MITSUBISHI PAJERO SPORT GLS
A marginal sticker advantage puts the Pajero Sport in front early. The outlay gets an eight-speed auto transmission linked to a 2.4-litre turbo diesel, keyless entry, digital radio, reversing camera, diff lock, auto lights and wipers, autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot warning, rear DVD players and heated front seats. Servicing over the first four years or 60,000km costs $2090. The Dynamic Shield styling endows the front of the Pajero Sport with a solid, horizontal stance that befits a tough off-roader. I’m less convinced about the upswept rear windows (resembling the donor Triton vehicle’s curved rear end). Bewilderingly, Mitsubishi Australia opted not to take this vehicle as a seven-seater, so there are orphan cupholders behind the second row seats. The low-down torque from the diesel donk isn’t tamed by the traction control and this car will readily chirp wheels on takeoff. The eight-speed auto is a new transmission that needs some finetuning but it actively aids solid acceleration once under way. Fuel economy is a claimed 8.0L/100km and the Pajero Sport can tow 3100kg. This is a tough truck. The Pajero Sport blitzed a five-star ANCAP rating with a score of 36.22/37. A driver’s knee bag lifts the airbag count to seven and it uses the latest version of Mitsubishi’s “Super Select II” four-wheel drive software to maintain composure in most circumstances short of being on its side or roof. A brief off-road stint highlights just how capable the Pajero Sport is. It gives away 8mm of ground clearance to the Toyota but is just as capable of taking on most terrain. The softer suspension is a blessing in the bush where you aren’t bucked around as much as the Fortuner. It’s a different story on the bitumen where the extra body roll and pitch isn’t appreciated nearly as much.