2015 was a busy year for the expanded market segment for 4WD’s based on a Ute chassis. Every key manufacturer in the Ute market now has a wagon variant. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is a little different in that it initially has been launched as a 5 seat wagon only. This gives it a competitive advantage over the competitors.
Based on the newly launched Triton, itself an award winner this year, the range topping Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed is packed full of features and safety, combined with legendary off road ability and a large boot area, excellent Gross Combination Mass between payload and towing capacity and outstanding value for money. It is ideally suited to 4WD enthusiasts, adventurous families as well as the Grey Nomads who like to tow.
Externally, the Pajero Sport follows the new dynamic styling theme which features bumpers that wrap around the front from the left and right guards and are bordered by a bright silver garnish. From the side, the Pajero Sport is sharply contoured by a crease running through the front guard and rear quarter panel and taillight. Integrated roof rails, 8-inch alloy wheels, side sill garnish and side step reinforce Pajero Sport’s bold off-road SUV image.
The front styling is further enhanced by LED headlights and Daylight Running Lamps, which function as dimming position lamps when the headlights are on. The rear design is both sporty and stylish with iconic LED rear combination lamps that have a unique vertical design, which is even more striking when illuminated.
Unfortunately, to me the rear end evokes memories of a Lancer wagon or the older Grandis 7 seat wagon. This does however provide plenty of height and cover from the tail gate.
Internally, the Pajero Sport cocoons the driver and front passenger with wrap around dash and centre console. The sleek style is complimented by the electric handbrake and off road mode switch. The two dial dash with centre MFD is clear and easy to read, the sleek leather steering wheel – that is both height and reach adjustable – allows the driver to find a comfortable position along with the heated electrically adjustable drivers seat. The seats are very comfortable for long drives. Rear passengers have adequate head, shoulder, knee and leg room with heavily padded seats. Cargo space varies from 673L to a massive 1,624L capacity.
Mitsubishi’s new Smartphone link Display Audio (SDA) enables compatible smartphone connectivity through Android Auto and Apple Car Play systems. Users can connect to selected apps, including navigation, stored on their smartphone through the system’s 7-inch colour touch screen or via voice control. The system also allows users to make calls or send SMS messages hands free. SDA is a standard feature on all Pajero Sport models. While this makes use of the latest technology it also creates a problem for navigation in areas of poor or no phone reception, somewhere 4WD enthusiasts would be quite often I would imagine.
The Pajero Sport Exceed is also fitted with Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB), along with traditional AM/FM tuner. There is a rear seat entertainment unit with DVD player and high definition 9-inch roof-mounted colour display and 8-speaker audio. Other features include keyless entry with push button start, speed sensing auto door locking, dusk sensing headlamps, rain sensing wipers, electrochromatic rear view mirror, dual zone A/C, leather interior trim and Multi around Monitor System.
The Pajero Sport is powered by the new 2.4L DiD engine from the Triton but combines with a new 8 speed AT that maximises the engine characteristics as well as minimising fuel usage. The EURO 5 compliant diesel engine produces maximum torque of 430Nm at 2500rpm, while peak power is 133kW at 3500rpm. Like the Triton, most of the torque comes in at a low 1500rpm that enhances everyday driving and towing ability. The engine transmission combination is responsive and adaptive yet frugal.
Another feature is the Super Select II 4WD system which is operated via a selector dial in the centre console. Super Select II allows the driver to switch between four drive modes and centre differential. The system has four operating modes – 2H, 4H, 4HLc and 4LLc – and the driver can change between 2H and 4H at speeds under 100km/h. Off-road Mode is a new terrain control system developed exclusively for Pajero Sport. It provides the driver with four driving modes: Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock. It works a treat and has been developed and tested over the harshest of conditions. There is also a rear diff lock.
The Pajero Sport’s handling and ride balance comes from its redesigned suspension geometry and upgraded suspension components. The suspension is a double wishbone with coil spring set up at the front and 3-link rigid axle with coil spring suspension at the rear. At the front, a larger diameter stabiliser bar helps reduce body roll through corners, while front and rear damper rates are re-tuned to improve ride. Rear suspension mount points and the structure of the lateral rod mounts, have been changed to improve vehicle straight line and mid-corner stability.
The Pajero Sport has long stroke suspension for superior off-road performance. A class leading 11.2m turning circle helps the nimble and tractable handling with surprisingly high levels of ride comfort. It also boasts a clever front-end design that dramatically decreases water splash over the windscreen when driving through water.
Awarded the 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating, the Pajero Sport features a comprehensive passive safety architecture based on Mitsubishi’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) impact safety body and seven SRS airbag arrangement. This includes SRS airbags fitted in front driver and passenger, side, side curtain and driver’s knee positions.
In addition, the Pajero Sport has a range of active safety features which are fast becoming standard on passenger SUVs. A rear view camera, reversing sensors and speed sensing auto door locking feature are fitted to every Pajero Sport, while Exceed models are equipped with the following advanced safety technologies: Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) , Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), Multi around Monitor System (MMS), ABS with EBD is fitted, along with Emergency Stop Signal, Active Stability and Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, and Hill Descent Control, Trailer Stability Assist and an Electric Park Brake.
Mitsubishi has designed a winner in the new Pajero Sport. As mentioned, it is packed full of safety, innovative technology and luxury features, comes in a stylish design, has full 4WD capability and can tow what most will want to as well as take the luggage. All this comes for the outstanding value of $57,755 RDAP.