New gen­er­a­tion in with a greater sport­ing chance

NEW MOD­ELS/ Mit­subishi has launched its new Pa­jero Sport to take on the Toy­ota For­tuner and Ford Ever­est, writes Lerato Matebese

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

The last gen­er­a­tion Mit­subishi Pa­jero Sport served its pur­pose as a rugged, go-any­where sev­enseater SUV with tried and trusted un­der­pin­nings.

Th­ese were based on the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Tri­ton bakkie and, while reli­a­bil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity re­mained the model’s fortes, it lagged be­hind on the re­fine­ment as­pect. Up­dates were given to the model over the past eight years or so, but a new one was needed to chal­lenge the es­tab­lish­ment that is the Toy­ota For­tuner and, more re­cently, the Ford Ever­est.

While the new Pa­jero Sport may have been stand­ing in the wings for a while, the ex­change rate meant the model could not be launched at a com­pet­i­tive price for some time, so lo­cal fans of the model have had to wait.

UN­VEIL­ING

Now it has fi­nally been launched and the com­pany used the re­cent SA Mo­tor­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence event at the Kyalami race­track as the back­drop to present the new model to the me­dia, al­though it was only an un­veil­ing at this point.

The new model has adopted the com­pany’s lat­est SUV de­sign lan­guage that in­cludes a great num­ber of chrome em­bel­lish­ments up front as seen on the up­dated Out­lander, but it none­the­less el­e­vates the model’s over­all ap­peal.

Based on the lat­est Tri­ton’s im­pres­sive un­der­pin­nings, the new Pa­jero Sport also shares that model’s su­perb 2.4l tur­bod­iesel en­gine.

It puts out 133kW and 430Nm and, in this in­stance, is paired to an eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box, which is a first among its com­peti­tors. The model is of­fered in both 4x2 and 4x4 guises with the lat­ter also in­cor­po­rat­ing the firm’s Su­per Se­lect 4-II all-wheel drive sys­tem.

Hill de­scent con­trol has been added for ad­di­tional safety, while the se­lectable off-road mode is said to max­imise trac­tion on more chal­leng­ing sur­faces. Mean­while, the ad­di­tional elec­tronic as­sis­tance sys­tem al­lows the driver to se­lect ei­ther gravel, mud/snow, sand or rock con­di­tions and op­ti­mise en­gine out­put, trans­mis­sion set­tings and brak­ing ac­cord­ingly.

As we have come to ex­pect of the Pa­jero brand, the Pa­jero Sport should be sub­lime of­froad, but the main ques­tion is how it will fare on the road where the vehicle will spend the bulk of its life. We have al­ready lauded the Tri­ton for its smooth en­gine and ex­em­plary ride qual­ity for what is a con­ven­tional, lad­der-on-frame with leaf spring setup.

On the Pa­jero Sport, dou­ble wish­bone coil springs with a sta­biliser bar in the front are com­ple­mented by a mul­ti­link sus­pen­sion with sta­biliser bar at the rear. The com­pany claims this gives the model a sedan-like level of com­fort.

The cabin shares sim­i­lar ap­point­ments with the Tri­ton, in­clud­ing the fas­cia and in­stru­men­ta­tion. Still with seat­ing for seven oc­cu­pants, the model comes with leather seats, in­clud­ing an elec­tri­cally ad­justable driver’s seat, while the sec­ond row of seats of­fers a 60:40 split-and-tum­ble setup. They also have a slide-and-re­cline func­tion for added con­ve­nience.

Some of the ar­ray of stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes rear park dis­tance con­trol with a rearview cam­era, dual au­to­matic air-con­di­tion­ing with rear pas­sen­ger tem­per­a­ture con­trols and key­less en­try and en­gine start. There is cruise con­trol, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity with voice con­trol and power fold­ing side mir­rors.

SAFETY ITEMS

Safety items in­clude Ac­tive Sta­bil­ity and Trac­tion Con­trol (ASTC), ABS (anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem), EBD (elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion), brake as­sist sys­tem, brake over­ride sys­tem and six airbags.

The new Pa­jero Sport is priced from R569,995 for the 4x2 and R599,995 for the 4x4, both be­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more ex­pen­sive than equiv­a­lent ri­vals. Whether the ex­tra cap­i­tal out­lay it com­mands over its ri­vals can be jus­ti­fied re­mains to be seen.

The new Mit­subishi Pa­jero Sport is a huge leap for­ward over the first gen­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly in terms of de­sign and equip­ment. Below: The in­te­rior is sim­i­lar to that of the Tri­ton bakkie with a high level of com­port and equip­ment.

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