This is what we started with, an '03 Montero Limited we bought to replace our previous land barge, an '07 GMC Yukon, used to haul around four teenagers and one pre-teen. Four have since flown the coupe so we downsized three years ago to the Monty. This is a third generation for this model, with generations I, II, and II.5 being formidable platforms for vehicle-based adventure.
Being an avid follower back in the day of the Paris/Dakar when it actually went there, I became a fan of the Gen III, and, granted, what remains factory in that competition is minimal, the performance and durability of the Gen III's platform won me over.
I've owned two, my first an '01. The main issue with the Gen III is there's very little aftermarket support. It thrives as the Pajero in Asia, Australia and Europe, but fizzled here in the States.
Mitsubishi missed the marketing train on the Paris/Dakar victories, an opportunity to position the Montero nicely against British and other Japanese offerings, not to mention the big three's SUV inventory. Instead they focused on AWD rally cars with Subaru in their sights. Not to mention Mitsu's almost devastating $0 $0 $0 campaign from which they're still recovering.
This not only made the Montero a wall flower, it squelched any incentive for aftermarket development for both the Sport and full-size platform, a good thing for purchase price, and the bane for anyone looking to modify. Stock, the Montero already has a robust drive-train, some models with standard limited slip differential, and respectable nine-inch ground clearance. Outward visibility is terrific, rearward by comparison is great, and the cabin is well-appointed and thought out with one of the largest sunroofs offered.
Apparently Mitsu figured the American market would stick to Jeeps, leaving the Gen III Montero with plastic bumper caps and a departure angle rivaling UPS trucks. Aftermarket wheel offerings are limited given some models' air pressure sensors and the V6 has a tendency to pressure oil through the rear main.
We wanted a good sized SUV to support our kayaking and camping habits. I loved the driving position and handling characteristics of the Monty along with the room, interior design and appointments, the massive sunroof, and its limited-slip 4X set-up.
It's genealogy begins in a rental car fleet in SLC, Utah, then to a private owner, traded to a dealer where I found it. It's only flaw was a non-functioning seat-fold mechanism on the middle row. I had it repaired and it has since busted again with the same M.O. My first one did the same thing.
This is what we ended with. I ended up selling this Monty during a bit of a crisis, and I regret doing so. I've since replaced it with an '07 Hummer H3, but I'd take this one back any time.