CHALLENGER TRANSFORMED INTO PAJERO SPORT
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.
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.
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.
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.