The Mitsubishi Montero is an SUV that was initially introduced for the 1982 model year. After a 24-year production run and three generations of body design, the vehicle was discontinued by Mitsubishi following the 2006 model year due to sluggish sales. As a midsize SUV, the Montero competed directly with such vehicles as the Nissan Xterra, Ford Explorer and Jeep Commander.
The term Montero means "mountain warrior." In other parts of the world, the vehicle is known as the Mitsubishi Pajero and Mitsubishi Shogun. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport, though similarly named, is a completely different vehicle than the Mitsubishi Montero.
Mitsubishi Montero Styling
The 3rd-generation Mitsubishi Montero made its American market debut in the 2001 model year. The new design was considerably different than past versions of the SUV. A wider wheelbase and lower stance addressed previous road handling complaints and improved on-road performance considerably. The switch from body-on-frame to a unibody construction and introduction of a fully independent chassis also improved overall performance.
Dimensions for the final Mitsubishi Montero included a length of 190.2 inches, width of 74.8 inches and height of 74.2 inches. Inside, the Montero leaned towards luxury, with the use of upscale components and an ergonomic design. Three rows of seating accommodated up to seven passengers. Total cargo volume for the Mitsubishi Montero was 91.7 cubic feet. Unlike most SUVs, the vehicle featured a right-hinged cargo door.
Mitsubishi Montero Trim Levels
The Mitsubishi Montero was originally available in two trim levels – XLS and Limited. From 2004 and onward, only the Limited model was available. Standard features available on both trim levels were considerable.
The Limited boasted an interior feature list that included front and rear air conditioning, automatic climate control, power steering, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accents, power driver and passenger front seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, stowable 3rd-row seating, full power accessories, power sunroof, stereo system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer and automatic-off headlights. Exterior features included roof rails, fog lights, running boards, skid plates, 17-inch alloy wheels and front/rear tow hooks.
Mitsubishi Montero Performance
The 3rd-generation Mitsubishi Montero originally came with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivered 200 horsepower and 235 lb-ft. of torque. For the 2003 model year, a 3.8-liter V6 engine became the sole engine option for the Montero. This larger engine brought performance up to 215 horsepower and 248 lb-ft. of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability delivered 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.
Other notable performance features included traction control and a 2-speed transfer case. As of the 2003 model year, both Montero trim levels came standard with ActiveTrac 4-wheel drive.
Mitsubishi Montero Safety
The Mitsubishi Montero came standard with dual front airbags, front side airbags, an antiskid system and 4-wheel antilock brakes. In IIHS crash tests, the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero earned an overall grade of "Average."