RUGGED BEAUTY

Pa­jero Sport is a smooth, sweet drive

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

CHAL­LENGER is not that bad a name for a “four­bie” SUV but Mit­subishi has walked away from it with the lat­est version of its “tin top” Tri­ton.

They plumped Pa­jero Sport, which chan­nels good name in this coun­try.

This one ush­ers an ex­cel­lent eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion across the three model line-up, GLX, GLS and Ex­ceed priced from $45,000 for en­try model. All get pad­dle shift, too, a rearview cam­era, hill de­scent con­trol, trailer sta­bil­ity, start as­sist emer­gency stop sig­nal.

Power comes from the Tri­ton 2.4-litre turbo diesel four cylin­der with 133kW/430Nm out­puts — about av­er­age for class but with an eight-speed trans­mis­sion un­der­pin­ning whole plot, Pa­jero Sport is a sweet drive good per­for­mance and su­per smooth run­ning.

The en­gine fea­tures MIVEC vari­able cam tim­ing (un­usual on a diesel) an ef­fi­cient vari­able ge­om­e­try turbo (VGT), as well as close mounted diesel par­ti­cle fil­ter to cut emis­sions.

Mit­subishi re-en­gi­neered the rear sus­pen­sion with a more sup­ple coil spring setup, along sundry lo­ca­tion arms and live axle. This pays div­i­dends off road, where live axle its rigid diff lifts the ve­hi­cle out of holes.

From mid spec GLS you get a lock­ing diff, while range top­ping Ex­ceed scores more again. The lock­ups are ac­ti­vated by dial on the cen­tre con­sole.

Mit­subishi has added its version of ter­rain re­sponse (Ter­rain Con­trol) to the new Pa­jero Sport with all get­ting dial-up cal­i­bra­tions

suit sand, gravel, snow and mud, as well as rocks in low ranges.

So, is a fairly tough off-road cus­tomer to that end, has plenty of ap­peal this coun­try for cer­tain type buyer.

It rides on lad­der chas­sis and uses coils sus­pen­sion all around. Ground clear­ance is am­ple at around 220mm, while wad­ing depth is 750mm.

It ca­pa­ble of tow­ing 3100kg and with the eight-speeder auto, that un­der­tak­ing is rel­a­tively easy.

Not for­get­ting 4x4 drive, which mir­rors that in Pa­jero offering 2WD high, 4WD high, 4WD low with par­tial lockup and range ev­ery­thing locked.

It’s a hand­some beast fea­tur­ing Mit­subishi’s new front styling called ``Dy­namic Shield” that will flow through to other mod­els in the range. The rear is strik­ing with large ver­ti­cal tail lights and a kicked-up

sec­tion pro­nounced rear roof pil­lars.

In­side matches out­side for style though soft touch sur­faces are at a min­i­mum and there’s a fair bit of old school mock brushed alu­minium fas­cia. Looks good though. Five seats pro­vided with third row avail­able later on.

Cool kit in­cludes a re­verse cam­era across the board park­ing guides and sen­sors, smart­phone Link Dis­play Au­dio sys­tem that runs on apps, key­less en­try start, a de­cent eight speaker au­dio sys­tem from the base model, touch screen con­troller, elec­tric park­ing brake and multi func­tion wheel,

Up the range you will find a few driver as­sist func­tions as well as leather up­hol­stery. Ex­ceed tops out at $52,750 — a lot less than Ford’s Ever­est com­peti­tor.

Pa­jero Sport is much bet­ter de­vice the pre­vi­ous Chal­lenger, which was crap.

The of­fers up a sup­ple and com­fort­able ride from its all coil spring sus­pen­sion but strong sway bars hold it fairly flat in turns.

steer­ing is light has rea­son­ably good turn­ing cir­cle. Noise vi­bra­tion at an ab­so­lute min­i­mum any time and the car seems to float along in a comfy co­coon — on sealed roads.

Off road it’s im­pres­sive, vir­tu­ally un­stop­pable. The long travel sus­pen­sion main­tains com­fort­able ride even on rut­ted roads and the big Pa­jero Sport has plenty of sus­pen­sion ar­tic­u­la­tion to get over large ob­sta­cles. En­gine per­for­mance is ad­e­quate, a touch tardy off line per­haps but oth­er­wise good, as is fuel econ­omy rated at about the 8.0litres/100km mark.

Ca­pa­ble of tack­ling mud, sand, snow, rocks and gravel, Pa­jero Sport makes light work of­froad­ing. This type ve­hi­cle is now the go-to choice if you are plan­ning

trip around Aus­tralia can’t run to a ‘Cruiser or Prado.

Im­pres­sive. Not as sporty a drive as some (Ever­est) but more com­fort­able and pos­si­bly su­pe­rior off road for tow­ing.

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