.
Mitsubishi wasn’t much for anything excessive, really. Whether it was a company or a public-opinion-related update, that ever so slight nip to the taillight assemblies made the rear of the Monty look all so much neater and more cohesive to the entire car. Good stuff!
Aside from the wraparound kit, nothing much has changed in the Montero Sport. The inside has some, though, in the form of leather upholstery and power-adjustable seats. Also, much to the joy of our well-known Features and Test Drive Editor (and for those who may be of his same height), the GT also comes with a height adjuster for both front seats! Hooray!
But I digress.
The seats are well padded but for the wider individual, you may find the front seats - the seats themselves and space - a bit snug. I find my right knee hitting the center stack a lot, plus getting the seat to the most comfortable position may take some awkward fiddling around of the switches.
Everything from how the dash and door cards look very nice and clean, though, and that’s always a big plus. Now, I don’t know if it’s just me and being a bit on the stockier side, the ergonomics feel a bit off, too. While our above-mentioned Editor may find it otherwise, I think everything is a bit too close to the driver. Example: the cupholders. They’re too far back on the center console to provide a comfortable reaching angle.
Plus Mitsubishi saw fit to add this little cubby hole on a lower level of the center stack. Its actual purpose I fail to see, but if one were to put, say, a cellular phone in there, that’s a bit of a squeeze to get your things out from.
Speaking of space, we’ll get to more about space very shortly. Otherwise, allow me to remind you that the look and feel of the Monty’s interior are still up there in terms of appearance, materials, and quality.
Yet another novelty added into the mix is its digital gauge cluster. Say goodbye to analog needles as the GT has a slew of ways to show you the information you need.
Drivers can choose whether to have the main, center dial shown as a tachometer or a speedometer, while a second and smaller gauge can show you your fuel efficiency. Now, one thing that really did catch my attention is that smaller gauge. No, not because it’s beautiful or functional, but because of the fact that it resets to the “L/100 km” unit for fuel consumption every time the Monty is started.
If it sounds like I’m nitpicking, maybe I am. But this really is the first time I’ve encountered something like this and for someone who really looks at getting everything set up to how they are wanted to be set up, this takes a lot away in terms of “full customizability” which the new cluster boasts of doing.
Now, let’s get to talking about space – passenger space, that is. As with the previous generation and until the current one, I can’t quite put a finger on whether the middle row’s floor is too high, or if its seats are just too low. With that, you have to take on a more “squat” position when riding in the Monty’s middle row.
While the materials prove as much support and comfort as the front seats, lateral space is quite limited at best. You can squeeze three adults for a snug fit, but for a long drive, that might be a bit too uncomfortable.
As we move to the third row, not much can be said, really. You can expect it to be best reserved for children, not even smaller adults. It may be cumbersome to get it up or down, but hey, you can’t have it all (*ahem* push-buttons for up and down functions *ahem*). Legroom is quite limited, and foot room can use a lot of improving, hopefully in the next-gen Monty.
That lack of foot room can be explained and justified well, though. That’s because the third row folds flat, and that means you now have more space for all the cargo that you need to carry in your Montero Sport.
Being an SUV, the third row should be incorporated into the cargo space as best as it can be, and if that’s done by way of it being able to fold flat, that’s always a major plus point in our book.
Oh, before we forget, another nifty feature that the Monty GT gets is a power tailgate. It may not have a foot-sensor for ease of opening, but as we said, you can’t really have it all, right? It’s a good feature to add, regardless.
But how does it perform, the Montero Sport? 181 horses and an impressive 430 Nm of torque are put on paper, and you can rest assured that you can feel it. While it may not be as quick as, say, a bi-turbo, the Monty definitely has a punch to its engine. Torque is delivered almost instantly and it’s more than enough to get you going.
As for its ride and suspension, hear us out, people. Some may find that the Monty rides so much better now than it “first” did (the bulbous generation); and you know what, they’re really right for saying so. But, “more comfortable” is defined very far from being supple or just downright comfortable.
The Monty GT’s suspension had us rattling about. It leans farther towards the stiffer side of the suspension spectrum, and the ride gets more comfortable only when you start cruising at higher speeds, and on smoother roads. Otherwise, you can definitely feel everything our PH roads have to offer.
Again, it’s well worth noting that this is already a marked improvement, and that’s a good thing. For the next generation, perhaps a little more tweaking to make it better more and again, yes, Mitsubishi?
The Montero Sport GT has a price tag of a shade lower than PhP 2M (PhP 1,998,000, specifically). This particular one with the optional sports kit bumps up that SRP to an eye-watering Php 2,058,000. Comparing it to its likewise A/T brethren the GLS, that’s a significant PhP 229,000 bump in the price for leather upholstery, a new gauge cluster, a power tailgate - plus more for the wrap-around body kit.
Is it worth it, though? Let’s just say that the GT is a variant for someone who simply won’t settle for good, but wants something better looks-wise, with a few more upgraded pieces. Again, everything except what we just mentioned above can be seen in the base variant GLS, and the GLS isn’t a bad choice at all.
Sans the kit and the added bits and bobs, a Montero Sport is still a Montero Sport, and you can expect it to ride the same, drive the same (better for this newer generation compared to the previous, actually), provide the same level of comfort it always has, and make you look really good using it, body kit or not.