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2003 Mitsubishi Montero Road Test

Automotive expert , Updated:

2003 Mitsubishi Montero - True Grit in a Civilized 7-Passenger SUV

What the world needs now is more large SUVs! What blasphemy! I can hear the tap, tap, tap of environmentally friendly fingers on keypads now, casting me into a pit of endless verbal torment for uttering such an atrocity. But before you do, let me state my case, or at least the case for this particular sport utility.

The Montero is a purist. It's not a station wagon cum minivan with all-terrain tires, bulging fender flares and a raised roofline. Well, actually it encompasses all those characteristics but it's the actual thing, the real McCoy, the true grit, the... you know what I mean. The Montero is 100% off-road capable making it one of only a handful available in Canada.

While in Montebello, Quebec I had an opportunity to test just that in the rugged yet beautiful wilderness surrounding the town. It uses something Mitsubishi calls Active Trac four-wheel drive. This allows rear-wheel drive mode, to improve fuel economy when ultimate traction isn't needed, plus a 4WD high range with a center locking differential for slippery conditions. As well it includes a 4WD low range, also with a locked center differential, to traverse the rough stuff. To select a drive configuration simply pull on the floor mounted lever to signal an electric motor that in turn selects the mode you want.