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February 12, 2023

Review: 2023 Mitsubishi Montero Sport Black Series Ralliart 2WD

There’s no beating around the bush: the Mitsubishi Montero Sport is getting old. The current generation was first launched locally back in 2016 (it was subsequently refreshed in 2019) which means it’s now overshadowed by newer offerings. Yet, there’s still a strong, almost cult-like following for this particular mid-sized SUV, one which this Ralliart version aims to tap.

Seen purely from an economics standpoint, this Ralliart version of the Montero Sport doesn’t make sense. After all, it’s basically an “appearance-ception” of a product. A play on the plot of the movie, Inception, where characters dream within a dream, the Montero Sport Ralliart is an aesthetics package built atop the Montero Sport Black Series, which is, on its own, an aesthetics package for the now-discontinued 2WD GT. And the price for the striking look of the Ralliart? P 72,000 atop the Black Edition’s P 2,050,000 price tag. In turn, the Black Edition is P 53,000 premium over the 2WD GT. Worth it? It depends on who you ask.

See, the Montero Sport Black Series Ralliart, as this variant’s officially called, isn’t supposed to cater to the rational. It’s meant to be emotional. It’s meant to tug at the heartstrings of Mitsubishi fans who long for the good old days of multiple World Rally Championship and Dakar Rally wins. For that specific subset, the transformation largely works.

As a starting base, the Montero Sport looks reasonably futuristic. Looking like something a Cylon—the robot-like antagonists in the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica—would drive, it’s definitely more concept car-looking than even some of the more recently launched 7-seater SUVs. The metal-to-glass ratio favors the former and that gives the impression of it being taller than it is. Sleek and angular, Mitsubishi designers decided it wasn’t enough and this is where the Ralliart transformation comes in. The large side decals are, for the lack of a better term, vulgar but allows it to stand out from the dozens of other examples you see at the mall carpark. The same goes for the bumper under garnishes (and their red highlights), gloss black arch moldings, and the Rally Armor-inspired mudflaps. Honestly, the only thing missing is a set of unique alloy wheels. Here, it’s the same 18-inch design found in the regular Black Series.

Favoring a more futuristic profile did have two undesirable results. First up, the interior’s on the small size. Despite measuring up similarly to other mid-sized SUVs, it’ll have trouble accommodating taller individuals. The sharply raked A-pillar means a surprisingly lack of headroom for the front passengers, while the third row’s low ceiling makes the accommodations feel claustrophobic. Frankly, only those in the middle row seats will find little to complain about, except if you tend to prefer reclining your seatbacks as much as possible; those people will find that they can’t recline their seats by much if the third row’s folded down because of the way it tumbles. Aside from limited seating comfort, the interior’s relatively narrow width means it’ll have trouble swallowing bulky objects. The problem is further exacerbated by the high load height.

The second issue has to do with the general lack of visibility. Though the view straight on is good, the small windows and the A-pillar means a blocked front three-quarters view. The same goes for the rear three quarters as well. The large mirrors and myriad of sensors—front and rear clearance sensors and 360-degree camera—do help to a degree, but admittedly, Mitsubishi could have done better here.

Be that as it may, the Montero Sport continues to impress in other areas. The cabin looks and feels well-built with solid materials and impeccable levels of fit and finish. Poke hard enough and there are some old school Mitsubishi parts, but they’re few and far between. The major driver touchpoints—steering wheel, shifter, and seats are easily the best parts of the cabin.

Introduced in the previous update, the Montero Sport has gone all in on LCDs for both its instrumentation and infotainment system. The traditional analogue gauges have been replaced by an 8-inch LCD panel. Now, this particular test drive unit is heavily tinted which means the display doesn’t wash out, but based on previous experiences, in non-tinted units, they do. Still, at least the information is presented in a clear, concise manner even if the graphics don’t look cutting-edge (even if there are three selectable display modes). Towards the center, there’s an 8-inch Smartphone-link Display Audio or SDA system. Like the gauge cluster, the graphics and interface look clunky and outdated, so thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android are standard allowing you to by-pass the entire system altogether.

Tech grievances aside, the Montero Sport remains a solid mechanical package. The 2.4-liter MIVEC diesel isn’t linear in terms of power delivery, as it clearly relies on boost, but it does have excellent tractability around down. These attributes mean it’s best to go for a fuel that makes the most out of the 4N15’s relatively modest displacement like Petron Turbo Diesel. With its higher cetane number and its premium additive system, it provides more efficient and complete combustion while keeping the engine and fuel injectors clean. Thanks to its relatively small displacement, it’s less clattery than the competitor’s diesels. Punch the accelerator, and there’s a bit of hesitation before it hits its stride. The 8-speed automatic is, by far, the best in the segment, with its smooth, decisive shifts. Moreover, it stays relatively efficient registering 8.84 km/L in heavy traffic (14 km/h).

Mitsubishi missed the opportunity to outfit the Montero Sport Ralliart with unique shocks or springs, but on its own, the ride is still decent. Around town, it doesn’t get upset by small, undulating ruts, but it also manages to absorb larger and sharper ones too. There are times when it can feel jittery, especially when unladen, but it’s never unruly. And despite carrying over a hydraulic power steering system, the effort is on the lighter side making it feel quicker than it is. It’s only at higher speeds that it experiences the occasional choppiness and on the twisty backroads that excessive body roll occasionally makes it feel a little undisciplined.

On the safety front, the Montero Sport Black Series Ralliart gets 6 airbags (down one from the top-trim 4WD GT) as well as all the forward-facing driver assist tech: Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System, Forward Collision Mitigation, and Adaptive Cruise Control. In fact, compared to the 4WD GT, it only loses the blind spot monitoring system and hill descent control. In short, it’s a well-loaded 7-seater SUV, safety-wise.

As an all-around vehicle, the Montero Sport still manages to cover a lot of ground. It misses the mark particularly in cabin space and interior tech, but makes up for it with its general ease-of-use, especially in the confines of the city. The verdict, however, on this variant, the Ralliart is still subjective. The vast majority will think that forking out P 2.122 million for decals, mud flaps, and floor mats is nuts. But there will be a minority who’d want their 7-seater SUV to stand out in a racy sort of way. Haters will hate, but after all’s said and done, Mitsubishi is offering buyers here the power of choice. The Montero Sport Ralliart may be purely aesthetics for now, but it serves as a great springboard for the revival of the automaker’s storied motorsports brand.

2023 Mitsubishi Montero Sport Black Series Ralliart 2WD

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Bottom Line
Pros Futuristic styling, solid dynamics
Cons Cramped interior, dated cabin tech, visibility issues
TL;DR A polarizing appearance package set atop a mid-sized SUV that still covers a lot of ground
Year Introduced 2016 (Refreshed: 2017, 2019, 2022)
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type Mid-Sized SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 181 @ 3,500
Nm @ rpm 430 @ 2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy (km/L) @ Ave. Speed (km/h) 8.84 km/L @ 14 km/h
(fueled with Petron Turbo Diesel)
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,825
Width (mm) 1,815
Height (mm) 1,835
Wheelbase (mm) 2,800
Curb Weight (kg) 1,945
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension 3-Link Coil Springs
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Dunlop AT20 265/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR w/ pre-tensioners x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System
Forward Collision Mitigation System
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, LED
Light Operation Auto On/Off
Wiper Operation Variable Intermittent
Tailgate Electric
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-Way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 8-Way
Seating Surface Leather
2nd Row 60/40 Split-Fold, w/ Arm Rest
3rd Row 50/50 Split-Fold
Sunroof None
Multi-Information Display Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Day/Night
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Dual, Automatic (Front) w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Already dated compared to its competitors

    1. Compare then the engines and specs of fortuner Q vs dated montero black series and say again which one is a great buy

    2. @King Vanette How about comparing this Montero variant to the Everest Sport 2.0? Then the latter beats this as it is priced lower and I believe both have similar specs.

  2. 2.1 million and not even 4WD?!?! Mitsubishi... What are you thinking?!?!?!!!??!

    1. Which among its competitors has the 4x4 variant even close to 2.1 million?

      Give me just one. Just one,

    2. Nissan Navara VL AT 4x4 at 1.7m. You can even get Nissan Navara PRO-4X AT 4x4 2023 at 1.8m

    3. Sorry, I thought the article was about Mitsubishi Strada Pickup

    4. Yeah it's about a pick-up based SUV, which is not exempt from the TRAIN law excise tax, so it's much more expensive

  3. Hoping an all new Montero sport is released within 2023.

    1. Quick question guys - Is it normal for 2023 Montero GLS to have hissing sound between 20-40 kph esp during stop and go. Can be heard inside the cabin :-(.. Mech said during 1K pms it is the turbo.. Your thoughts. TY

  4. Re hissing sound. No its not normal. There is no hissing sound even at 100kph.


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