As the perfect family vehicle for most Filipinos, the pick-up based passenger vehicle (PPV) segment is a hotly contested one. Essentially a three-row version of popular pick-ups, this segment offers ruggedness and practicality at a relatively accessible price tag. One of the nameplates dominating this segment is the Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Mitsubishi has given its popular PPV a mild refresh for 2020. However, are these upgrades enough to keep it competitive despite its fierce competition? Let’s take a close look at this Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 2WD variant.
The 2020 Mitsubishi Montero Sport’s looks have been given a more angular interpretation of their signature Dynamic Shield grille. The fog lamps have also been repositioned while the LED headlights have been given a sleeker design. There are also new 18-inch alloy wheels, revised and shortened LED taillights and a redesigned rear bumper. This particular GT 4×2 variant I have here has been dressed up with a bodykit, which somehow defeats the purpose of buying a high-riding pickup-based passenger vehicle (PPV) in the first place. As a whole though, Mitsubishi’s aesthetic upgrades to the Montero Sport make it look sportier, more modern, and more cohesive than before.
Less noticeable changes were made to the interior. Unsurprisingly, the shared interior with the Strada is filled with hard plastics. This isn’t unexpected since it’s a PPV after all, though Mitsubishi added padded soft-touch surfaces to the door handles and the center console. Drivers will appreciate the new tech goodies, such as the 8-inch Mitsubishi OEM infotainment system and the 8-inch digital gauge cluster (GT variants only). Overall, the changes make the Montero Sport’s interior a nicer place to be in, though the Ford Everest and even the similarly-priced SsangYong Rexton (also body-on-frame but not a PPV) offer a more luxurious interior space.
As for the new tech goodies, the new 8-inch Mitsubishi OEM infotainment system is a huge upgrade over the AVT-sourced unit from previous models. The user interface looks great and the touch response is very snappy. It even includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Likewise, the new 8-inch digital instrument cluster offers a lot of flexibility and customization. However, the display easily looks washed out under direct sunlight, which somehow ruins its modern look.
Rear occupants are provided with good amounts of head and legroom. Unfortunately, sitting three adults isn’t exactly a pleasant experience. Because the Montero Sport has the narrowest body in its class, second-row occupants will be fighting for shoulder room. At least rear occupants benefit from two USB ports and a 220V socket.
As expected, the third-row seats are best left for kids, though adults can comfortably last on short stints. With the third-row seats folded down, you’ll be left with 502 liters of space. Folding the third-row seats isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do since it’s a two-step process–a far cry from the Everest’s flat-folding third-row seats. At least it’s better than the Fortuner’s side-mounted mechanism. On the upside, folding the second row of seats increases cargo capacity further to a generous 1,400 liters.
Powering this Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 2WD is the same 2.4-liter inline-4 MIVEC turbo diesel engine as before. It continues to generate 181 hp at 3,500 rpm and 430 Nm at 2,500 rpm. Being the 2WD model, power is sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic. With competitors such as the Ford Everest receiving a duo of new 2.0-liter turbo diesel engines, how does this carry-over engine compare?
The single and twin-turbo motors of the Everest has the advantage when it comes to low-end torque. It’s also had to ignore the class-leading numbers of the American PPV, but numbers don’t tell the whole story. One advantage that the Montero Sport continues to have is its broad powerband. Whereas the Ford Everest doesn’t have as much pull at the higher RPMs, this Mitsu will continue to steam ahead. This makes the Mitsubishi Montero Sport better at sustaining its power when overtaking at provincial roads.
It also helps that the 8-speed automatic this PPV is mated to shuffles gears nicely. With eight gears in play, the MIVEC diesel engine manages to always operate at its sweet spot. The eighth gear also acts as an overdrive gear at highways, lowering the engine’s RPM at cruising speeds. The engine is not only quiet at highway speeds as a result, but it also provides good fuel economy numbers. A week with this vehicle netted me a figure of 9.3 l/100 km (10.75 km/l). Pretty good if you ask me.
While it cruises down a highway, road and engine noise is kept to a minimum. What’s more noticeable is wind noise, though it never feels too obtrusive. The suspension is also pretty good, soaking up bumps well enough for most situations. I still think that the Nissan Terra and Ford Everest’s ride quality is better, though the Montero Sport’s isn’t bad to begin with.
Handling-wise, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 2WD is still a PPV, so handling limits are low. Don’t expect Mazda CX-5 levels of handling here or even the comfort of the Honda CR-V and a Subaru Forester. These unibody crossovers still do a far better job of offering sporty handling and supple ride comfort.
As a whole, the updated Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 2WD offers a compelling package. The updates are mostly limited to tech and aesthetics, yet it still remains a competitive offering. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport has always been a reliable and well-rounded performer, which is what matters to most Filipino families. It also certainly helps that this practical and reliable PPV has a striking design.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.1 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.