Large SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $4,200*


1992 Mitsubishi Montero LS


1993 Mitsubishi Montero SR


1996 Mitsubishi Montero SR


1997 Mitsubishi Montero LS


1997 Mitsubishi Montero SR

Pros:
  • Acceleration (215-horsepower engine)
  • 4WD traction
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Quietness
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Acceleration (151-horsepower engine)
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy

Despite some appealing features, Montero has not been at the top of our sport-utility list, when compared with such domestic rivals as the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Chevrolet Blazer/GMC Jimmy, which tend to be more carlike.

Overview

Redesigned for 1992, Montero retained the 4-door body and 3.0-liter V6 of the prior generation, adding eight horsepower (now 151). Base, RS, and luxury LS models had 5-speed manual shift or optional 4-speed automatic; the sportier SR was automatic only. The 4×4 wagon had a side-hinged, swing-open rear door. The SR edition had fender flares and a 31-inch wheel/tire package. All models got new “Active-Trac” on-demand, full-time 4-wheel drive with shift-on-the-fly between 2WD and 4WD. Automatic-locking front hubs permitted use of 4WD on dry pavement. Also standard were 4-wheel disc brakes, with antilocking optional for the SR, and standard on LS.

Yearly Updates

1993 Montero
Availability of antilock braking expanded this year, now standard on the SR as well as the LS, and optional on the RS. A leather/wood cabin trim package became available, including hide trimmed seats, steering wheel, and door panels; plus burled-wood dashboard accents.
1994 Montero
A driver-side airbag went into 1994 Monteros, which could get a larger dual-cam V6 rated at 215 horsepower (standard in SR). All models now had 7-passenger seating, with the addition of a 2-person, third-row bench. Base and RS Monteros were gone.
1995 Montero
For ’95, a more powerful (177-horsepower) engine with four valves per cylinder entered base LS models. California vehicles got a 168-horsepower engine. The SR again used a dual-cam 3.5-liter engine with 215 horsepower.
1996 Montero
Dual airbags came in 1996 on both the base LS and upscale SR Monteros. The folding 3-place middle bench seat added a split backrest for greater hauling versatility.
1997 Montero
All ’97s got a single-cam, 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. The LS lost its 5-speed manual transmission.
1998 Montero
Just one regular Montero model remained for ’98, wearing a “safari-style” facelift. Also, antilock brakes are now standard.
1999 Montero
Other than declining sales, nothing was new for the Montero.
2000 Montero
An upscale Endeavor edition joined this year, featuring wood interior trim, heated leather seats, a power driver’s seat, heated mirrors, and power sunroof. Base models gained a security system with keyless entry, a CD player, and a roof rack.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive

For its first season on this form, the Montero had only one engine: a 3.0-liter, overhead-cam V6 that made 151 horsepower. A larger (3.5-liter) V6 with dual overhead cams and 215 horsepower joined for 1994. A year later, the 3.0-liter base engine gained 26 horsepower (rated 177). For 1997, the sole engine was a single-overhead-cam, 3.5-liter V6 with a 200-horsepower rating. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard on the early base model, RS, and LS; 4-speed automatic standard on the SR.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 151
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 174
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
15/18
15/18
15.6
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 177
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 188
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
15/18
15/18
16.5
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 228-235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

16/19

15.5

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 228
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

14/18

13.8

Road Test

The 3.0-liter V6 is smooth and quiet, but could use a bit more muscle. Acceleration with the base engine, even in 177-horsepower form, is adequate rather than spirited. Passing power also ranks as adequate. With automatic, steep grades cause noticeable slowing and a lot of busy shifting. Fuel economy is on the dismal side: we averaged 16.5 mpg in city/highway driving. An SR with the 215-horsepower engine accelerated to 60 mph in a brisk 10.0 seconds. Economy sagged to a gloomy 13.8 mpg. Mitsubishi’s Active-Trac 4WD system is convenient and easy to use.

Montero is still one of the better-riding 4x4s, even more stable in corners than earlier versions, thanks to a slightly wider stance. A Montero doesn’t feel as agile as a Jeep Grand Cherokee, however, showing more body lean in turns and even a slight tipsy sensation. Wavy surfaces produce little bouncing, but the firm suspension does not absorb bumps well.

The dashboard made everything easy to see, reach, and use, but the Multi Meter is little more than a gimmick. Passenger and cargo space are abundant, but the Montero sits high off the ground, so it’s difficult to get in and out. Montero has more than enough cargo space for several grocery bags. Stowing the jump seats against the sidewalls creates a long, wide cargo area.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Mitsubishi Montero SR automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 45

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.3 185.2-188.9 66.7-73.9 73.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
72.7 24.3 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.9 40.0 40.3 37.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Montero 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 110
Injury 104
Theft 1087

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: The check-engine light may come on when the vehicle is driven at wide-open throttle. (1997)
Manual transmission
Description: Hard shifting, gear clash, may come from the manual transmission due to a failure of the first-second gear synchronizers, while screeching noises are due to failed second-third synchros. (1992-95)
Steering problems
Description: Shudder while cornering may be minimized by adding Mitsubishi Limited Slip Differential Additive to the rear differential. (1997)
Vehicle noise
Description: Popping noise during slow speed maneuvers may be caused by the torsion bar hitting the frame. (1992-96)
Paint/body
Description: Paint on the roof rack fades and peels. (1992-93)

Recall History

1992-93
Description: During conditions of full-lock steering and full-suspension travel, front brake hose can crack, resulting in leakage.
1992-94 sold in Puerto Rico
Description: Front brake hose can crack during full-lock steering and full suspension travel, resulting in fluid leakage.
1994-98
Description: Accessory cargo mats interfere with latching integrity of the folding third seats.
1997-98
Description: Front brake lines can develop pinholes due to chafing; brake fluid can leak, resulting in deteriorated performance and illumination of indicator lamp.
1998-00
Description: Bilingual English/Spanish removable airbag warning labels on dashboard and sunvisor do meet size requirements.
1999 w/4WD and automatic
Description: Transmission fluid could be vented onto hot exhaust system as a result of unanticipated heat generation.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.