Mitsubishi Montero Sport: Still the SUV to beat
Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4WD GT offers superb safety features and the best ride quality among the midsize SUV models
You’d think that after the Montero Sport swept the 2016 SUV of the Year awards of the Car Awards Group Inc. in the 2WD and 4WD categories, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. would rest on its laurels.
Instead, for the 2017 model year, MMPC made the Montero Sport 4WD GT even smarter and safer by adding Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) to its already impressive suite of safety features.
The ACC and UMS—together with the 8-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode, forward collision mitigation system, blind spot warning, active stability and traction control, 7 SRS airbags, hill descent control, hill start assist, trailer stability assist, anti-lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist and brake override, rear differential lock, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, Isofix and tether anchors—make the 2017 Montero Sport GT very eligible to bag anew the Best 4WD SUV award this year.
Moreover, the state-of-the-art safety equipment should overcome the issue of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA), which the previous generation 2010-2015 Montero Sport was accused of, although found to be without basis by an investigation conducted by Horiba Mira Ltd., an automotive engineering company based in the United Kingdom.
The independent third party released its findings in September 2016 stating that its investigation found no technical cause to explain the alleged SUA incidents, and adding its hypothesis that these incidents were caused by the driver mistakenly applying the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.
With such an array of safety features, SUA in the second generation Montero Sport is out of the question.
The adaptive cruise control, for one, assists the driver in maintaining a desired distance via radar between his/her car and the car in front.
When the ACC is engaged and a target speed is set, a vehicle icon shows up on the panel if the radar detects a vehicle ahead.
Two indicators show up: “Stand by” and “Active.” The driver can then set under “Active” the following distance: “Long,” “Middle” or “Short” while the ACC maintains the set speed.
The ACC supplements the forward collision mitigation (FCM) system, which is a radar-based automatic emergency braking system.
The FCM applies the automatic brakes moderately to encourage the driver to apply the brake when the FCM judges that there is a high risk of colliding with a vehicle in front.
When the FCM judges that a collision is unavoidable, it initiates emergency braking control to mitigate collision-caused damage, or if the situation permits, to avoid a collision.
The emergency braking is accompanied by visual and audible alarms to warn the driver of the hazard.
Once the emergency braking works, the driver receives a message on the multi-information display screen.
The driver can set the FCM’s activation time with a corresponding length: “Far” has an activation time of 2.5 seconds for a length of 6 meters between the driver’s car and the car in front. “Middle” sets an activation time of 2.1 seconds for a length of 5 meters while “Near” has an activation time of 1.8 seconds for 3 meters.
The Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), on the other hand, helps to prevent parking collisions by controlling engine output if the driver suddenly accelerates forward or reverses by accident.
The Active Stability and Traction Control precisely manages, in terms of yaw, engine output, power distribution and braking force to ensure improved vehicle control, traction and better trace control in all driving conditions.
But it isn’t only the high-tech safety features that won the Best SUV of the Year award for the Montero Sport. Its 8-speed automatic transmission is the first in the midsize SUV class, maximizing fuel efficiency and engine power.
The A/T has a Sport Mode that allows the driving enthusiast to have fun with manual override and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters while keeping in mind that long, tall SUVs like this one are not really designed for racing.
The 2017 Montero Sport is powered by the new 2.4-liter, in-line 4 cylinder DOHC diesel engine with variable geometry turbo (VGT) and Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) with electronic common rail direct injection fuel system as in the award-winning 2016 model.
It produces 178 bhp and gutsy 430 Nm max torque/2,500 rpm which, with MIVEC, delivers excellent response and smooth acceleration all the way into the high-speed range.
Despite the slightly bouncy ride inevitable in SUVs with 18-inch rims, the 2017 Montero Sport provides a silky smooth, extremely comfortable and quiet riding experience which almost matches that of a luxury diesel sedan.
It offers the best ride quality among the leading midsize SUV models, all of which I’ve test-driven.
But the Montero Sport GT is a workhorse and an off-road athlete as well as an everyday commuter.
It has the engine power, transmission and braking force plus four drive settings, four off-road modes, selectable rear locking differential, max 45 degree uphill climbing ability, 700 mm wading depth and approach, ramp break-over and departure angles that enable it to tackle all kinds of terrain.
To cap it all, the Montero Sport is handsome inside and out (except for the slim vertical taillights), with a roomy, luxurious black leather interior, multimedia infotainment system, power tilt and slide sunroof, power front seats and electronic parking brake.
The only thing lacking is a power tailgate.
Bottom line, the P2.058-million Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4WD GT 2017 is still the SUV to beat.
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