Pajero Sport Offers a Different and Quite Capable Family SUV Choice
We recently had the pleasure of being reacquainted with the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport a few weeks back. Not quite sure why, but with a recently subtly tweaked Fortuner, the all-new mu-X and an all-new Everest looming, maybe Mitsubishi wants to maintain its relevance in this important niche.
A SIGNIFICANT REFRESH
You may remember that Pajero Sport enjoyed a pretty significant refresh about a year ago. The tweaked SUV brought several additional luxuries to ‘the boss of the Mitsubishi Stable’.
Starting with a stylish, more modern and more robust Dynamic Shield grille, new daytime running LED headlamps and cornering fog lamps. The big change happened at the rear, which was toned down a little with shorter LED rear combination lamps. Sport also gets neat roof spoilers and face polished 18-inch alloys, pash plates, running bords, et al.
Stepping into this finely appointed full leather seven-seater, you will find a leather-clad tilt and telescopic multi-function steering wheel behind full-colour digital dials. Power front pews in a higher position make for better visibility out and the third row seats rise out of the floor. Rather than hanging off the side and blocking the rear quarter windows like a popular rival. Talking about rearward view, this Mitsubishi also benefits its rear window extending low for greater visibility from the rear view mirror.
The large 8” default Car Play, Auto, Bluetooth and hands-free voice controlled touch screen lurks on the centre dash. It has smartphone-link display audio and Mitsubishi Remote Control Connectivity. There’s automatic multi-zone climate control. There are multiple power outlets and cup holders; park distance control. Add a Power Tilt and Sliding Sunroof and an electric tailgate with dual kick sensors.
FINELY APPOINTED, WELL EQUIPPED
Having said Pajero Sport is finely appointed, it does suffer a degree of plasticky trim and finicky switchgear. There’s a full array of airbags, ISOFIX child seat restraints and seatbelt pre-tensioners and electric parking brakes with auto hold functions, as well as active stability and traction control, ABS anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution and emergency brake assist.
Pajero Sport continues with the trusty 2.4-litre intercooled four-cylinder turbodiesel, which while it may seem meek in comparison with ‘just’ 133 kW and 430 Nm output, it punches well beyond its weight. The Pajero matches or beats most bigger, more powerful and allegedly stronger 4-pot rivals in almost every performance parameter. Which is probably more down to its 110 kilo weight advantage and bonus ratios in its 8-speed automatic ‘box.
On the road, the lofty Pajero Sport is comfy and quiet enough, performance is right on par and economy is acceptable for what this car is. Driver connection may not be race car like to the front wheels and cabin noise is amplified off road. It also seems to have more rolling resistance off the throttle, possibly due to the smaller engine’s higher compression ratio.
PAJERO SPORT STARS OFF ROAD
It’s good off road thanks to a class-leading 30 degree approach. And ample angles in the rest of its 4×4 repertoire. There’s a 218 mm ride height and 700 mm wading depth. So it’s more than capable in the trickier off-road bits. Likely once again due to this the Tri-Star car’s handy lightweight advantage over most rivals. Regular towing capacity is pegged at 750 kg. And while ample, its 2.7 tonne braked trailer towing rating is a bit off the class benchmark
The Pajero Sport is sold with a 3-year/100 000 km Mitsubishi warranty and 5-year 90 000km service plan at 10 000 km. The brand’s dealer presence is also growing consistently to address one of its few real challenges. No problem if you live near an outlet.
So while there’s nothing new for ’22, it was good to get back together with Mitsubishi’s more than capable family SUV alternative to the rank and file regular fare in this neck of the woods. If you want a different and just as capable option, there are few better choices than this. – Michele Lupini
Test & images: Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport DI-D 4x4 Exceed Engine: 133 kW 430 Nm 2.4-litre turbodiesel Drive: 8-speed automatic TESTED: 0-60 km/h: 4.30 sec 0-100 km/h: 9.88 sec 0-120 km/h: 14.08 sec 0-160 km/h 26.99 sec 400m: 16.9 sec @ 133 km/h 80-120 km/h: 7.31 sec 120-160 km/h: 13.43 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 180 km/h Fuel: 8.1 l/100 km CO2: 214 g/km Braked Towing: 2700 kg Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/5y 90K km LIST PRICE: R739K RATED: 8