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Land Cruiser j120 or Mitsubishi Montero Sport (2nd gen)? Kindly share your experience.

Hasitha Waruna

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I’m looking for a full-size SUV with a 7-seater option, with a better look and feel. So I selected the two below with my current budget.

  • Land Cruiser j120 2006-2009
  • Mitsubishi Montero Sport 2011-2013

My budget is around 13mil and I can't find any modern full-size SUVs in the Srilankan market for this range. I need to know about below areas of the above two vehicles. Kindly share your honest experience if you own any of these vehicles and help this man to make his choice 😇

  • Size and comfort
  • Ride pleasure and experience
  • 3rd raw size and practicality
  • Features
  • Maintain
  • Common issues(if any)

I saw a few Mitsubishi Montero v93 Petrol engine variants listed for sale around this budget. Any thoughts on this variant? 




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Size and Comfort

The Prado is better in both that the MSport. The interior materials, rear seats, and even the ride is a bit more refined than the MSport. The MSPort is somewhat harsh in the rear due to its semi truck suspension. This is especially true if you get a JDM import.

Ride pleasure and experience.

Ride pleasure...like in comfort of the ride for the passengers. That is the same as above. As I said before, the Prado is more refined in terms of its finish and suspension setup, etc...

Driving pleasure and experience

The Montero Sport is better than the Prado over here.  Try to stay away from the 2,7L Petrol Prado. It is slow and lethargic. So go for the diesel variant of the Prado. I prefer the MSPort because the steering has more feel to it and the diesel MSport (V6 petrol) has some serious acceleration. However, the MSport's suspension makes it a bit bouncy and can require the driver to be a little bit vigilant and be careful (if not it can easily understeer with some bad body roll).

3rd row seats:

Utterly useless in both unless the passengers are short (i.e. its for kids, midgets or full sized adults with no legs). But both of them have 3rd row seats that can be used for short drives. Anything more than 15 minutes the rear passengers will hate themselves. The 3rd row seats in the Prado (JDM variant) is a bit more nicer than that of the MSport.


The MSport was (and is) made as an entry level off-roader for developing markets (i.e. countries like Sri Lanka and South East Asian countries) with harsh roads, limited access to service/maintenance resources. So the MSport feels like a bit of a budget car compared to the Prado when you look at fit and finish. Interior will feel plasticky in the MSport and the seat materials hard and unrefined (but the doors and body panels will feel like a bloody tank). It comes with basic creature comforts which are more or less standard in modern cars (AC, power windows/mirrors, etc...plus some dealer installed stereo, reverse cam, etc...)

The Prado on the other hand was/is made as a mid-level off-roader for a global market and came in many forms. The most basic was the GX/GX.L which you will see the UN and NGOs using. I am guessing you will be looking at the passenger variants (i.e. wagon variants). Those, depending on whether you are looking at a JDM model or a brand new one imported through the agents will have a variety of features. You will get the usual options, plus depending on the trim level you might get anything from drink coolers to factory reverse cams to electric seats, etc...

It is hard to explain as there are so many variables. But for the most part the Prado can have more features than the MSport.


The Prado might have a very slight advantage over here but not by much. So I would say both are almost the same (especially if you are based around Colombo). Cost wise, original Toyota parts from the agent can get very pricey. Original parts from the Mitsubishi agent used to be less hard on the wallet (also, mitsubishi agent in SL has a budget parts line...not sure if they still do).

Common Issues:

General issues. If the car has not had proper servicing and maintenance work done (engine, transmission, 4WD system, etc..) they will give trouble. If they are taken care of, then the slight niggles that the car is known for will not come up. Depending on the variant you are getting you will have to make sure things like the injectors are in proper working order, check if the 4WD system engages and disengaged properly (the Mitsubishi has some solenoids in vulnerable places that makes it go crazy), check if electricals are working properly, etc...

As for the V93...it is a better comparison for the Prado. The V93 is a much better and refined car than the MSport, especially for city use. The MSport is better compared against a Fortuner (because they are both based on pickup truck platforms and built in a manner to be suitable for developing markets).

The v93 has a monocoque design whilst the Prado and MSport are body on frame designs (i.e. has a heavy metal ladder like frame to which the body is mounted on to). So the V93 handles and rides a lot better on road than the Prado. But when the road gets bad or you go off-road the Prado is a lot better. The V93 feels lighter and quicker to the hand and easier to drive. But it does not feel as robust as the Prado. Although the V93 year of manufacture might be new it is still based on a very old platform. So tech wise you really are not getting anything new.

But again...please try not to go for the 2.7L petrol variant of the Prado. It is under powered for the size of car the Prado is.

May I ask why you need a proper 4WD ?



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@iRage Thank you so much for the response. This helped to clear lots of issues I had in my mind.

No actually 4WD is not a special requirement for me, Although these vehicles have 2WD right? I'm pretty sure I'll be using that mode all the time. The thing is I really interested in the looks of these SUV's designs and their road presence. 

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6 hours ago, Hasitha Waruna said:

Although these vehicles have 2WD right?

The Prado is an AWD vehicle, which means the 4WD system is always working. If I remember correct the power split is consistently 50 to the front and 50 to the rear (it just has a simple lockable torsen center diff...so no fancy center diff that tries to change the power ratio between the front and back).

The Pajero sport came in 2WD only and 4WD variants. The 2WD was permanent RWD. I am not sure if SL has any. The 4WD has Mitsubishi's Super Select 4WD system. That you can select between 2WD (RWD) and 4WD. I am not a fac on the Super Select 4WD system. It has vacuum lines that go bonkers after some time. Our field  Pajeros all had problems with the system and on quite a few vehicles the system stopped working whilst the car was running on 4WD. To top it off they have placed solenoids in the strangest of places where it can get messed up by debris/mud/water. However, if maintained carefully and the vehicle is not pushed to the max...it is quite good.

If you are thinking of the 2WD mode because of fuel economy....its not going to change that much. The biggest contributor to fuel economy of a off-roader like this is the weight of the 4WD system vs. not having a 4WD system. So even if you drive the car in 2WD mode, you will still be using up almost the same amount of fuel as a car with AWD since you are carrying the 4WD system anyway. If you get the Pajero Sport 2WD you probably will get a little bit better fuel economy than the 4WD variant (Mitsubishi made this to reduce buying cost for South East Asian markets...not to make the car significantly more fuel efficient). 

Personal Opinion: For a car like this, an AWD system (with lockable diffs) would be a lot safer to drive than in 2WD (RWD) mode as well. The body weight and roll and the high amount of torque can easily make the car understeer and then have snap oversteer. Also, in Vietnam I had a 2.7L petrol Fortuner that was AWD and friend had a Pajero Sport (3L V6). The Pajero Sport out-ran the Fortuner but it didn't feel as planted as the Fortuner when driving in the rain or windy roads. So VSC/TRC is highly recommended.


Edited by iRage
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@iRage I know I have to forget about the fuel economy thing with these models. So it's my last checkbox. I'm planning to use this as a secondary vehicle and mostly will use it for longer rides with my family. So If I can have 7km/L+ fuel economy, It will be more than enough for me since I live far from Colombo. The daily drive will be my 660cc keicar. I'll keep this in my mind. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. 

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7 hours ago, Hasitha Waruna said:

So If I can have 7km/L+ fuel economy

If you get a diesel you will get something close to this (or a 2.7L Fortuner which will do about 6 but not the Prado). For a petrol of either one you are looking at 6 or below.

I think if you want a nice comfortable and refined ride you will feel the Prado a better fit for you (if you don't care about pulling power or anything then even the lethargic/weak 2.7 might entice you). If you want a "rough and tough go anywhere and I don't feel if I end up on my roof ride" then the Pajero Sport might be calling your name. Perhaps the in between would be the V9x Pajero...

All the best with your hunt. Let us know what you end up with and hopefully even create a thread about the car.

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