Down the straights and through the bends

NZ Autocar - - New Arrival -

In terms of a drive, our least favourite rig was the Pa­jero Sport, the body con­trol far too re­laxed. It’s OK on main high­ways, cruis­ing hap­pily and qui­etly but when­ever the road turned twisty, it was the least will­ing to change with it. The steer­ing, while quicker than the Tri­ton’s, is still too slow in this com­pany. Move the wheel a cou­ple of de­grees off cen­tre and noth­ing re­ally hap­pens. Keep turn­ing and it fi­nally starts head­ing into the cor­ner, but of­ten you need a cor­rec­tion to point it where you ac­tu­ally in­tend to go. The rear will wan­der around as well, and there is too much dive when brak­ing. Off road how­ever, that sus­pen­sion tune comes into its own, soak­ing up all sort of ruts and bumps. If you’re into rough track rid­ing, this might be for you. The For­tuner is quite bumpy over sim­i­lar ter­rain while Ever­est is some­where in-be­tween.

The Pa­jero Sport is the light­est truck here, mak­ing it also the quick­est, helped by its eight-speed auto. While there is still too much turbo lag be­low 1800rpm, once up on boost the auto keeps the en­gine bub­bling away sweetly. It’s quick and smooth with its changes and happy to drop a cog or two when prompted by the throt­tle.

The For­tuner put in a bet­ter ef­fort on road with more body con­trol, and steer­ing more will­ingly into the bends. You can place this more eas­ily than Pa­jero Sport, but there’s still not a great deal of

front end bite and it too likes to dive un­der brak­ing. The For­tuner’s diesel does the job, it needs a few revs to get things mov­ing, but does so will­ingly and the auto, while not the slick­est, also works, and the oc­ca­sional man­ual shift via the pad­dles helps it along.

The Ever­est han­dles ad­mirably con­sid­er­ing it’s the heav­i­est here. Its steer­ing is the most im­me­di­ate and ac­cu­rate, and of­fers the best sense of road feel. It’s the most sta­ble, with the most front end grip and the rear end is less prone to wan­der around. How­ever the weight does even­tu­ally catch up with it and should you push too far the ESP’s ‘Curve Con­trol’ func­tion chimes in neatly to stop any­thing un­to­ward hap­pen­ing. The weight im­pacts straight line per­for­mance, though it’s about as quick as the oth­ers in 80-120 terms, and yet town and around Ever­est eas­ily grunts about the place. Help­ing the cause is the slick na­ture of the sixspeed auto; it keeps the five-pot­ter in its zone be­tween 1500 and 3500rpm. It’s the one we pre­ferred to drive. As far as diesel use goes, they are all within a few tenths of one another, av­er­ag­ing around 10 over­all and up to 14 at worst.

For­tuner has the smallest boot due to the design of the sixth and sev­enth seats, which fold up to the side. Pa­jero Sport has a comfy seat, but it’d be a squeeze for three. Ever­est is best for car­ry­ing peo­ple.

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