Large SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,200 – $12,000*

2001 Mitsubishi Montero

2001 Mitsubishi Montero

2001 Mitsubishi Montero interior

2002 Mitsubishi Montero Limited

2002 Mitsubishi Montero Limited

  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Acceleration
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling

Three rows of seats, solid construction, and reasonable fuel economy for a full-size SUV are among the Montero’s attractions. Unfortunately, those benefits are overshadowed by mediocre acceleration; too much body lean in turns; and a harsh, trucky ride.


Mitsubishi’s full-size sport utility vehicle got a major redesign for 2001. Longer, lower and wider than the 1992-2000 generation, the SUV gained a new independent rear suspension. Unlike most full-size SUVs, the Montero had unibody construction instead of a body-on-frame design. It also had a right-hinged cargo door instead of a liftgate or tailgate, but lacked the V8 engine that powered most big SUVs.

The previous version’s 3.5-liter V6 engine returned, but delivering slightly more torque. A four-speed automatic transmission and part-time four-wheel drive went into the base XLS model. Mitsubishi’s upscale Montero Limited featured a five-speed automatic with a separate manual-shifting gate, plus ActiveTrac four-wheel drive that could be used on dry pavement. Both models included low-range gearing and rode on 16-inch alloy wheels.

Antilock all-disc braking and front side airbags were standard. The Limited came with leather upholstery, heated power front seats, and a sunroof. Seven-passenger seating included a two-place third-row bench that could be removed or folded into the rear cargo floor. Competitors included the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, and Toyota Land Cruiser.

Yearly Updates

2002 Montero
Available suedelike upholstery and revised exterior trim highlighted 2002 changes to the larger of Mitsubishi’s two SUVs. New XLS options included rear air conditioning, a power front passenger seat, and a Touring Package that added ultrasuede seat trim and a sunroof. The XLS gained chrome grille accents this year, while the Limited’s grille and trim were now color-keyed.
2003 Montero
Upgraded powertrains and an antiskid system were new for 2003, along with cosmetic revisions. The new, bigger 3.8-liter V6 engine produced 215 horsepower (up 15) and yielded 13 additional pounds-feet of torque. This year, the XLS adopted the Limited’s five-speed automatic transmission with its manual shift gate. The XLS also upgraded to the Limited’s ActiveTrac four-wheel-drive system, which can be used on dry pavement. Mitsubishi’s new antiskid system included traction control, and was included in both models.
Body cladding was revised, and a new grille flaunted the Mitsubishi logo. The split second-row bench seat gained a center headrest and three-point seatbelt. Integrated running boards were lighted on the Limited, which added a tire-pressure monitor. Rear air conditioning was optional for both models.
2004 Montero
Front side airbags are optional instead of standard on the 2004 Montero. Mitsubishi did, however, add a tire-pressure monitor to the list of Montero’s standard equipment this year.
2005 Montero
Mitsubishi’s Montero exchanges standard 16-inch wheels for 17s in its only change for 2005.
2006 Montero
There were no significant changes for the 2006 Montero.


longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive

In 2001-02, the Montero used a 3.5-liter V6 that produced 200 horsepower, driving a four- or five-speed automatic transmission, depending on model. The XLS had part-time 4WD, versus ActiveTrac 4WD for the Limited. A 3.8-liter V6 rated at 215 horsepower debuted for 2003, with a five-speed automatic transmission. Both Montero models now used ActiveTrac four-wheel drive.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.8/234
Engine HP 215
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 248
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic


Road Test

Acceleration with a Montero borders on sluggish. The automatic transmission can be manually shifted to help keep pace with fast-moving traffic, but the Montero really needs a brawnier V8, as in most rivals. Fuel economy is tolerable, however. A test Limited averaged 17.1 mpg using regular fuel.

Ride quality and handling earn no prizes. You get a curiously stiff ride, and the big tires clearly transmit even small bumps to the SUV’s occupants. Still, the suspension does limit wallowing that allows only minor fore/aft pitching.

Steering is precise if slightly overassisted, but the Montero is not happy on curvy roads. A slightly tippy sensation will compel many drivers to slow down. Gusty crosswinds induce mild wandering a highway speeds.

Engines are decently quiet for cruising, but rather raucous when pushed. Tire roar is significant, except on smooth asphalt. Wind rush rises sharply with speed, too.

Although the dashboard looks busy, it works well enough, though small icons for “doors ajar” and 2WD/4WD operation are hard to see at times. Interior materials feel sturdy and controls have smooth action.

Front seats are comfortably spacious. Driver positioning is high and commanding, but some long-legged drivers might prefer more rearward seat travel. The second-row bench carries three adults with little crowding.

Narrow floor passages impede entry/exit, but the relatively low step-in is appreciated. So is the Montero’s convenient fold-away third-row seat, though it’s cramped except for preteens.

Cargo room is abundant. Some people won’t like the right-hinged cargo door, but load height is reasonably low and seat-folding is easy. Inside are two roomy dashboard gloveboxes, map pockets, and a handy between-the-seats cubby.


Model Tested: 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited

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.


Acceleration - 3
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 2
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 2

Total: 44


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.7 189.2 74.0 71.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
96.4 23.8 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.5 40.6 42.3 35.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

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


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

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Dashboard lights
Description: If the transmission overheats and turns on the “A/T TEMP” light, the oil pan should be replaced with a larger one. (2000-01)
Power seat
Description: The wiring harness under the driver’s seat may chafe and short out blowing a fusible link causing loss of power seat, power windows, and power sunroof. (2001-02)
Audio system
Description: Using novelty-type CDs, copied CDs, or those with poorly affixed labels may severely damage the player. (2001-03)
Transmission leak
Description: The transmission cooler (inside the radiator) may crack and leak, allowing transmission fluid into the coolant and coolant into the transmission. The company recalled early production models to replace the radiator. (2001)
Description: Shifting into or out of four-wheel drive while moving may cause it to get stuck in 4H (4-wheel high) range unless the shift forks are adjusted to prevent the problem. (2001)
Description: Water gets into wheel bearings causing premature wear and noise; revised bearings are available. (2001-03)

Recall History

Description: Some vehicle’s passenger-side outside mirrors may not comply with the requirements of FMVSS 111. Dealers will replace the rearview mirror.
Description: The hydraulic brake-booster accumulator may have been improperly manufactured and could leak, resulting in an abnormal noise from the left side of the dash panel when the brakes are applied, and possibly a delayed first-time brake-boost assist after the vehicle has been parked for a period of time. Dealers will install an improved accumulator.
Description: Bilingual English/Spanish removable airbag warning labels on dashboard and sunvisor do meet size requirements.
Description: When some vehicles with a full fuel tank are parked facing upward on a slope, the fuel leveling valve may not seal properly and fuel could leak onto the ground.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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.

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