2003 Mitsubishi Montero 20th Anniversary (457)


Ok, I’ve taken all I can and I can’t take no more. This week I drove the 2003 Mitsubishi Montero 20th Anniversary edition and that’s the last SUV for a couple of months. I do a lot of SUV reviews because they are so much in demand. But you know what? When I want to go camping or other outing I like having this class vehicle.

Ok, so it’s a crew cab truck with a camper shell on the back. But that’s what makes it so damn attractive to so many. Now if they could only put a fuel efficient, clean burning diesel engine in it so we could all afford to actually go on those outings and feed more than the gas tank.

I like to stay objective, so I don’t dwell on what I’d buy if it were the only car I could own. But at the end of the day we all do a better job selecting the car that suits us than what man or woman would be best. Funny thing is… they’re both emotional decisions. Or do you check your future mate for strong muscles, good teeth, broad shoulders to carry larger loads, or broad hips for ease of child bearing, etc.?

General Info:

Parts – 99% Japan, 1% US / Canadian.

Assembly – Minokamo, Japan

Class:  – Special Purpose SUV Midsize

Cars: – Diamante, Eclipse, Endeavor, Galant, Lancer, Montero, Montero Sport, and Outlander.

Handling & Performance:

Unquestionably a comfortable ride comparable to the best. It felt a little bulky to me, but others characterize that feeling as big or solid. Big, solid or bulky, when you leave the gas pumps you’ll complain as I do about the massive amounts of gas required to feed these monster SUV’s.


A departure from the conventional or is it rather odd looking; what do you think?

Fit and Finish:

Lose. Wide gaps. Have we finally westernized at least one Japanese car manufacturer with looser tolerances? The Germans are next. Reminds me of the classic difference between weapons produced by the Germans and the Americans in WWII. The US Army 45 Cal. Pistol would fire just fine after retrieving it from the mud, while the German Lugar would fail to fire if a speck of dirt was present.


Well equipped but there is no free lunch folks. See you at the cash register. The third row seats neatly tuck away in the floor but access is rather limited. The best approach is through the rear door for people with short legs.


Obviously at the top of the price range for this class of vehicle. Mitsubishi is reaching for the Luxury class but they haven’t yet developed the image. But I guess you have to start somewhere to set yourself apart from other competitors.

Consumer Recommendation:

Start complaining about poor mileage. It’s about time we raised a unified voice that we’re madder than hell and won’t take this any more. We know they can do better with performance but we haven’t put enough pressure on them. The revolt of the 1960’s made a statement and we ushered in the Japanese with their “basic”, “fuel efficient” cars to smack American carmakers in the chops. We did get better domestic cars, but not to be outwitted, American business sense rose to the occasion and beat back the revolution by buying foreign carmakers. Damn, I hate when that happens.

The Competition:

Mitsubishi Montero $32-38,000, BMW X5 $40-67,000, Dodge Durango $27-39,000, Ford Explorer $26-37,000, GMC Envoy $29-38,000, Isuzu Trooper $28-37,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $27-39,000, Land Rover Discovery $34-40,000, Mercedes Benz M-Class $37-66,000, Nissan Pathfinder $27-34,000, Oldsmobile Bravada $34-36,000, Toyota Land Cruiser $54,000.

Good News:

Plush comfort, tuck away third row seats, lively acceleration.

Bad News:

Poor fuel economy, pricey for a Mitsubishi, Consumer Reports Bashing (poor safety test results a few years back) – that could affect resale.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter 215 hp V6 engine, 5-speed auto trans, leather, dual front and side air bags, child safety locks, anti theft immobilizer, traction control, 4-wheel drive, power abs disc brakes, power steering, air conditioning, infinity audio with 6 disc in-dash CD, power windows/locks and mirrors, cruise control, remote keyless entry, stowable 3rd row seats, power driver seat, heated front seats, 16 inch alloy wheels with all season tires, power sunroof.

Gas Stats:

15 City and 19 Highway MPG.


MSRP $38,397.

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