PAJERO FORTUNE R EVEREST
Down the straights and through the bends
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.