The all-new Montero Sport
Just weeks after its official unveil in the Philippines, numerous reports have come out about the all-new Mitsubishi Montero Sport experiencing SUA. No! It’s not the sudden acceleration thing that a small group of people has been alleging—rather, it’s the ‘Sudden Upsurge in Aspiration’ that the model has been experiencing from people who are captivated by its dynamic and avant-garde design.
Last week, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) held a motorcade of sorts of the entire line-up of the Montero Sports in the Queen City of the South, Cebu. Motoring journalists from Manila were flown to Cebu to get first hand ride and drive experience with the all-new sport utility vehicle (SUV) up to the northern-most point of the Cebu island.
Upon arrival at the Mactan Cebu International Airport, the group of motoring hacks were ferried to the popular Scape Skydeck rooftop restaurant, which offered us an awe-inspiring view of the island as well as great Cebuano fare. MMPC First Vice President for Marketing Froilan Dytianquin led the welcoming ceremonies with Marketing Service Senior Manager Arlan Reyes providing the route briefing and vehicle assignments.
After the hearty Cebuano breakfast, the group boarded the varying units of spanking new Montero Sport SUVs and headed toward the exclusive Kandaya resort in Daanbantayan, which is some 120 kilometers north of Cebu City. From the Scape Skydeck, the convoy crossed the Marcelo Fernan Bridge towards Mandaue City, turning right at the Central Nautical Highway for the long drive up north.
Both car and pedestrian traffic were heavy along the drive so a lot of people got to see close up the long convoy of all-new Montero Sports. The pedestrians walking along the roads were obviously smitten by the Montero Sport’s avant-garde design, which is evident from its fascia then body, until its innovative looking rear.
Making the Mitsubishi units more eye-catching are the LED-type headlamps with daytime running lights (DRL). The LED headlights shine brighter providing better visibility while the tube-type LED rear combination lamps make its presence known to vehicles behind.
Halfway through the route, the convoy stopped at the town of Carmen for lunch. This time, MMPC Corporate Communications Supervisor Rosemary Cruz prepared another spread of local Cebuano fare at Kusina Carmencita.
From the lunch venue, the roads leading to Daanbantayan were now free of traffic and filled with undulating roads that gave exceptional panoramas of both the coast and mountain roads. This gave us the opportunity to try out its 4N15 power plant, which produces the power of 178 horses. All these grunt proved very useful while overtaking long trailer trucks that traversed the highway as well as when pushing through the uphill and twisty roads of the boonies of Lugo and Tagaytay (yes, there’s a Tagaytay in Cebu).
We were riding on the GT 4WD, top-of-the line variant that is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Shifting of the eight-speed transmission was very pleasurable even on highly spirited driving. The Montero Sport we were on had a Super-Select II 4WD system that features a dial-type selector for easier shifting from 2WD to 4WD. However, we were not able to try out the 4WD system as we drove mostly on paved roads.
The top of the line GT variant is also equipped with sunroof that was big enough for me to crawl out of and get better tracking shots of the other Montero Sport units behind us in the convoy.
Oozing with luxury
Inside, the Montero Sport oozes with luxury, thanks to its leather seats. The ride has become more comfortable, as compared to its predecessor, thanks to the multi-layer cushion. The seats now have rounded shoulder supports that give the upper torso a more comfortable position even through hours of driving.
Road noise could barely be heard from the cabin as the sound insulation has also been upgraded. This, together with further upgraded comfortable seats and climate control system, has achieved an interior space offering a higher level of comfort.
The Montero Sport has a neat black monotone dashboard that is complemented with silver and woodgrain accents. The dashboard is designed ergonomically with all the function laid out for the driver and passengers’ convenience and comfort. The Multimedia Entertainment System provides an assortment of features enhancing every ride in this SUV. It is equipped with Capacitive Discharge Touchscreen monitor, DVD and MP3 player, Tuner, Auxiliary-in and USB ports, iPod-ready capability, Bluetooth Connectivity and a smart phone mirror link feature. It is also equipped with a dealer option user-friendly GPS navigation system to allow the driver to easily navigate his or her way especially on unfamiliar roads.
Providing us with peace of mind during the drive is the Montero Sport’s wide array of active and passive safety features. We’re glad to say that we were not able to try any of it (for obvious reasons) but here’s the list, anyway: the Montero-Sport is fitted with its proprietary Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) Body that ensures the safety of all passengers in case of an impact. The body structure’s crumple zones effectively absorbs and dispense crash energy from all directions, completely protecting the interior cabin. The driver and passengers are fully protected in the event of a collision with the seven-airbag system (GLS 4WD MT and GT 4WD AT variants), which includes the front dual airbags, side, curtain and double knee airbags.
The all-new Montero Sport is also fitted by a Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM) system and Blind Spot Warning (BSW) system for the top of the line GT variant. The FCM detects risk for collision and the system provides both audible and visual warning to alert the threat to the driver. The brakes are pre-filled, boosting braking pressure should the driver respond to the warning and apply the brakes. If the risk escalates because the deceleration by the driver is not sufficient to prevent the collision, the FCM system applies high brake pressure (FCM Automatic Brake) to try to avoid the accident or reduce potential damage. The all-new Montero Sport is the first Mitsubishi model to get a BSW safety feature that has an ultrasonic sensor attached to the bumper to detect on-coming vehicles that are diagonally behind the area. It is similar to the FCM because the driver is alerted thru visual warning seen on the side mirror. The GT, GLS 4WD MT and GLS Premium variants feature the Hill Start Assist (HSA) while the GT variant is also equipped with Hill Descent Control (HDC). The HSA prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards and makes hill starts easier by holding the brake as the driver moves his or her foot to the accelerator. This system also functions when reversing up a steep road. When going downhill, the HDC is there to control the speed of the vehicle without losing traction.
We got nods of approval from townsfolk of Daanbantayan as they gave us welcoming stares as the convoy of Montero Sports entered their energetic town. And with the sunroof open while taking picture of the convoy, we could hear groups of people saying, “nindot kaayo!” and “uy, ka gwapo ani!” terms which I could barely understand.
With hours to spare before sunset, our group arrived at the Kandaya Resort, still with lots of energy for a whole line-up of activities that Mitsubishi had lined up for us. Again, I heard the same lines being said about the units – but this time from the resort staff that welcomed us at the driveway. I then looked for someone to translate and found Kandaya’s Front Office supervisor, Kristie Claracay, to do so. Kristie told me the terms meant “Very nice,” and “Looks really good!” However, Kristie was quick to point out that the compliments were meant for the Montero Sport, not us.
Sad to leave the comforts of the Montero Sport, the resort staff then lead us to our rooms which as it turned out, was as comfortable and feature-packed as the all-new Mitsubishi SUV. But that’s another story.