MANILA, Philippines - The new Mitsubishi Montero Sport proved to us why it's the "Best Selling SUV" since it was launched in September 2008 when we drove it over 800 kilometers from Manila to Manila. We crossed the Cordillera Mountains through the Halsema Highway in La Trinidad, to Banaue, crossing the Sierra Madre Mountains in Nueva Vizcaya, and entering the SCTEX through Tarlac, and then NLEX. The four-day road trip was a test drive that could lead many to ownership of the Montero Sport. There was no type of terrain that could have been missed in that long drive to Banaue where Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. (MMPC) prepared the trek to Batad for their CSR project to help rebuild the rice terraces.
The Montero proved it is more than capable of mounting a long journey across high altitudes effortlessly while keeping its passengers comfortable and safe.
Our journey started from the Mitsubishi dealership in Balintawak, with a stop over for lunch in Gerona, Tarlac. We were taking the long route to Banaue Rice Terraces; driving to Baguio City first before continuing on to Banaue via the Halsema Highway.
Having started with the travel after noon, we reached the foot of the Baguio boonies by dusk. The Montero Sport's new 2.5 liter DI-D Hyper Common Rail 4- cylinder 16 valve DOHC VG Turbo Intercooler engine worked effortlessly as we started to climb the 32 kilometers of steep, tight and winding Kennon Road.
The new Montero Sport generates a maximum output 178 PS at 4,000 rpm with a maximum torque of 350 N-m at 1,800-3,500 rpm that made the steep inclines of Kennon Road no challenge for the Montero's diesel engine.
It also has an INVECS - II 5-Speed automatic and Sportronic transmission that optimally matches shift points to engine speed at all times in order to deliver responsive and smooth acceleration while returning with excellent fuel economy.
Its paddle shifters also allowed us to shift gears without taking our hands off the steering wheel providing better driving comfort and better control.?
The HID headlamp with auto leveling system and headlamp washers together with auto rain sensors also made sure that we had good visibility up ahead despite driving in the totally dark roads leading to the City of Pines.
The driving position aboard the Montero also provides the driver excellent visibility of the road ahead and the high seat position makes sure that the driver sees what is immediately in front of the bumper.
The vast interior space of the Montero Sport provided us with more than enough space for all of our camera and climbing gear while ensuring passenger comfort. The cabin of the Montero can comfortably fit seven passengers in three rows and can be reconfigured to provide more cargo space. The second row seat can be adjusted reclining, sliding and tumble-type fold-up function with 60:40 separated while the third row seat can be reclined and fold flat down to accommodate the bags of vegetables we bought from the Mountain Province.
Providing us entertainment all throughout the drive is the Montero's new CD, MP3 player and AUX in with USB port where our iPods connected easily. The only thing we were not able to try, thank God, was the Montero's dual side airbags and anti-lock braking system with electronic brake distribution as the entire drive was totally event free.
Another great feature of the Montero Sport is its AVT GPS Mapping System which has been integrated into its entertainment system. It really helped us find our way in Baguio City where driving around is really confusing.
Overall the Montero Sport is a great mid-sized SUV. Not only does it look sporty and gives good fuel economy, it also provides excellent comfort and driving satisfaction.