In the auto industry, it is quite rare to see a concept vehicle turns into an actual production model. Concept cars usually have exaggerated and unconventional designs that usually do not make it into production. Once in a while, car buyers are lucky to see the design queues of a concept end up in production models. One such case is the all-new Mitsubishi Montero Sport, which received major design themes from Mitsubishi’s Concept GC and the Concept GR of 2013.
Taking its design queues from the two concept vehicles (presented at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) used the “Dynamic Shield” design concept to make the all-new Montero Sport stand out and leave the competition behind. The avant-garde motif uses both sporty and dynamic components to set it apart from conventional sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
The second-generation Montero Sport has a modern exterior design, high-quality vehicle performance, comfortable interior, environmental performance on a par with the best in its class, and comprehensive advanced safety features. The interior uses a high-console proportion dashboard with dynamically styled silver-finish ornamentation. The sculpted seats add to its luxurious feel.
Developed with the “Stylish and Comfortable Off-road SUV” concept in mind, the all-new Montero Sport now offers advanced driving aids that help its driver keep the vehicle safely moving both on and off road.
The all-new Montero Sport measures 4.785 meters long, 1.815 meters wide and 1.805 meters tall on a 2.8-meter wheelbase. Although it is now longer, the Montero Sport stands shorter than its predecessor, which measures in at 4.695 meters x 1.815 meters x 1.84 meters and retains the same wheelbase.
Engine and transmission packages
The all-new Montero Sport now has a smaller but more powerful 4N15 2.4-liter MIVEC common-rail turbo diesel engine rated at 181 horsepower at 3,500 revolutions per minute with a maximum torque of 430 Newton-meters of torque at 2,500 rpm. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with built-in sport mode, Idle Neutral Control (INC) and G-Sensor. The new variant comes with the Super-Select 4WD-II system that features a new off-road mode that provides better all-terrain performance and stability on any road condition. It comes with 2H (2-Wheel High Range), 4H (4-Wheel High Range), 4HLC (4-Wheel High Range with Center Differential Lock) and 4LLC (4-Wheel Low Range with Differential Lock). The new “Off-road mode” for 4WD variants gives drivers choices between Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock (only in 4LLC drive mode), and works with the Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC) system that provides the extra mile in safety and performance. A new feature on the Montero Sport is the Hill Descent Control which is operated with just a flick of a switch.
MMC engineers claim that the powertrain returns a 17-percent improvement in fuel economy over its predecessor. They said it also achieves carbon dioxide emissions of under 200 grams per kilometer.
We got to test the Montero Sport’s new driver aids and off-road capabilities at the Fuji Gane off-road course that sits at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan.
The 4×4 course offered numerous hill-climbs and steep descents with some great scenery thrown in. There the Montero Sport proved its dexterous handling and stability as well as firm ride and quietness even in extremely rugged terrain. Its 5.6-meter minimum turning radius was very useful in tackling extremely tight bends inside the track. The cabin insulation also worked well in keeping the diesel engine noise out. Making the ride comfortable, even with the rough roads, was made possible through the upgraded seats and the fully automatic climate control that allows different temperatures to be set for driver and front seat passenger.
The all-new Montero Sport’s ground clearance is 218 millimeters with a 30-degree approach angle, 23-degree ramp break-over angle and 24-degree rear departure angle. This made tackling steep rocky hills a breeze.
Suspension is composed of a double wishbone with coils up front and three-link coil spring rear configuration updated with better damping and revised geometry for better handling and ride. Its wading depth capability is rated at 700 mm, a 100-mm increase over its predecessor. We were not able to try out its wading capability but were assured that it can capably accomplish the task.
The test drive was all about testing its off-road capabilities. On-road tests will be done in a different place and time. However, MMC assured that with the Montero Sport’s proficiency in the off-road tests, it’s on-road capabilities will be far more impressive.
The new SUV is built around the Mitsubishi’s RISE impact safety body design that is complemented by seven SRS airbags. A host of advanced safety features have been fitted to the 2016 Montero Sport as well. It has Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), around view monitor, sonar parking sensors and electronic parking brakes. To address concerns of pedal misapplication, a new Ultrasonic mis-acceleration Mitigation System (UMS) has been installed.
Before the end of the testing session, MMC surprised the Philippine contingent with the presence of Mitsubishi brand ambassador and Dakar Rally champion driver Hiroshi Masuoka. Using a bone-stock Montero Sport, Masuoka-san had the Philippine journalists ride shotgun with him to demonstrate its off-road abilities at rally-speed. The once in a lifetime experience awed the media participants as it performed flawlessly in the dirt track as Masuoka induced the Montero Sport to go sideways (numerous times), dive over deep ravines and even making the SUV jump up steep gullies. Masuoka himself was impressed by the performance of the new Montero Sport as he said after the demo drive, “Impressive, isn’t it?!” while reminding everyone that the unit used was a stock model.
The all-new Montero Sport is expected to land in Philippine shores January next year. With the new model coming with a treasure trove of high-end safety and driver aids, its higher price point will surely make it all worth the price.