2002 Mitsubishi Montero Limited 4X4 (385)


This week’s Mitsubishi Montero Limited 4-wheel drive took me home from Los Angeles International Airport on my return from Portland where I tested the VW New Beetle. I felt I was “stylin” when I stepped into this familiar SUV. It made the ride through downtown Los Angeles almost bearable.

From the Pacific Northwest to the pits of LA, is a culture shock. But I’ve lived in the LA area since, oh my God, has it been that long? Thinking back, they still had dirt roads in the Pasadena area where I grew up.

Anyway, I guess the reason we justify spending so much money on cars is that we have to spend so much time in them. In this case, for the comfort and driving pleasure of this Montero you are going to pay dearly.

General Info:

Parts – 99% Japan, 1% US/Canada

Assembly – Minokamo, Japan

Class: Special Purpose / SUV

Mitsubishi Cars: Diamante, Eclipse, Galant, Lancer, Mirage, Montero

Handling & Performance:

Solid ride and confident handling. This is one hunk of metal that is worth its salt but at a price that may gag you. Lots of power and at the top of its class. And you can bet you’ll pay for that power at the pumps. The gas stats are abysmal and perhaps my biggest pet peeve, if you hadn’t noticed.


Bulky look and very pretty. This surely has the look and feel of a top of the line SUV.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent. Mitsubishi has come a long way over the years in spite of the bad news of scary roll over test results.


This is loaded with a lot of gadgets and goodies that we have come to appreciate to the point of being necessities in today’s world. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here that with the advent of a glut of high tech electronics priced so well it is foolish for manufacturers to leave anything to options. The cost of labor is just too high to have to have variations on the same theme.


Too much. All the gadgets can’t justify the price. And yes, I agree, all the others in this class are pricey too. And it isn’t the fault of the manufacturer. How can they be blamed for our love of SUV’s? And if you add climate control, rear air and heater and power passenger seat you’ll add $1,200 to the MSRP below.

Consumer Recommendation:

Buy an SUV if you must, but unless you need 4-wheel drive don’t, I repeat, don’t buy it with 4-WD. In most conditions for normal driving you will never need it. Yes, if you’re in the out back, on a farm or very rural areas of the world you may need it often. Consider where you live and be realistic. You’ll save weight, maintenance problems and gas consumption.

Alternate to the SUV for most applications is a Mini Van. They do the same thing but no off road capability. Like you’re going to need to get off road! Not likely, unless you’re on e of the 5% who do.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Getting to the moon was tough; getting better gas performance out of an SUV appears to be impossible. There must be a way I keep telling myself. Carmakers should be able to figure this out. And come on guys; include all those electronics at a fraction of the price you charge. They simply don’t cost all that much.

The Competition:

BMW X5 $39-66,000, Dodge Durango $25-37,000, Ford Explorer $21-35,000 GMC Envoy $29-34,000, Isuzu Trooper $28-37,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $25-37,000, Land Rover Discovery $33-37,000, Mercedes Benz M-Class $36-66,000, Nissan Pathfinder $27-31,000, Oldsmobile Bravada $32-35,000, Toyota Land Cruiser $52,595.

Good News:

Great warranty, comfortable, nice styling.

Bad News:

Very pricey and terrible gas mileage.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 200 horsepower engine, 5-speed auto trans with over drive, dual front and side airbags, child safety locks, anti-theft engine immobilizer, active trac 4-wheel drive, Ltd slip differential, power steering, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, air conditioning, stereo with CD player, power windows/locks and mirrors, cruise control, remote keyless entry, 2nd row 60/40 split fold down seats, 3rd row stowable seat, power driver’s seat, leather, wood and leather steering wheel, heated front seats/mirrors, wood grain interior trim, 16” alloy wheels, power glass sunroof, roof rails, spare tire locking cover.

Gas Stats:

14 City and 19 Highway MPG.


MSRP $35,797.

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