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An elevated drive

An elevated drive

Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes

Where cashing out a bit more takes you

There is wisdom in knowing that you get what you pay for. One gets a different kind of service, feel or perhaps an elevated VIP treatment. In the realm of cars, we get to experience these in the top-tier variants of each and every model in the market, just like the Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4×4 GT we drove a few years back.

Tagged at about P2.4M or a little below a million more compared to its base model, it has all the bells and whistles of a topspec sport utility vehicle (SUV) in the country. This fine brute gives one more than just a status symbol — but a complete premium package experience.

I first chanced upon this midsize SUV in one of the local carmaker’s press releases. I must say, it did look good on paper. And so, my curiosity eventually led me to seeing it in the flesh and borrowing it for five days.

At the onset, one could immediately feel its distinct manly vibe — which — I could say is notches above any regular folk in its segment. From its robust Dynamic Shield design language at the front, complemented by its LED headlamps and flashy daytime running lights, to its bold lines that stretch all the way to the rear, coupled by its LED combination lamps and shark’s fin antenna — not to mention its glitzy 18-inch alloy wheels keeping it steady on all fours — this SUV oozes with irrefutable machismo.

Irrefutable machismo.

This certain boldness spills over inside to its cavernous cabin. Right behind the wheel, I was snugly fit right on the driver’s seat like a king on his throne. With driving ergonomics at its finest, one is easily spoiled by its premium leather seats with double layered cushioning and a slew of other creature comforts only found inside vehicles at this level.

A new eight-inch colored LCD instrument meter cluster, dual zone automatic climate control system, adaptive cruise control, plus a new smartphone-link display multimedia entertainment system, featuring an eight-inch infotainment system compatible to both Apple Carplay and Android Auto and a Mitsubishi Remote Control App are just marvelous.

Safety-wise, it’s packed with seven SRS airbags, blind spot warning with lane change assist, ultrasonic misacceler-ation mitigation system, forward collision mitigation system, rear cross traffic alert, just to name a few.

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This behemoth is one solid performer on the road as its firm hold on the straights yet nimble maneuverability on the corners give the driver an easy and convenient handling, all the while providing the feeling of safety for all its occupants. Plus, the usual cliché “smooth, comfortable and stable” ride all throughout it provides is just bliss.

Short yet fun offroad stint.

To just add a little bit of fun, I brought this top-spec 4×4 Montero Sport variant to some brief offroad stint in one secluded area in the metro to see how it behaves out there in the wild. With just one flick of the knob from its usual 4×2 mode, I shifted to 4×4 high and low with just a cinch. To my surprise — or say, delight — it performed above par.

It may have some quirks in its third-row seats and new power tailgate. But overall, after a short five-day stint, I say this top-spec SUV variant is the real deal. If you happen to be in the market for a Montero Sport—and probably yearn for the more premium things life has to offer—cashing out more would definitely, in an instant, take you to a whole new level.