Instead of being a new variant of the famous Mitsubishi Pajero as the name suggests Pajero Sport is actually a replacement for the upcoming Challenger. The name Pajero Sport has been used in Europe for Challenger since it was first produced in 1996.
Launched in 1982, Pajero is hailed as the first affordable 4-wheel drive that is attractive to female drivers as well as male colleagues. Therefore, it is not surprising that Australia is only the second country to receive Pajero Sport after Thailand where it was built.
Pajero Sport becomes the latest contender in the seriously extended terrain SUV segment to join vehicles such as Holden Colorado 7, Isuzu MU-X, Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner.
The designers have managed to blend style and ruggedness, featuring Mitsubishi’s latest on-the-fly handling feature ‘Dynamic Shield. Another outstanding feature comes at the back of the car with the extended combination light that looks a bit like a pair of icicles running all the way behind the tail.
Pajero Sport includes a first for the Mitsubishi brand. These include an eight-speed automatic transmission; hill descent control; and electronic parking brake. There is also a new terrain control system.
Inside there is plenty of space for up to five occupants (it misses the third row that its rivals have – although they can come later) with ample seating, support and comfort, all both can recline. Access to the front seats is assisted by an additional handle on column A. The steering wheel has reach and height adjustment.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is offered in three variants: GLX ($ 45,000), GLS ($ 48,500) and Exceed ($ 52,750). GLX seats are fabric, GLS and Exceed have leather upholstery.
The power comes from the 2.4-liter turbo-diesel engine that Pajero Sport shares with the latest Triton utility. The engine generates 133kW of power at 3500 rpm and 430 Nm of torque at 2500 rpm.
The large Mitsubishi coped with extremely good conditions during the two hours that passed through the dunes
The all-new Aisin eight-level automatic has been developed specifically for Pajero Sport and includes adaptive control system with features such as uphill and downhill control and quick rock down control.
Manual transmission is an option in Challenger that is no longer offered.
New auto plays an important part in lower fuel consumption. The official figure is 8.0L / 100km on the combined city / highway cycle which is a significant improvement on 9.8L / 100km compared to the 2.5 liter / year automatic type in Challenger.
When most SUVs are launched in the media, driving planners often try and squeeze in some off-road vehicle segments. Often these are just a few kilometers of fine grained gravel, some even manage a light running beach. It all depends on the confidence that decision makers have about the toughness of their vehicle.
Mitsubishi clearly had no reservations when they outlined the driving route for Pajero Sport’s all-new off-road capability when they threw everything but the sink at newbies.
The first is a visit to Stockton sand dunes north of Newcastle. Looking like the location of ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ (it was used for many filming locations including the original Mad Max), these are believed to be the longest moving sand dunes in the southern hemisphere. The sand dunes reach a height of over 30 meters with a slope and sand stretching from soft to hard.
In addition to being occasionally bogged down by inexperienced sand drivers (mea culpa – I’m one of them), the large Mitsubishi coped with extremely good conditions during the two hours of walking through the dunes.
Dissatisfied with this test, the ruthless route planners took us in the direction of the drive back to Sydney to take us for a steep climb into Watagan forest on a rugged terrain that required crossing. Deep trails and crawl on big rocks. Again, all 18 cars fought their way through and emerged unscathed.
Along the highway, the Pajero Sport feels like every other semi-luxury travel SUV
The key statistics for off-road use are approach and departure angles of 30 and 24.2 degrees, respectively; braking slope on an angle of 23.1 degrees; and a wading depth of 700 mm. Braked’s towing capacity is 3100 kg.
Pajero Sport comes with the Mitsubishi Super Select II 4-wheel system with four driving modes: standard two- and four-wheel drive (2H and 4H); 4HLc then locks the center differential to create additional traction on snow or sand; and 4LLc also locks the center differential and uses low gears for extra torque.
The conversion between 2H and 4H can be done at speeds up to 100 km / h, all others need the vehicle to stand still and in neutral state.
The new Off-Road Mode terrain control system offers four driving modes: Gravel; Mud; Snow; Sand and rocks.