Ba­sic thrills

Mit­subishi Mon­tero Sport GLX 4x2

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Shakedown - Words by Ja­son dela Cruz Photography by Ian Ma­ganua

There’s a wider reach with the new base model

The cur­rent Mon­tero Sport has been on the mar­ket for about a year and a half now, and has got­ten its fair share of at­ten­tion—whether you’re one who loves the car, hates the tail­lights, or is skep­ti­cal about this ‘sud­den un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion’ non­sense sur­round­ing the name­plate.

The ini­tial of­fer­ings were a pair of 4x2 automatics, a 4x4 man­ual, and the topspec 4x4 au­to­matic. This GLX vari­ant fi­nally fills the 4x2 man­ual void. With a price tag of P1.415 mil­lion, the new base model will surely bring in more sales.

I’m one who’s ab­so­lutely drawn to the styling. Just look at it—how can you not be? The Dy­namic Shield De­sign does make this mid­size SUV seem like a con­cept from the dis­tant fu­ture. And the tail­lights? Yes, I do like them. As I’ve said be­fore, they give the Monty a rec­og­niz­able iden­tity.

The in­te­rior fol­lows the same so­phis­ti­cated ap­proach. De­sign is one thing, com­fort is an­other. The cabin is driver-cen­tric, with a car-like driv­ing po­si­tion and sup­port­ive seats boast­ing just the right amount of firm­ness. The sec­ond row has been moved slightly for­ward and the third row has been pushed back for more legroom. The head­liner is also con­toured for taller pas­sen­gers. It re­ally is well thought out.

This may be the cheap­est vari­ant, but it doesn’t feel like you’re be­ing short­changed be­cause there’s one en­gine across the range—the new 4N15 2.4-liter tur­bod­iesel that de­liv­ers 178hp and 430Nm. The clutch is deep (a Mit­subishi trait) and firm, with throws that are close to­ward each gear. Com­bine that with hy­draulic steer­ing and the tight­est turn­ing ra­dius in this class, and you have a sport-ute that em­pha­sizes driv­ing en­joy­ment.

Grunt is lin­ear un­til the 4,000rpm red­line, mak­ing it a breeze to over­take tri­cy­cles and other slow ve­hi­cles dur­ing out-of-town drives. Our test drive yields about 9km/L around the city and 12.7km/L on the high­way with four pas­sen­gers on board and the cargo area filled with be­long­ings and pro­duce from the mar­ket.

Given the con­ges­tion, the most prac­ti­cal propo­si­tion these days would be an au­to­matic ve­hi­cle. But if you’d rather swap cogs man­u­ally with­out the need for four-wheel drive, then the Mon­tero Sport GLX sat­is­fies the re­quire­ment nicely.

The ride is soft with­out be­ing too cushy

Hands down the best third row in its class

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