The Montero Sport was first produced in Japan and made available in the U.S. in 1982. It wasn’t until 1997 that the Montero Sport was built exclusively for export markets and showcased as a high-performance variant. Taking on different names in different countries, the Montero Sport is also known as the Pajero Sport in Europe, Nativa in various Central American areas as well as the Middle East, Shogun Sport in the U.K., the G-Wagon in Thailand, and the Challenger in Australia.
For a brief period, there was a smaller two-door version made for select European markets to compete with other small-size SUVs, such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.
More on the Mitsubishi Montero Sport
About the Mitsubishi Montero Sport
Marketed as a midsize SUV, the Montero Sport had a strong reputation as a light-duty, occupational utility vehicle. Due to the unforeseen penetration in more than one market, the Montero Sport’s success demanded local assembly in foreign markets. The popular SUV also received a substantial amount of upgrades to meet consumer demands. Upgrades included coil over springs, larger brakes, and a limited-slip differential for high-speed handling.
The more that the Montero Sport focused on its sport features, the more it neglected its utility roots. It had an interior that was widely regarded as being similar to a sedan, despite the fact that the roofline was elevated in 2003 models and onward. In addition, later models discarded several utility features, including cup holders and storage space. However, handling, comfort, and overall driving experience were highly rated and commonly described as fun. Mitsubishi Montero Sport Features
The Mitsubishi Montero Sport uses the same chassis as its larger sibling, the regular Montero, but sits reasonably lower and is a lot lighter. The entry-level model ES is the two-wheel drive variant, while the LS offers optional four-wheel drive. The XLS model is only available in four-wheel drive. A 3.5-liter, 197-hp, V-6 engine powers both the LS and XLS, while the ES runs on a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that is much more fuel efficient. ES models are difficult to find as they were discontinued starting in 2004, when the LS became the new base version.
The Montero Sport seats up to five adults. It boasts 79.3 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded. Cruise control is standard on the LS model. Remote keyless entry and exterior side steps are also standard. The XLS touring package, which is the most premium trim available, features an Infinity audio system, leather steering-wheel cover, and power sunroof.
The center-console and driver cabin space in the Montero Sport was highly regarded by many SUV enthusiasts as comfortable and commanding. While the low roofline garnered many disapproving reviews, the same feature made the front windshield appear narrow and sporty. In addition, the instrument cluster was designed to coordinate with the rest of the interior. The gauges coincide with the other vehicle controls, both are prominent and stylish.
With regard to exterior design, the Montero Sport is nine-inches shorter than the regular Montero. Coupled with the lower body stance, the angular appearance and rounded fender flares help the car grab peoples’ attention. Furthermore, the 16-inch alloy wheels come standard to give the Montero Sport a polished look. Mitsubishi Montero Sport Evolution
With standard anti-lock brakes and heated seats in the XLS version, the Montero Sport performance/utility SUV was off to a good start. In a short time, more features were added, such as heated seats and a chrome grille with exterior fog lamps.
After this, the Montero Sport received a redesigned tailgate. The interior was upgraded to a two-tone color scheme and an anti-theft immobilizer was introduced. A rear coil over suspension and larger breaks were added to the XLS model. Those who upgraded to the automatic transmission experienced a new feature called Electronic Shift Control (ESC). In addition, the XLS model introduced the use of a limited-slip differential that was more commonly seen on sport sedans at the time.
Later, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport upgraded to a four-wheel-drive system, a more advanced drive train, and emissions were improved to comply with stricter U.S. laws. A few minor exterior modifications were made, but the body remained fundamentally unchanged from the previous model.