Big Test: Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 2WD vs. Ford Everest 2.0 Turbo Titanium 4x2

A 4x2 is enough for most needs
by TopGear.com.ph | Feb 29, 2020
PHOTO: Elaine Lara
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Buyer dilemmas between similarly priced and spec’d models in the same segment are perhaps the very reason that we motoring journalists even have jobs in the first place. In every review, we do our best to be objective and to identify the best and worst features of the car.

So for this important Big Test between two popular midsize SUVs, we decided to do it a little differently. Rather than just get one writer’s opinion, we decided to pool together the thoughts of four staff: editor-in-chief Dinzo Tabamo, assistant managing editor Jason Tulio, assistant news editor Drei Laurel, and editorial assistant Leandre Grecia. During this test, we each took turns playing driver and passenger in the Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Montero Sport from Metro Manila to La Union and back.

Each writer chooses a winner for each category, which is then assigned 5 points. The losing car is assigned 4. At the end, we tally all the votes to decide which midsize SUV ultimately reigns supreme. Let’s dive in.

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Styling

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Jason: Divisive as it is, I think the Montero’s styling is underrated, especially in this new facelifted form. The Dynamic Shield fascia brings together the look nicely, and the much-maligned taillights are a tad shorter (though only slightly less of an eyesore). The Everest’s nip and tuck is nice, but it brings nothing new to the table and looks very similar to the old version. I admire Mitsubishi’s bravery with its design, so the Montero Sport takes it for me.

Points: Montero Sport, 5 - Everest, 4

Drei: Style-wise, I have to give the edge to the Ford Everest. The changes made to the 2020 model’s exterior are considerably more subtle when compared to the makeover the Montero Sport underwent, but I have to say it looks more well rounded-out. While I definitely dig the Montero Sport’s more muscular demeanor, parts of the face give off the impression it was hastily put together to conform with the rest of the Japanese carmaker’s lineup.

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Points: Everest, 5 - Montero Sport, 4

Leandre: If this was the pre-facelift Montero Sport against the Everest, then I probably would’ve said that the latter looked better. But that’s not the case. Actually, I didn’t think I’d say this, but Mitsubishi’s dynamic shield design is growing on me. The Montero’s face looks much more macho now—it has more character than before. As for the rear, the taillights still don’t work perfectly for me, but they definitely look much better than the previous ones. Besides, even if the Everest has new wheels, the Montero does, too—and those new-look 18-inch alloys look pretty damn good.

Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Dinzo: This is tricky. I’m not a fan of body kits. Even more so when they’re slapped on trucks that are, to me, supposed to be visually uncluttered in keeping with the ‘utility’ in sport utility vehicle.  So the Montero Sport’s body cladding is, in theory, a minus for me. But in reality they’re quite tastefully done and still give the Mitsubishi SUV decent ground clearance. Plus the Montero Sport is more stable at high speeds than the Everest, and I wonder if the body kit plays a role here. But in the end the Ford’s smooth lines are what I prefer. The refresh has given the Everest a cleaner, more pleasing appearance. It looks premium even with its austere exterior. 

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Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Interior

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Jason: It’s a close one in this department, but I have to give it to the Everest for one simple reason: the interior space. While the Montero Sport will seat you comfortably, the Everest just feels a lot more cavernous with room to move in the back seats. For those that will buy these SUVs for family use, that’s a big factor.

Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Drei: Again, I have to say the Everest has the advantage. I love its cabin’s stealthy new vibe, and the plastics and trim simply feel better to the touch than the Montero Sport’s—it’s amazing what a simple change in color scheme can do for an interior. Also, the Everest just feels so much more spacious compared to the Montero Sport.

Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Leandre: This was pretty tight, but the Montero Sport takes the cake in the end. Both cabins are leather-clad and have soft and comfortable seats, but Mitsubishi’s design is much more stylish for me—thank the large infotainment system for that. The smaller screen on the Everest’s dash and the overall look of its center console just look a bit dated in my opinion.

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Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Dinzo: At this point you can do no wrong in choosing either of these cabins. Mitsubishi is quite proud of its digital gauges, and rightly so. It’s fun to fiddle with the different display options in the Montero Sport, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality is just a welcome treat. The Monty’s cabin might feel a little snug, but this is just part of its driver-focused interior. The Ford is no slouch when it comes to bright and shiny displays, too, and it has led the pack when it comes to superb smartphone connectivity—CarPlay and Android Auto has been available for several years. In this regard I prefer Ford’s more coherent approach to design and ergonomics. Everything just looks easier to operate while still offering more than enough functionality.

Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Engine performance

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Jason: This battle, for me, wasn’t as close as I thought. The Everest’s 2.0-liter turbo is nice in theory, but once you hit the highway, you start to miss the beefier 3.2-liter while overtaking. Mitsubishi’s 2.4-liter is just right for an SUV this size, and it by far provides the better driving experience.

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Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Drei: I’ve always considered the Montero Sport the best-driving midsize SUV in the market, and this impression has been reinforced during my latest stint behind its wheel. While both SUVs’ powertrains are sprightly, the Montero Sport’s throttle simply feels more responsive than the Everest’s, and its eight-speed automatic transmission is clearly a smoother shifter than the Everest’s 10-speed.

Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Leandre: On paper, it’s almost identical: the Everest is capable of 178hp and 420Nm while the Montero Sport has 176hp and 430Nm on tap. On the road, however, the Montero just does have more oomph for me. Its transmission feels a lot smoother, too, and then the paddle shifters are just the icing on the cake—these just made the drive more fun, especially when we were sprinting through the highways leading to La Union.

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Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Dinzo: Mitsubishi doesn’t offer two engine options like its competitors, but the sole 2.4-liter turbodiesel is all you need most of the time, and it won’t break the bank. Ford offers the modern alternative: twin-turbo 2.0-liter diesel with a 10-speed automatic shared with the Ranger Raptor. The latter is the more advanced powertrain, but it’s not enough to unseat the Montero Sport’s capable engine and transmission. As I mentioned before, I also noticed the Mitsubishi is more stable at high speeds.

Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Ride and handling

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Jason: It’s not stated in the brochure, but Mitsubishi actually tweaked the rear suspension to improve the passenger ride comfort, and it’s pretty noticeable. But for overall ride comfort, the Everest has a slight edge. That said, the Montero Sport’s weightier steering and better driving dynamics are a lot better than the Everest’s light and billowy handling. Mitsubishi wins here.

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Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Drei: The advantage here goes to the Montero Sport. Ford’s added a little more weight to its steering, but it can still feel overly light at times. The Montero Sport, on the other hand, feels considerably better weighted and precise—almost car-like. Suspension-wise, the American tends to wallow about a bit too much for my taste, while the Japanese offering can feel a bit too stiff at times. Pick your posion, I guess.

Points: Montero Sport, 5- Everest, 4

Leandre: I have to admit that the Montero Sport handled better, but we’re also factoring in the ride here, so I’m taking the Everest in this one. The Montero Sport stands a bit closer to the ground so it feels more planted when cornering, but it also has a firmer ride, and that’s not necessarily a win in my book. The Ford Everest may feel a bit too floaty for some, but I find its soft, comfortable ride just right.

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Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Dinzo: Both these trucks will give their passengers fast, comfortable rides. But the Americans trump the Japanese when it comes to ride comfort, but our Asian neighbors created the more fun SUV. In the end it will be up to the buyer which characteristic he favors. I’ll opt for the American ride because I live in the city, and EDSA is just horrid for stiff suspensions. 

Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Extra features

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Jason: Mitsubishi vastly improved its entertainment features in this facelift, particularly the new infotainment system. But the Everest simply comes loaded with way more tech like more sensors and a better-sounding audio system. This is a pretty one-sided affair.
Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Drei: Everest. Hands down. The automated tailgate and new Android Auto- and Apple Carplay-capable head unit in the Montero Sport are big steps up compared to the pre-refresh version, but the Everest just has so much more going for it. The Ford Sync interface is more intuitive, the third-row seats fold down with the simple push of a button, and the sound system blows its Japanese competitors away.

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Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Leandre: The Mitsubishi Montero Sport may have a 220V outlet found on the second row, but that’s not enough for it to be considered better. The Everest has additional parking sensors up front, blind spot monitoring feature, a crisp and better-sounding audio setup, and most important, power-folding third-row seats. All of these may seem like small niceties, but they’re very practical ones that you’ll actually be able to use on a daily basis. Even without the automatic parking assist available on the top-spec Everest, I’d say it still beats the Montero Sport by a landslide in this category.

Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Dinzo: This Everest may not be the top-spec variant, but it still has enough toys to beat almost everything in this segment. This midsize Ford feels every bit as well-equipped as its American siblings like the Explorer and Expedition. That power-folding third row basically sealed the deal. No one will call the Montero Sport bare, and it does have all the features you’d expect at this price point, but it’s just not enough to beat the Ford. 

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Points: Everest, 5- Montero Sport, 4

Verdict

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What separates these two are 1hp, 10Nm, and P3,000—numbers so insignificant it’s almost a tie. And the scores we tallied reflect the close competition between these two formidable 4x2 SUVs. In the end the Ford Everest nudges ahead of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport with 91 points compared to the latter’s 89 points. That’s still a definite win, but it proves how perfectly matched these two are. 

So whether you choose our winner, the Everest, or our runner-up, the Montero Sport, know that you’re still getting a fast, comfortable, and well-equipped SUV that can haul you and your family in style.

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SPECS: 2020 Ford Everest 2.0L Turbo Titanium 4x2 AT

Price: P1,995,000
Engine: 2.0-liter turbodiesel I4
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Power: 178hp @ 3,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Drive layout: RWD
Seating: 7

SPECS: 2020 Mitsubishi Montero Sport GT 2WD AT

Price: P1,998,000
Engine: 2.4-liter turbodiesel I4
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 179hp @ 3,500rpm
Torque: 430Nm @ 2,500rpm
Drive layout: RWD
Seating: 7

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PHOTO: Elaine Lara
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