ROUGH & RE­FINED – MITSUBISHI PAJERO

MITSUBISHI PAJERO

In Flight Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE - { TEXT: BERNARD K HELLBERG | IMAGES © MITSUBISHI SA }

THE RE­CENT LAUNCH OF TWO ALL-NEW MITSUBISHI PAJERO SPORT VER­SIONS AT THE WES­BANK SA MO­TOR­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE AT KYALAMI, MIDRAND, AT­TRACTED CON­SID­ER­ABLE IN­TER­EST. THIS IS NOT ONLY BE­CAUSE OF THE PRES­ENCE OF BRAND AM­BAS­SADOR VIC­TOR MATFIELD, BUT ALSO BE­CAUSE MITSUBISHI HAS MAN­AGED TO BRING TO MAR­KET A VE­HI­CLE THAT BUILDS ON ITS LEG­ENDARY STA­TUS AS THE CHAM­PION OF THE DAKAR – THE TOUGH­EST EN­DURANCE OF­FROAD RACE ON THE PLANET – WITH NO FEWER THAN 12 VIC­TO­RIES. SEVEN OF TH­ESE WERE IN CON­SEC­U­TIVE EVENTS.

Keep­ing it sim­ple with a 4x2 and a 4x4 model, the new Pajero Sport ex­cels in a num­ber of ar­eas. The stun­ning new 2.4 tur­bod­iesel is mated to an eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box, thereby pre­sent­ing a “See if you can do bet­ter” chal­lenge to the likes of the Toy­ota For­tuner and Ford’s Ever­est.

EN­GINE & TRANS­MIS­SION

A high-out­put 133 kW tur­bod­iesel four-cylin­der does duty in both mod­els, and pro­duces 430 Nm of torque to make it a vir­tu­ally per­fect ve­hi­cle for tow­ing horse­boxes, car­a­vans and heavy trail­ers (750 kg un­braked).

In ad­di­tion, the eight-speed gear­box is note­wor thy for smooth ac­cel­er­a­tion at low revs and fairly de­cent fuel econ­omy which, when driven sen­si­bly, dips un­der the 8 l/100 km mark, and re­sults in an 800 km range from its gen­er­ously sized 68 l tank.

The 4x4 ver­sion also en­joys the Su­per Se­lect 4-II 4WD sys­tem, pro­vid­ing su­perb trac­tion in sand and mud, as well as on snow. This is ac­ti­vated by an id­iot-proof dial on the con­sole which en­ables the driver to choose the per­fect op­tion – right down to 4WD low with cen­tral diff locked for ex­treme off-road con­di­tions.

SAFETY & LUX­URY

Six airbags, ac­tive sta­bil­ity and trac­tion con­trol, hill de­scent con­trol (on the 4x4 ver­sion), and a brake sys­tem with ABS, EBD and BAS (brake as­sist) join forces with rear park dis­tance con­trol, while cen­tral door lock­ing (au­to­matic at 15 km/h), and seven full-leather seats all point to a ve­hi­cle that is much more than a “rough ’n ready” off-roader.

An elec­tri­cally ad­justable driver’s seat, Blue­tooth with hands­free voice con­trol, and full au­to­matic dual air-con­di­tion­ing with rear pas­sen­ger con­trols, as well as front-rear and boot power sock­ets en­able the 2017 Pajero Sport to face its ri­vals on an even foot­ing.

EX­TE­RIOR

The pre­vi­ous model was rather nar­row and up­right to my taste, and would not have won any de­sign awards.

The new mod­els, on the other hand, while still large and im­pos­ing (as a 4x4 should be), boast a more rounded front and rear, while the very lat­est LED driv­ing lights add a touch

of class. All the other fea­tures one would ex­pect of an up­mar­ket ve­hi­cle – such as fully ad­justable steer­ing (height and reach), pad­dle shifts (for over­rid­ing the au­to­matic gear­box when re­quired), rear view cam­era, and 18” al­loy wheels (twotone on the 4x4 model), as well as rain-sens­ing wipers – show that Mitsubishi are se­ri­ous about mak­ing con­sid­er­able mar­ket­ing in­roads in this seg­ment.

FI­NAL SAY

Com­pet­i­tively priced at R569,995 for the 4x2 and R599,995 for the 4x4, Mitsubishi en­joys a price ad­van­tage of be­tween R25,000 and R40,000 when com­pared with sim­i­larly spec­i­fied For­tuners and Ever­ests – ex­plain­ing why the new Pajero Sport out­sold its ri­vals in Aus­tralia while tak­ing nu­mer­ous accolades along the way, such as a full Aus­trian NCAP five-star rat­ing. In­cluded in the price is a three-year/100,000 km warranty and a five-year/90,000 km ser­vice plan.

With 100 years of his­tory be­hind them, Mitsubishi at last seems set to re­turn to its for­mer glory as a man­u­fac­turer of ve­hi­cles that sel­dom, if ever, break down. The brand has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing tough times of late, and the Pajero Sport could be the model that will once again make Mitsubishi a force to be reck­oned with.

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