NAM­ING RIGHTS

CHAL­LENGER TRANS­FORMED INTO PA­JERO SPORT

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CARS GUIDE - Peter Barn­well Call Fury Mit­subishi, Sun­ny­holt Rd, Black­town on 9839 9000.

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 for Pa­jero Sport, which chan­nels the good Pa­jero name in this coun­try.

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

EN­GINE

POWER comes from the Tri­ton 2.4litre turbo diesel four cylin­der with 133kW/430Nm out­puts – about av­er­age for the class but with an eight-speed trans­mis­sion un­der­pin­ning the whole plot, the Pa­jero Sport is a sweet drive with 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 a close mounted diesel par­ti­cle fil­ter to cut emis­sions.

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

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

Mit­subishi has added their version of ter­rain re­sponse (Ter­rain Con­trol) to the new Pa­jero Sport with all get­ting dial-up cal­i­bra­tions to suit sand, gravel, snow and mud as well as rocks in the low ranges.

OFF ROAD

SO, THE Pa­jero Sport is a fairly tough off road cus­tomer and to that end, has plenty of ap­peal in this coun­try for a cer­tain type of buyer.

It rides on a lad­der chas­sis and uses coils sus­pen­sion all round. ground clear­ance is am­ple at about 220mm while wad­ing depth is 750mm.

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

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

In­side matches the 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 are pro­vided with a third row avail­able later on.

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

Up the range you’ll 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.

DRIV­ING

PA­JERO Sport is a much bet­ter de­vice than the pre­vi­ous Chal­lenger.

The Pa­jero Sport of­fers up a sup­ple and com­fort­able ride from its all coil spring sus­pen­sion but strong sway bars hold it fairly flat in turns. The steer­ing is light and has a rea­son­ably good turn­ing cir­cle. Noise and vi­bra­tion is at an ab- solute min­i­mum at 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 a 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 the line per­haps but oth­er­wise good, as is fuel econ­omy rated at about the 8.0 litres/100km mark.

This type of ve­hi­cle is now the go-to choice if you are plan­ning the big trip around Aus­tralia and can’t run to a ‘Cruiser or Prado.

Pa­jero Sport . . . rear sus­pen­sion has been re-en­gi­neered.

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