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1998 MITSUBISHI MONTERO
by Matt/Bob Hagin
SEE ALSO: Mitsubushi Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 33,530 Price As Tested $ 35,962 Engine Type SOHC 4-valve 3.5 Liter V6 w/SMFI* Engine Size 213 cid/3497 cc Horsepower 200 @ 5000 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 228 @ 3500 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 107.3"/69.9"/186.6" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 4485 pounds Fuel Capacity 24.3 gallons Tires (F/R) P265/70R15 Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/four-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Seven-passenger/five-door Domestic Content One percent Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) 0.47 PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 16/19/16 0-60 MPH 10.5 seconds Towing capacity 5000 pounds Payload 1400 pounds * Sequential multi-point fuel injection
(Matt Hagin likes the larger-than-life Mitsubishi Montero sport/utility vehicle because it has lots of room inside for family "things." Bob Hagin enjoys its taller-than-life posture while driving through urban traffic.)
BOB - The design of the Mitsubishi Montero is more than a half-decade old now and somehow I feel like an English earl benignly surveying his lands and workers when I drive around in this big machine. It stands over six feet tall and at 4500 pounds, it's no lightweight. And as befits its upright standing, its aerodynamic coefficient of drag is a stately 0.47, about the same as the front of a country manor house. As I drove it around, I sat serenely above the bustling crowd secure in the knowledge that other drivers couldn't possibly be unaware of its presence and would defer to its dignified presence and implied regal right-of-way. It's a feeling I don't get in Mitsubishi's smaller version, the Montero Sport.
MATT - Just don't push your luck, Dad. In some downtown urban areas a vehicle that's big is just a more conspicuous target for berserk big-city drivers who consider a red traffic light a challenge. I liked the full-sized Montero too, but for different reasons. To me, its main attraction was that I could strap my two girls into their car seats in the third row along with a helper to baby-sit and still have room for two or three adults in the middle bench seat. There's enough head room in the Montero where all the adults could wear top hats if they wanted. And if I was transporting this crowd somewhere in snow or icy weather, I could slip the drive train from two-wheel-drive into its Activ-Trac four-wheel-drive system, lock up the center differential and motor on through the worst of it. The shift can be made at up to 62 MPH, so I wouldn't have to stop and figure out what to do next. This system, as well as an optional locking rear differential, heated front seats and outside mirrors, plus a headlight washer/wiper system, makes this outsized road cruiser almost unstoppable in inclement weather. There's a manually selectable "winter" mode on the automatic transmission that blocks first-gear starts to counter initial wheelspin on ice. This Montero was obviously designed for foul-weather operation.
BOB - Fortunately, the Montero has enough horsepower to pull itself around in good weather and in bad. Its 3.5 liter V6 engine is rated at 200 horsepower in most parts of the country and it has enough torque to tow 5000 pounds when the rig is equipped with the optional towing package. An unseen plus on this engine is the fact that it has an oil cooler which is helpful when the engine is called upon to work hard at slow road speeds and when uphill towing gets heavy. Although Mitsubishi has offered this big bruiser with optional engines and trim levels in the past, the Montero is now only available with this single-cam engine and a four-speed automatic transmission. The interior is fancy, but personally, I could have done without the wood interior trim items, the moon roof, the power-operated driver's seat or the upgraded radio/ stereo/CD player system. The standard system sounded OK to me. I approve of the electronic remote door locking system because it keeps you from having to fumble with the door key in the dark.
MATT - I like the fact that the full-sized spare tire is mounted on the tailgate since its outside location accounts for a bit of the Montero's 67 cubic feet of cargo space behind the driver's seat. And by not being mounted up underneath the body, there's room there for a 25 gallon fuel tank, but I'm not convinced that the metal cover on the spare and the wheel lock system is worth $250 extra. The Montero rides on jumbo P265/70R15 mud-and-snow tires and their tall profile accounts for some of its "regal" height.
BOB - These big sport/utility vehicles give a driver a commanding view of the road, Matt, and there's enough room in back for the whole family.
Matt - For most families, Dad, but I think it would take something closer to a Greyhound bus to accommodate all us Hagins.