PA­JERO FOR­TUNE R EVER­EST

NZ Autocar - - New Arrival -

Back in the bad old days, SUVs used tech­nol­ogy adapted from the era of the horse and cart with a big chas­sis, axles at­tached some­what loosely and a body plonked on top. Crude but ef­fec­tive, and we didn’t know any bet­ter. That the dy­nam­ics were dodgy was by-the-by; they were trucks that would take you across both towns and rivers. Then crossovers took over and the hairy-ar­sed ad­ven­tur­ers among us lamented the loss of proper rigs like the Pathfinder and Sorento. Even the Jeep Chero­kee is now a uni­body softie. This has left a space in the mar­ket for full chas­sis trucks and so we wel­come three new­bies, built the way 4x4s used to be con­structed. From Ford, there’s the new Ever­est, while Mit­subishi re­places the old Chal­lenger with the Pa­jero Sport, and Toy­ota adds the For­tuner to its line-up. So which is best?

What’s the idea here?

These three are de­signed to tackle the wilds and so are un­der­pinned by a full-frame chas­sis, each us­ing a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the ute upon which they are based. Each how­ever is shorter over­all than their ute coun­ter­part, with tucked rear over­hangs, and ab­bre­vi­ated wheel­bases. Sus­pen­sion-wise, all have wish­bones up front and rack and pin­ion steer­ing. At the rear, the leaf springs have been ditched and a slightly more so­phis­ti­cated ar­range­ment lo­cates the live axle, all us­ing trail­ing arms, roll bars and coil springs. The Toy­ota and Mit­subishi use the Pan­hard rod to help con­trol the lat­eral move­ment of the axle, while Ford uses a Watts link­age, gen­er­ally thought as more ef­fec­tive but heav­ier. They all bor­row their ute’s diesel en­gine too. For­tuner has a 2.8-litre four with 130kW, and 450Nm at 1600-2400rpm and comes with a six-speed auto (though you can get a man­ual if you pre­fer but you lose 20Nm). The Pa­jero Sport uses Mitsi’s new 2.4, good for 135kW, and 437Nm at 2500rpm and in­tro­duces a new eight-speed auto. The Ever­est uses Ranger’s 3.2 in-line five but it’s down slightly on power at 143kW due to a lower com­pres­sion ra­tio for bet­ter Euro 5 emis­sions (like the oth­ers here) but its beefy torque (470Nm from 1750rpm) re­mains as strong as ever. It has the same six-speed auto as the Ranger, but gets a new per­ma­nent four-wheel drive sys­tem with a vari­able cen­tre diff. This runs a typ­i­cal 40/60 split, but can change ac­cord­ing to trac­tion de­mands. There’s a four-mode off-road trac­tion sys­tem too, and also a lo-range and a rear diff lock. The Pa­jero Sport uses the same vari­able AWD sys­tem as the top Tri­ton with a switch­able cen­tre diff of­fer­ing rear-drive, AWD, and 4x4 with the cen­tre diff locked and a low range as well. There’s var­i­ous off-road modes too but no rear diff lock on NZ-spec trucks. The For­tuner is me­chan­i­cally iden­ti­cal to the 4x4 Hilux so it’s a rear driver un­til it’s switched to 4x4 mode where it runs a con­stant 50/50 split and this is rec­om­mended for loose sur­faces only with 4-Lo and a diff lock for the rough stuff. All three have the var­i­ous hill de­scent con­trol sys­tems.

un­der­pinned by a full-frame chas­sis, each uses a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the ute upon which It is based

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