Hey Top Gun, give me a call and we can take my 2000 Montero out for a spin. I live next to Lagoon in Farmington. It only has 30K miles on it and it rides great. The best way to decide if you like Montero's is to drive them. While I have never owned a FJ100, I have been a Toyota Landcruiser guy through the years and I have owned two really nice fj80's with lockers. While both of my cruisers were great, I definitely prefer the Montero for several reasons which I have listed below. My father went offroading with the family yesterday and he commented several times how he liked the Gen II.5 Montero much better than my FJ80's. He spent about 3-4 hour behind the wheel and he just loved it and he owns nothing but Toyota's.
First, Montero seems to move much better than my Landcruisers did. While Monty has less torque, Mitsubishi makes up for any short comings in its gearing.
Second, I get a lot better gas mileage in my Montero, Yesterday I went down and played along the San Rafael Swell clear down to Hanksville and I averaged 22mpg with 7 people and all our gear. My FJ80 never got better than 13-14mpg.
Third, the transfercase has a 2wd High mode, which really helps for daily handling and it's much easier on tires and front end components. But it also has the AWD, 4hi and 4lo modes like the Land Cruisers.
Forth, the Montero has considerably more leg room in the rear seat. The second row is actually comfortable, so if you carry passengers that may be a big consideration.
Fifth, the spare tire is not located under the vehicle. This was a big issue on my Cruisers because the rear would drag on everything, even though I had a 3" lift and 33" tires. To get the tire out of the way will cost over $1500 on a Land Cruiser.
Sixth, I think the drive train is stronger. The axles are larger than those on the Cruisers and the trannies are larger and shift much smoother. The trannies in the Montero shift sooo smooth. The trannies in my cruisers were always hunting for the right gear. The Monty engine is also much more refined than the 4.5L in my Cruisers.
Do get me wrong, I loved both of my FJ80's, but as far as an expedition rig goes, I would take the Montero every time. It more comfortable drive and ride in. It's also more reliable and it get much better gas mileage. Feel free to give me a call, I am just in Farmington and I will help you find a nice Monty.
1985 Mitsubishi Pickup, 2.3L H.O. Turbo Diesel, Watercooled Turbo, $d56 Head, Custom '83 Injection pump, JK Rubicon axles w/elockers, 14" Fox Coilovers, Centerforce II, 5.0 Atlas II, ARB Bull Bar,
1983 Mitsubishi Pickup 4x4, Brand New 2.5L Turbo Diesel, Fully restored to stock specs.
1989 Isuzu Trooper SE, 2.6 ITEC, 60K orignal miles, Fully restored.
2009 Jetta Sportwagen TDI