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2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport

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2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport Review

An SUV with good looks but mediocre performance.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The Mitsubishi Montero Sport doesn’t look very much like its namesake, the Montero, and it doesn’t perform like it, either. The Montero is more car-like with its independent rear suspension and the Montero Sport is more truck-like.

The Range

Body Styles: sport utility vehicle
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6, 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Mitsubishi Montero Sport ES, Mitsubishi Montero Sport LS, Mitsubishi Montero Sport XLS, Mitsubishi Montero Sport Limited

What's New

The four-wheel drive that is standard for the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero Sport got a new ALL4 four-wheel drive (4WD) mode. This new feature automatically applies the correct level of traction to the front or rear wheels to correspond with the driving conditions. The 3.5-liter, V-6 engine became standard for the XLS trim. The LS, XLS, and Limited trims all got new upholstery and metallic-faced gauges. Mitsubishi also made changes to options packages that are available for the LS trim and created a new Appearance Package for the ES.

Exterior

Exterior features for the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero include: 15-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, privacy glass, rear defogger, rear liftgate door with a manual flip-up window, and power mirrors and windows. The LS trim replaces the steel wheels with 16-inch alloy wheels and adds a roof rack, tubular running boards, and keyless entry. The LS models equipped with 4WD gets skid plates. The Limited trim adds heated power mirrors and a power glass sunroof.

This SUV sits high off the ground with an eight-inch ground clearance, but it has a low roofline. The new grille gives it a more stylish look. Even though it is named after the Montero, the front end of the Montero Sport is different from the Montero. The Montero Sport has a more subdued, sloping hood while the Montero has a boxy front. The narrow side steps do little to help you enter and exit this car.

Interior

The interior features of the Montero include: air conditioning, four-speaker AF/FM/CD in-dash stereo system, cloth upholstery, cruise control, bucket front seats, driver’s seat with manually-adjustable lumbar support, folding rear bench seat, tilting steering wheel, and power steering. The LS trim adds cruise controls on the steering wheel and two more speakers to the audio system. The Limited trim upgrades the upholstery to leather and adds leather trim to the steering wheel. It also adds another two speakers to the audio system.

The dashboard and cockpit are laid out conveniently, but the audio controls are small. The tilting steering wheel does not tilt high enough for taller drivers to get an unobstructed view of the gauges. Mitsubishi used a lot of cheap-feeling plastics in the dashboard, but the other cabin materials are of good quality. The overall construction of the cabin is very good. Interior room is ample, but the seats are mounted low in the vehicle to be optimally comfortable. The high step-in and low-mounted seats make it difficult to enter and exit. Rear seat legroom is generous, but head room is limited because of the low roofline. The rear bench seat is not wide enough to comfortably seat three adults, but will seat three children fine. The floor passageways are very narrow; therefore, entry and exit to the rear compartment is challenging.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Mitsubishi Montero has two available powertrains. The ES and LS trims are powered by a three-liter, single overhead cam (SOHC), V-6 engine that makes 165 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The XLS and Limited trims have a 3.5-liter, SOHC V-6 engine that makes 197 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are mated with a four-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive standard. You can get the optional 4WD or the 4WD with ALL4 mode technology. The 4WD models get viscous-center differential, high-low gear selection, and automatic-locking hubs.

The ES and LS models display sluggish takeoff, but adequately pick up speed quickly for passing and merging in traffic. The XLS and Limited trims have good acceleration and takeoff power from the 3.5-liter engine. Since this SUV is more truck-like than most of the competition, it rattles and jiggles on rough roads. The steering is vague and so light that it allows the car to wander even in light crosswinds. Body lean is pronounced in hard cornering. Hard acceleration produces a lot of fan noise from the engines.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2002 Mitsubishi Montero include: dual front airbags, engine immobilizer, ventilated front and rear disc brakes, electronic Brake force distribution, and rear child-safety door locks. The Limited trim adds four-wheel ABS, front fog lights, and a remote anti-theft alarm system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Montero an “acceptable? rating for frontal-offset crash test results.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mitsubishi Montero Sport ES: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Montero Sport LS: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Montero Sport XLS: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Mitsubishi Montero Sport Limited: 15/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Attractive styling
  • Comfortable seating
  • Lots of cargo room
  • Good-quality construction

You Won't Like

  • Poor acceleration
  • Soft suspension
  • Vague steering
  • Difficult rear seat entry/exit
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Engine noise

Sum Up

An SUV with good looks but mediocre performance.

If You Like This Vehicle

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