Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

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.

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