In this day and age of LOL, BRB and all other forms of chatspeak, the term SUV has somehow lost its essence and simply become a byword for anything and everything that comes with a higher-than-a-sedan ground clearance. Sure it looks ‘sporty’ and with the tailgate can do a little bit more hauling than your typical car but is that really the end-all, be-all of what a Sport Utility Vehicle is and can be?
Well, thank goodness Mitsubishi doesn’t mess around when it comes to things like this and that may explain our affinity with the brand’s mid-sized SUV. Just in its third generation, here are five reasons why the Montero Sport ticks all the boxes of a safety-first, innovative and fashion-forward vehicle.
2.4L MIVEC Clean Diesel
Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t but the trend of smaller displacement engines has really picked up in the last few years, and it’s not only limited to small A- and B-segment vehicles. SUVs based on truck platforms used to be powered by three-liter engines or higher — well not anymore.
Using probably the smallest displacement for its size and in its segment, it’s no pushover with 181-PS and 430-Nm of torque, while still returning some 8-kilometers per liter in city driving and keeping up with Euro 5 emissions standards.
8-speed automatic transmission
The GT uses an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is also a segment-first in the local market. Extra gears give it a better ratio spread to reduce shift shock and allow the engine to always find the ‘sweet spot’ for optimum performance in whatever driving condition. Its truck-like handling paired with the poor condition of Metro Manila’s city roads mask the smoothness of the gearbox at times but as mentioned above, its efficiency is undeniable.
Off-road mode selector
Prospective buyers who know nothing off off-roading, fear not. In the GT, just look at the terrain you’re standing on and then select the appropriate mode from the Super Select 4WD-II. Forget about Ice and Snow. Designed to be fool- and dummy-proof, the choices are limited to Gravel, Mud, Sand and Rocky — just the ones you’ll find in this region of the world.
Rear differential lock
Should you show marked improvement in your off-roading skills and want to take it to the next level, you’ll be happy to know that the GT is one of the few SUVs to offer a rear differential lock. In times when traction isn’t the same for both rear wheels, locking the differential allows the driver to send equal power to both wheels to allow it to rotate at the same speed for increased traction and grip.
New safety features
Complementing its on-road performance and off-road prowess are new safety features designed to all but eliminate the possibility of driver error right from when you start the engine. Using Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System, engine output is controlled so that you don’t accidentally ram the wall or a crowd of people while you’re easing off your parked position. Adaptive Cruise Control uses radar to keep the GT at a preset distance to keep you more relaxed during long highway drives. Forward Collision Mitigation applies emergency brakes in a less than subtle manner and flashes a warning in the instrumentation panel should you get too close to the vehicle in front of you.
More than your typical SUV
In an effort to maintain greater versatility, it’s one of the least sedan-like in terms of driving comfort. But the upside is higher tolerance to rugged environments and scenarios.
There’s a 6.75-inch touchscreen that displays tire pressure and temperature, and a compass after start-up, plus it comes with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity so you can’t say you’re without the necessary, everyday tech.
As the highest trim, the 2018 Montero Sport GT 4WD AT rings the register at Php 2.164 million. Pricey, but with all its bells and whistles, it’s one of the very few that remain true to what an SUV is really all about.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan