4 x 4 Australia - - Tough Dog -

THE Pa­jero Sport is based on the Tri­ton ute that ar­rived early in 2015 and was a fi­nal­ist at last year’s 4X4OTY. Aside from the body and the coil-spring rear sus­pen­sion, the no­table change from the Tri­ton is an eight-speed au­to­matic in place of the Tri­ton’s five-speed auto. There’s no man­ual in the three-model range and all have Mit­subishi’s now unique Su­per Se­lect 4x4 sys­tem that of­fers the func­tion­al­ity of full-time 4x4 but with the op­tion of 4x2. Oth­er­wise it’s Tri­ton en­gine, Tri­ton front sus­pen­sion and a short­ened and mod­i­fied Tri­ton lad­der-frame chas­sis.

Our test ve­hi­cle was the Pa­jero Sport GLS. The more ex­pen­sive Ex­ceed gains au­tonomous brak­ing, blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing, ex­ter­nal view cam­eras and a rear DVD sys­tem. Be­low the GLS is the GXL, which loses the third-row seats but gains pay­load and lug­gage space.


WITH its well-sorted sus­pen­sion, strong en­gine, su­per-smooth eight-speed auto and se­lectable full-time 4x4 sys­tem, the Pa­jero Sport GLS proved to be a com­fort­able tour­ing wagon. It’s also very well equipped, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing its sub-$50k ask­ing price.

The soft sus­pen­sion of­fers com­pli­ance on bumpy back roads and when driv­ing on gravel. How­ever, the Pa­jero Sport does ex­hibit pro­nounced body roll when cor­ner­ing. Nev­er­the­less, the fact you can en­gage full-time 4x4 on sealed or un­sealed sur­faces en­sures there’s plenty of trac­tion when­ever you need it.

The Pa­jero Sport proved eco­nom­i­cal on test, record­ing an av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 11.2L/100km, but with a small­ish 68L fuel tank safe tour­ing range is limited to around 550km.


THE Pa­jero Sport’s afore­men­tioned soft sus­pen­sion re­sults in a good ride over bumpy off-road tracks. Ground clear­ance is ad­e­quate for most tracks, al­though the rear over­hang is com­pro­mised by the lo­ca­tion of the spare wheel and

fur­ther­more when an OE tow­bar is fit­ted, as it was to our test ve­hi­cle.

The trans­mis­sion’s pad­dle shifts are mounted to the steer­ing col­umn rather than the wheel, so you don’t have to fum­ble around look­ing for them when the wheel is turned, but the Pa­jero Sport was oc­ca­sion­ally re­luc­tant to shift down when man­u­ally prompted to do so.

Nev­er­the­less, very good low-range re­duc­tion (45.9:1 in low range first gear) meant the hill descent con­trol was vir­tu­ally re­dun­dant and the Pa­jero Sport had no trou­ble climb­ing steep tracks.

The rear diff lock (stan­dard on GLS and Ex­ceed) en­gages quickly but once se­lected the trac­tion con­trol sys­tem is dis­en­gaged on both axles, so in many of­froad sit­u­a­tions you’re bet­ter op­tion is to leave the rear diff open so you can take ad­van­tage of the trac­tion con­trol.


WITH the rear diff lock en­gaged, the Pa­jero Sport found the go­ing tough on the set-piece hill climb. Rear-wheel travel is ac­cept­able, but there isn’t a lot of travel up front, and with­out any elec­tronic in­ter­ven­tion the front wheels were left scrab­bling for trac­tion over even mod­er­ate un­du­la­tions on the hill.

For its sec­ond at­tempt at the hill climb, the rear diff lock was dis­en­gaged to en­able the elec­tronic trac­tion con­trol sys­tem to do its thing; the Pa­jero Sport made it fur­ther up the climb in this con­fig­u­ra­tion, but the driv­ing line had to be al­tered to avoid the big­gest holes in the track for it to even­tu­ally crest the hill.

The Pa­jero Sport’s im­pres­sive low-range gear­ing meant de­scend­ing the set-piece hill climb was easy, with no need to ap­ply the brakes or en­gage the HDC; very good stuff for an auto!


IT’S not the top-spec Pa­jero Sport, but the GLS is still very well-equipped and comes stan­dard with fea­tures in­clud­ing leather seat trim, elec­tric seat ad­just­ment, dual-zone cli­mate-con­trol air-con­di­tion­ing, Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto con­nec­tiv­ity, and key­less en­try.

The front seats are sup­port­ive and com­fort­able, but all of the 4X4OTY judges com­plained about the de­sign of the cen­tre con­sole which en­croaches on leg room and makes the cock­pit feel cramped.

Com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­dat­ing three adults across the sec­ond-row seat is a big ask. There’s not enough shoul­der room and the outer-seat oc­cu­pants feel as though they’re

lean­ing to­wards the cen­tre. Mean­while, the cen­tre pas­sen­ger will be sit­ting atop his or her own seat­belt buckle.

With a tum­ble fold de­sign, ac­cess to the third-row seats is good, there’s rea­son­able legroom and there are air-con­di­tion­ing vents and cup hold­ers, but the child-seat an­chor points that pro­trude from the roof com­pro­mise head­room.

With the third-row seats folded into the floor, the Pa­jero Sport has a good-size cargo area, but the cargo-tie-down points are not par­tic­u­larly strong, and there are only two of them.


ALL Pa­jero Sport mod­els are equipped with 18-inch rims shod with 265/60R18 Dun­lop GT AT20 rub­ber, which is now al­most the stan­dard size for this class.

While the air in­take is po­si­tioned up high up through the Pa­jero Sport’s in­ner guard, the al­ter­na­tor is down at the mid­point of the en­gine bay where it’s more sus­cep­ti­ble to a mud bath in ex­treme con­di­tions. All other electrics are lo­cated up high, and there’s plenty of space for those who wish to fit a sec­ond bat­tery or an air com­pres­sor in the en­gine bay.

If you get stuck in your Pa­jero Sport, you’ll be pleased to know it’s fit­ted with de­cent re­cov­ery points front and rear.


THE Pa­jero Sport GLS packs plenty of equip­ment and fea­tures, yet is priced lower than many of its di­rect com­peti­tors. It de­liv­ers good on-road per­for­mance, com­fort­able ride qual­ity and rea­son­able off-road ca­pa­bil­ity.

At the end of the week’s test­ing, the Pa­jero Sport pleas­antly sur­prised ev­ery­one, but none of the judges were impressed with the con­sole, which re­sults in a cramped cock­pit feel.


TOUGH Dog of­fers a 20mm lift us­ing ei­ther 41mm non-ad­justable foam cell or the nine-stage ad­justable shocks op­tion. The front end is sus­cep­ti­ble to changes in weight so TD has de­vel­oped three dif­fer­ent springs for dif­fer­ent weights – one for stan­dard trim, one for ve­hi­cles with a bull­bar, and a third for ve­hi­cles with both a bull­bar and winch. It has also de­vel­oped 0-300kg and 300kg+ con­stant load springs for the back. Price ranges from $1340 to $1680, depend­ing on op­tions se­lected.

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