When a refresh of a current-generation vehicle comes out, we often just write a feature about it to tell you about the new features, not a full-on review. But the case of Mitsubishi Montero Sport is a bit different, as it now has notable features that were missing in the previous iteration. It now sports a power tailgate, a new front fascia, and now has mobile app integration, but a bit more on that later. Despite being an already established model in the Philippine market, we had to take a closer look at the 2020 model had to offer. We took a gander at the new improvements to see if it still makes a good contender to the other pickup platform vehicles (PPVs) in its segment. Here’s our in-depth review of the 2020 Montero Sport GT 4x2 variant.
We here at the office have mixed reactions to the Montero’s new Dynamic Shield front. Some of us love it, while others hate it. But one thing we could agree on was that, like its brother the Strada, the design is ahead of its time, but in a good way. The Montero looks muscular and chiseled from almost every angle. Curves and swoops are a rare sight on the SUV, as its dominated by angled creases making the vehicle look powerful yet elegant.
With the new Dynamic Shield front face, the Montero Sport now comes with a new pair of lights on either “cheek” of the vehicle. Towards the top of its imposing face, is where the main headlight housings reside. This is where the powerful but refined LED projector bulbs can be found. As the location for the main source of lights the projectors do an excellent job at balancing brightness and throw all while maintaining a great cut-off point. All of these are crucial as to not blind other drivers on the road. The vehicle's throw extends to about three to four car lengths ahead with a width of about two vehicle lengths on either side. The cut-off is set up just below the trunk-line of normal subcompact sedans in order to maximize lighting without blinding the driver in front.
Mitsubishi knew that this generation of the Montero Sport would be a hit, so it decided to add some new updates and standardizations to the current model. Aside from sporting the new front corporate fascia, it now comes with a much shorter rear combination tail lamp. This was a point of contention to owners as it was fondly dubbed the crying tail lights. It looks like the Japanese automaker has listened to its customer base and opted to shorten the rear lights, giving the rear of the vehicle a much cleaner look. Other new additions to the SUV are a new rear spoiler, a sharks fin antenna, and a new set of 18-inch alloy wheels. Together these new additions make the Montero Sport even better in our opinion.
Complementing its tough exterior is a modern yet simple interior. Highlights for the cabin space include silver garnishes with the crowning jewel being the 8-inch infotainment system found at the center of the dashboard. The gray accent pieces found along the door sidings and on the dashboard bring a little life to the dark theme of the vehicle. It adds a bit of brightness to an otherwise plain interior. Piano black plastics are present in the vehicle, especially near the gear lever and infotainment area. We here at the office don't like these kinds of materials as they are prone to scratching and may take away from the clean look of the vehicle over time.
Passenger space is ample, with the exception of the third row, which is better suited for kids. When access is needed for the third row, the second row can be easily folded and tumbled forward allowing for better access. Speaking of the third row, these seats sit the occupant at a nearly 90-degree angle making for an awkward ride. Having a default and awkward seating position can be taxing on the occupants, so, its best to leave these seats to smaller passengers or kids. One gripe we noticed with the third row was its setup experience. We found it difficult to set up the rear seats as the seat cushions and the backrest had to be locked into place individually. A rather time-consuming process, especially for those who aren't nimble.
Despite having an awkward third row, where the vehicle makes up for it is in its cargo capacity. Cubbyholes are also plentiful in the vehicle giving the user plenty of storage options for smaller items. Even with its unconventional design, the third row folds flat creating a nice smooth surface to easily push or pull items in and out of the vehicle. Pair this with the Montero Sport's relatively low loading lip and it makes loading and unloading items a breeze. A trait we here at the office appreciate.
Most ladder-frame SUV's tend to perform slightly worse than a normal crossover when it comes to ride quality. The Montero Sport, on the other hand, is not like those vehicles. It sits in a happy medium between the two, giving you 218mm of ground clearance with an almost car-like ride. The 3-link coil spring suspension at the back does a great job of absorbing the uneven roads of Metro Manila, taking every bump and hump in stride. The suspension isn't perfect as some bumps on the road can unsettle the car but, nevertheless, it does an excellent job at dampening the impact forces creating for a smoother ride.
At the heart of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport’s dashboard is its 8-inch infotainment system. While the graphics of the user interface are simple it's still easy to use and comes with the same familiarity as the previous model. The touch screen system is responsive and easy to operate, although the absence of a volume knob left something to be desired. Sporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard make smartphone mirroring a breeze, a rather essential feature for the modern-day. Auto connectivity works seamlessly and quickly and the addition of an HMDI port adds to the convenience of the vehicle. Adding to the usability of the vehicle is a reverse camera along with power tailgate buttons and back up sensors. The power tailgate can be opened with a press of a button and can be closed and locked in the same manner. This feature is only available if the vehicle has been placed in Park. While these are great additions, especially in terms of convenience, the video quality of the reverse camera needs to be bumped up as there is a significant loss in detail harsh lighting conditions. This makes for backing up at night or during the day when sunlight can hit the reverse camera, particularly difficult.
The GT variants of the Montero Sport come with an LCD Instrument Meter display in place of a traditional gauge cluster. This can be at first a bit confusing to navigate but given a couple of minutes, its operation will become second nature to the user. The user interface is customizable to a certain degree, where certain gauge layouts can be displayed. It even comes with a third option in which the tachometer and speedometer come out as dials instead of gauges. A nifty feature to have if you want a more futuristic instrument display.
While most of its technology features are driver-focused the second-row passengers can also join in on the fun. The middle seats get access to a wall socket that can accommodate up to 220V, which is ideal for those who want to charge large devices such as laptops. Two USB ports can also be found next to the outlet giving in the second-row two areas in which they can plug in their mobile devices.
Another noteworthy feature added to the vehicle is the Mitsubishi Remote Control mobile app. It lets you open and close the tailgate, lower the windows, start the car, check its fuel economy, check for the remaining range in the fuel tank, and activate its car finder option that opens its headlights. A rather handy feature to have if you want you the cabin of your vehicle to be cooled without actually stepping inside the vehicle.
Despite its minor nuances, the Montero Sport is still one of the better-equipped SUVs in its segment. An added proximity-based keyless entry system would have been great as it would let the door lock and unlock the vehicle without the need to push a button.
In terms of safety equipment, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport comes well geared. It comes with, 3-point seatbelts all around, 6-airbags, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, vehicle dynamic control, and parking sensors. Other safety features include active stability control, hill start assist, trailer stability assist, childproof locks, ISOFIX anchorages, speed-sensing door locks, and side-impact beams. With a plethora of safety features available on the vehicle its not hard to see how it was able to score a 5-star and 4-star rating for the ASEAN NCAP for adult and child safety ratings respectively.
Driving the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is a familiar experience if you have driven a midsize SUV before. Those coming from sedans and crossovers might need some time to adjust to its size but the learning curve isn’t that steep. Its well-designed cockpit lets you get a sense of the vehicle's dimensions pretty quickly, giving you a confidence booster when driving the vehicle around.
Speaking of driving the vehicle around, the Montero Sport comes with great handling. Body roll is present but only shows up in tight maneuvering. In the city, the SUV handles well, its steering is nicely weighted and its suspension handles road imperfections easily. Driving the vehicle around through tight streets isn't hard as the view from the driver's seat gives you a commanding view of the road and your surroundings. At higher speeds, however, the Montero Sport tends to suffer from a touch of understeer when cornering but its traction control system does well to keep the large SUV in line.
The Mitsubishi Montero Sport is equipped with a 2.4-liter turbo-diesel engine, while still being relatively new it still lacks a bit of refinement. The diesel clatter is noticeable and a turbo whistle can be heard around at 1,000 rpm mark which can be annoying. The turbo spools up pretty quickly but the full force of its maximum torque won't be felt until the 2,500 rpm market. Once it gets to that rev range, however, your head will be shoved back into the headrest with lurching forward with gusto.
The Montero Sport is a capable performer coming in with 176hp and 430 Nm of torque. It’s one downside is its transmission which can be sluggish to go up a gear when you use the paddles to shift manually. The paddle shifters though do give a nice tactile feel, with the only caveat to them being that they do not rotate with the steering wheel. Moving back to the transmission, when its left in Drive it handles well, doing what you ask of it. It will shift quickly and smoothly and before you know it you will be hitting highway speeds in no time.
Just like the pre-facelifted model the 2020 Montero Sport GT 4x2 carries the same 2.4-liter turbocharged diesel engine paired with 8-speed automatic transmission. During our testing, the midsize SUV was able to return about 7km/L in heavy city traffic and 17.7km/L in real-world highway conditions. In a mixed city and highway driving conditions, the Montero Sport was able to put up a fuel economy figure of 14.4km/L. This goes to show that even with the new face the Japanese SUV is still as frugal as ever.
When the current generation Montero Sport made its first appearance in the Philippine market, it was an immediate hit. Even with the Dynamic front fascia, that statement holds true even today Despite its polarizing looks we at the office still like the vehicle for its forward-thinking futuristic design. Mitsubishi Philippines did an excellent job with the facelifted Montero Sport, starting where the pre-facelifted model left off. It may have a simple interior but the USB ports and the plug at the back add a bit more spice to it. These features go well with the vehicle adapting to its modern oriented style.
As tested, the model we reviewed is priced at P1,998,000. Near the P2,000,000 mark, you get a great looking SUV, that is paired with great features. Even with a relatively steep price, you can’t go wrong with the Montero Sport, as it comes feature-packed for its price.