Mitsubishi Motors in the Philippines took an early lead in the 4X4 sweepstakes way back in the late 1980’s with its introduction of the first generation, long wheel base, high-roof Mitsubishi Pajero. I remember eager customers snapping it up, notwithstanding its anemic 4D56 diesel engine, preferring it to the Nissan Patrol and notwithstanding its more powerful straight-six diesel powerplant.
Over time, Mitsubishi saw its leadership in the 4X4 sport-utility vehicle (SUV) market in the Philippines gradually eroded with the introduction of small- and mid-sized models by other manufacturers, culminating with the launch in 2005 of the Toyota Fortuner, arguably the most popular SUV in this country today.
In order to regain market share, Mitsubishi Motors introduced its Montero Sport SUV for the 2009 model year. Despite being launched last August, I have never seen one up close until I paid a visit to a Mitsubishi showroom yesterday and saw it for myself:
Basically, the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport is a medium-sized SUV with a ladder-type chassis that is available with either a 4X2 or a 4X4 drivetrain. There are three variants available: the basic Montero Sport GLS 4X2, the mid-range Montero Sport GLS 4X4, and the top-of-the-line Montero Sport GLS SE 4X4.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS 4X2 is powered by the venerable four-cylinder 4D56 diesel engine, but upgraded this time with common rail direct fuel injection technology, and transformed into an intercooled turbodiesel powerplant as well. It has a displacement of 2,476 cc. and has a maximum power output of 136 ps., or about 134.14 hp. at 3,500 rpm.
On the other hand, the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS 4X4 and GLS SE 4X4 sport a more powerful powerplant: a four-cylinder 4M41 common rail, intercooled turbodiesel engine with a displacement of 3,200 cc. and a maximum power output of 163 ps. at 3,500 rpm. In non-metric terms, that comes to about 160.77 hp.
[Thanks Resty for pointing out my mistake! - Ed.]
Likewise, all three Montero Sport models sold in the Philippines come installed with a four-speed automatic transmission fitted with Mitsubishi’s INVECS II [For Intelligent & Innovative Vehicle Electronic Control System - Ed.] with Sportronic Mode to boot. No manual trannys here, sorry.
Both Montero Sport 4X4-capable models are equipped with what Mitsubishi calls its Super Select 4WD. What does it do?
“The Super Select 4WD II system offers shift on-the-fly driving modes. Drivers can choose between Full-time 4WD (4H), composed of a Viscous Coupling Unit (VCU) and center differential, Mitsubishi-Jeep full-fledged 4WD(4LLc), and rear-wheel 2WD(2H), which improves fuel economy and reduces noise.”
One reason why Filipinos buy SUV’s is its perceived ability to take on difficult road conditions and yet let its passengers ride in comfort. The 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport doesn’t disappoint with its front suspension consisting of double wishbone coil springs with a stabilizer bar added. Its rear suspension is made of 3-link coil springs with a stabilizer bar added as well.
Other off-road stats? The 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport has a 36° approach angle and a 25° departure angle. Most importantly, it has a ground clearance of about 215 mm. and can ford bodies of water – or Metro Manila’s flooded streets – up to 500 mm. deep.
Note the 70:30 rear folding seats of the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport with its folding center console, complete with cup holders.
Interior-wise, the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS 4X2 and Montero Sport GLS 4X4 share the same black water-repellent fabric-covered seats. On the other hand, the Montero Sport GLS SE 4X4 comes fitted with light gray leather-upholstered seats as befitting its luxe grade. Wood-grain dashboard and door trim mouldings are also standard with this model, although I personally don’t like this kind of accent.
So, aside from a more luxurious interior trim, what else differentiates the Montero Sport GLS SE 4X4 with its other siblings? It’s this: it comes fitted with what Mitsubishi describes as a “hybrid-type limited slip differential.” Learn more about how differentials work by clicking on the link.
Also worthy of note: the second and third seat rows of the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport can be folded almost flat to maximize its cargo-carrying ability.
Other features you might want to be aware of: the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport has its own built-in cabinet located at the rear cargo compartment for tools and other gear, as well as a hard shell cover for its bottom-mounted spare tire.
Are you ready for sticker shock? The price of the 2009 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS 4X2 is PHP 1,330,000, while the GLS 4X4 will set you back PHP 1,500,000. The GLS SE 4X4 tops them all at PHP 1,680,000.
Here are some more – and frankly better – pictures of a 2009/2010 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS sport-utility vehicle:
Now here we have another view of the driver’s position and dashboard of a 2009/2010 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS.
The front passenger’s seat of a 2009/2010 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS.
Another view of the rear passenger seats of a 2009/2010 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS.
The cargo compartment of the 2009/2010 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS with the third row of seats folded down flat.