This week I was off to Dallas to test the Mitsubishi Montero Sport LS 2WD utility vehicle. It was a wonderful trip and in general this utility car is a strong competitor to all the others out there. But I have to digress a bit and tell you a little story. I did something I’ve never done before in my life.
I locked the keys in the car. But not to worry, I left them in the ignition. Better yet, I left the damn thing running. Surely they wouldn’t manufacturer a car that would let me do all that. Right…guess again. You can do that. Since this was a new experience for me, I got real nervous. What if it heats up, catches on fire, or some such disaster? Should I break the window now or wait for smoke? I checked my purse to see if I had another set of keys. Just kidding…. Press cars only come with one set of keys. If they can put a man on the moon you’d think they could find a way to keep dummies like me from doing this. How could they allow the door to be locked with the keys in the ignition, engine running and me not be in the car?
Also, why do they make these cars so damn quiet? I didn’t even find out it was still running until the guy came with the “Slim-Jim” break in tools. You can imagine how relieved I felt when I learned the parking facility had the tools, but there’s good news and bad news. It was good they had the tools, but it was bad when they couldn’t get past some new stuff Mitsubishi put in the doors to prevent such break-ins. The guy quit trying after a half hour and called a professional criminal. You know, the guys the car companies are protecting us against. You guessed it; the new gadgets slowed the criminal down for about 30 seconds. Just kidding about the criminal. It was actually an Auto Club guy that came out after about an hour (stuck in traffic) and when I turned the engine off it had been more than an hour. No smoke, no fire and no sweat–I had left the air conditioning on too. In fact the engine temperature gauge didn’t move at all…but you know the gas gauge did.
Well, after that little fiasco I was madder at me than at Mitsubishi. I hope the Congress doesn’t read this. They might want to pass another law. No locking your keys in the car, or manufacturers must prevent dummies like me from doing that.
The Montero Sport is a smaller version of the original Montero and is offered in four models; the ES 2WD 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine, the LS 2WD, the LS 4WD and the XLS 4WD which are powered by the 3.0 liter V6 engine. It is a five-passenger utility that competes with the Nissan Pathfinder (that I liked a lot), the Toyota 4Runner, Honda Passport (I haven’t driven it), Isuzu Rodeo, Chevrolet Blazer (one of my favorites) and the Jeep Cherokee (the granddaddy of them all). I got a good feeling from this sport utility and recommend you keep it in your line-up if you’re looking for one of these very versatile vehicles.
3.0 Liter 24 Valve V6 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, power steering, front disc and rear drum brakes, dual air bags, child protected rear door locks, AM/FM stereo cassette with 6 speakers, 60/40 split fold rear seat, full cabin carpeting, adj. steering column, dual vanity mirrors, 2-12 V outlets, overhead console and 5,000 lb. tow capacity.
19 City/ 22 Highway
Manufacturers suggested retail price is $21,820. The model I tested included the following options: Anti-lock braking system for $610; premium package including 15 inch alloy wheels, chrome grille, fender flares and side steps, leather wrapped steering wheel, upgraded audio system, and power sunroof for $3,070; power windows, door locks, mirrors and cruise control for $829; 10-disc CD changer for $675; air conditioning, floor mats and cargo net and wheel locks for $1,087 that brought the total to $28,536.
For the dealer nearest you, call 800/222-0037. u
Joe Mavilia is a syndicated columnist with more than 30 years in the automotive industry. He is a member of the Motor Press Guild, Automotive Press Association and Colorado Press Association.