Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corporation (MMPC) has recently refreshed its popular 7-seater SUV or PPV (Pickup-based Passenger Vehicle) called the Montero Sport, bringing with it a more handsome exterior, improved interior quality, and better technologies. For us to experience its improvements, MMPC has organized a media drive called Ryokō–a Japanese word meaning travel. This was held in Bohol, a perfect place to not just get acquainted with the new Montero Sport, but to enjoy the sights and sounds that Bohol has to offer.
Mitsubishi has given its new Montero Sport a sharper suit courtesy of an evolved Dynamic Shield grille. It’s more angular than before, making it look more aggressive and modern than its predecessor in my opinion. To bring it in line with the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup, the fog lamps and turn signals have been repositioned upwards, while the LED headlights get a sleeker design. There are also new, sportier 18-inch alloy wheels, in which the GT variant is finished in a sleeker two-tone finish. Lastly, the rear fascia gets a slight revision through a new set of shorter LED taillights and a redesigned rear bumper which now houses the rear reflectors.
To provide an improved interior ambiance, Mitsubishi has added a few premium touches such as the soft leather pads on the door handles and center console. Other minor changes include one-touch up/down on all four windows (at least from the driver’s window controls), new climate control buttons, a 150V outlet at the rear, and a new 8-inch touch screen infotainment system. It’s miles better than the previous system, responding to touch inputs in a snappier manner. It also gets TomTom built-in navigation, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Moreover, the GT variant gets a new 8-inch digital gauge cluster.
As we drove around the iconic Chocolate Hills, I was reminded of how the Montero Sport remains to be one of the class leaders in terms of driving dynamics. Under its hood is a 2.4-liter inline-4 4N15 MIVEC turbo diesel engine, producing 181 hp at 3,500 rpm and 430 Nm at 2,500 rpm. Acceleration isn’t delivered in a linear fashion, but with the help of the 8-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels, overtaking is easily accomplished without any fuss. It does not push you back to your seat in a way the 2020 Ford Everest Titanium 4×4 2.0 Bi-Turbo does, especially in the lower rev range, but the Montero Sport manages to maintain its pace much better than the Everest at higher RPMs. Oh, and as for fuel economy, we managed to do 10.1 km/l with hills and steep grades considered. Not bad!
Whereas the Terra trumps the competition with its soft ride, the Montero Sport combats this with one of the quieter diesel engines in its segment. Moreover, its refinement as a whole is still one of the best, keeping the cabin hushed even at triple-digit speeds down concrete roads. This made us enjoy Bohol even more as we were able to converse with our friends inside the car. As we drove through twisty roads, the Montero Sport kept its composure, suppressing the tipping, diving, and rolling motions that PPVs are generally known for.
The Montero Sport’s updates for 2020 are mainly on aesthetics and features, which is perfectly fine since it’s still one of the best performing PPVs out there. The Montero Sport continues to offer a cohesive balance between comfort, handling, and refinement, making it an easy PPV to recommend to anyone. For now, there are only two variants on offer: the GLS (P1,769,000) and GT 2WD (P1,998,000). Mitsubishi will soon launch a lower-end GLX variant while the GT 4×4 is slated to arrive in January 2020.