Monday, January 4, 2016

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Montero Sport (2008-2015)

This best seller goes under the hands of Myk Belmonte in its last hurrah.

2008-2015 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

Mitsubishi's Pajero/Montero/Shogun (whatever you call it around the world) is so popular in its home country some unrelated SUVs produced by the automaker are named after the Pajero. Recipients include the Strada/Triton based Pajero/Momtero/Shogun Sport and the Minica derived Pajero Mini (shorter version)/Junior (longer one) and its successor the Pajero iO. If there is one car similar to a political dynasty - hey it's election time! - prevalent, this would be the one. Right now, the smaller models were killed while the two larger ones remain.

As what we said above, the first generation Montero Sport (Challenger in Japan) was based from the same era Strada with parts sharing being common but the wheelbase is built from the second generation Pajero, making it a younger model in the hierarchy. The second generation model is now 100% derived from its pick-up truck sibling, especially the Pajero had gone larger and expensive. As with other PPVs, most Montero Sport models are assembled in Thailand while some local production are done in Bangladesh and India.

While the Philippine market had the first generation model launched in 2005 (whoever had it launched must be crazy, especially it was nearly 10 years old at that time), the second generation was introduced after it had a debut in the Moscow Auto Saloon in 2008. It had recipes for success: modern engines, good looks, and one important factor, a third row seat. So successful it dislodged the Toyota Fortuner in terms of sales from 2009 to 2013, but the title returned to Toyota the following year. At first, 4x4 models were made available which include the basic GLS and fully clothed GLS SE but 4x2 variants later followed which included the GLS and GLX. Numerous changes occurred throughout selling life, which will be discussed in these chapters.

Value and Costs
With this undercutting the Fortuner in terms of price, Montero Sport units are technically cheaper especially older units can be had for P660,000 while late models of the upper variants cost in the P1,200,000 range and expect to drop even further. When it comes to the variants, the base model would be the GLS 4x2 AT but was supplanted by the GLX 4x2 MT, which is technically the GLS but offered with a manual transmission. The GLS would receive an engine upgrade resulting to more power in 2011 and also killing the GLS SE infavor of the GT-V while the GLX and GLS MT 4x4 shouldered on until these were treated for more power and was renamed as GLX-V Limited and GLS-V respectively. For 2012, a GLS model with a 3.0 V6 gasoline engine was added while the GLX was resurrected as the entry level model. 2015 saw the launch of special edition models which added a larger touchscreen monitor (GLX), leather seats (GLS-V) or sunroof (GLS-V and GT-V), depending on the model. Updates occurred in January 2010, February 2011, October 2011, middle of 2013, November 2014, and August 2015 involving ether equipment additions, engine and transmission upgrades, or cosmetic changes.

Recalls were occurred in 2010 involving GLS and GLS SE models to check the proper tightening torque of the mounting bolts of the upper suspension arm and in 2013 for insufficient weld condition and power driver's seat. Other issues include the EGR valve due to low quality fuel for older models and for automatic transmission units, the inhibitor switch that may cause the transmission to pop to neutral to drive due to corrosion. Lastly the one thing to be wary about is the smoky nature of this vehicle, especially for 4D56 powered units. Oh, about that "sudden unintended acceleration" cases, these are attributed to driver errors so make sure to check your surroundings and if the floor mat bites the accelerator and if check if you are stepped on your brakes before shifting.

Exterior and Interior
No more boxy lines prevalent in the model it replaced, instead sharper lines from its pick-up truck sibling (without that awkward J-line) that flows smoothly to the rear comes standard. The GT-V sports a different grille that differentiates the models below it, it was ditched in a 2014 update. A 2015 update had later models gain body stickers and daytime running lights.

Inside, controls are within reach of the driver but other than that, it is utilitarian at best. Depending on the model and year, some variants gain a multi information display but replaced by a touch screen monitor while the radio for earlier models are a basic JVC head unit. Another change is the aircon vents for the rear occupants are situated in the side for pre-2012 models, with most facing front. For those who love to ride, do take note that the second row has an abundance of legroom but it is pushed by the wheel wells which renders poor seating position for third row occupants. Plethora of other interior equipment include paddle shifters (GLS-V and GT-V only), tire pressure monitor system, and later models get DVD and navigation system head units.

The first engine that we will discuss would be the one that powered the earlier models, which would be the 4M41 3.2 having 163hp at 3,500rpm and 343Nm at 2,000rpm. Next in line would be a 4D56 2.5 which gets 134hp at 3,500rpm and 314Nm at 2,000rpm for non-VGT models while those with VGT technology gain 176hp at 4,000rpm and 350Nm at 1,800-3,500rpm for automatics and 400Nm at 2,000-2,850rpm for manuals. The rare gasoline powerplant is a 6B31 3.0 V6 which possess 217hp at 6,250rpm and 281Nm at 4,000rpm. Let us discuss how these engines perform: the 2.5 non-VGT is decent enough for city driving and some occasional long drives but initial power is anemic and would do fine once the turbo kicks in, going for the 2.5 VGT will give you that sudden surge in the beginning, the 3.2 has ample power for overtaking and for highway driving, and the 3.0 gasoline gives you more refinement and power at the expense of fuel consumption.

Driving Impressions
Unlike other rivals whose ride quality will remind you of their origins, the Montero Sport's is smooth and comfortable. While there is ample power that inspires you to drive fast, body roll at high speed handling is prevalent especially that the suspension settings are tuned for comfort plus braking for VGT powered models would need more better brakes. While there is much power on tap, driving responsively is what we advise.

Mitsubishi had a winner here, especially that it was amenity loaded, had a smooth ride, imposing looks, powerful engines, and priced well. Although there are some drawbacks, the Montero Sport is a good value if you are looking for a cheap second hand SUV.

The Good:
  • Comfortable
  • Wide range of variants
  • Cheap to buy
The Bad:
  • Body roll at high speeds
  • Not so spacious interior
  • Braking for high models
The Pick: 2.5 GLS/GLX is more than enough

Engines: 2,476cc 4D56/T and 3,200 4M41 I4 diesel, 2,998cc 6B31 V6 gasoline
Power: 134hp @ 3,500rpm (2.5 non-VGT), 176hp @ 4,000rpm (2.5 VGT), 163hp @ 3,500rpm (3.2), 217hp @ 6,250rpm (3.0 gasoline)
Torque: 314Nm @ 2,000rpm (2.5 non-VGT), 350Nm @ 1,800-3,500rpm (2.5 VGT, AT), 400Nm @ 2,000-2,850rpm (2.5 VGT, MT), 343Nm @ 2,000rpm (3.2), 281Nm @ 4,000rpm (3.0 gasoline)
Fuel Consumption: 5-9km/L (city), 9-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic (GLS, GLS SE, GLS-V 2011, GLX), 5-speed automatic (GLS gasoline, GLS-V 2012-onward, GT-V)
Suspension: Front double wishbone, rear 3-link

Price (New): P1,198,000-P1,848,000
Price (Now): P660,000-P1,200,000
On Sale: 2008-2015
Rivals: Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Isuzu Alterra, Isuzu MU-X, Toyota Fortuner

Diamond Motors - Valle Verde - (02) 671-9590


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  2. I am looking for a used one..Do I get the non-vgt or vgt? it seems their price is not that different. Mostly used in the city plus occasional road trips to baguio. Thank you for your site..really helps a lot by comparing that many trims

  3. the non vgt variants now are being sold at a very affordable price around 980k you'll be getting more than what you pay for if you're looking for a comfortable suv even with the non vgt turbo it has enough power to get this car going you will have no regrets buying this suv.