Bat­tle wag­ons. Isuzu MU-X vs Pa­jero Sport.

TH­ESE TWO ARE THE BEST-SELL­ING UTE-BASED 4X4 WAG­ONS, BUT WHICH ONE DE­SERVES YOUR COIN?

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS FRASER STRONACH PHO­TOS MARK BEAN

WEIGHT of num­bers prove there’s good sense in mak­ing a 4x4 wagon from a ute, and right now most of the mid-sized 4x4 wag­ons on sale in Aus­tralia are ute-based. It’s a way for man­u­fac­tur­ers to get more sales vol­ume with­out hav­ing to de­sign a new ve­hi­cle from the ground up, and it is a process that’s led to the Ford Ever­est be­ing de­vel­oped from the Ranger, Toy­ota For­tuner from the Hilux, Holden Trail­blazer from the Colorado, Isuzu MU-X from the D-MAX, and the Mit­subishi Pa­jero Sport from the Tri­ton.

The build process is much the same: re­move the ute body, shorten the wheel­base, swap the rear leaf springs for coils and the rear drum brakes for discs, and drop on the new wagon body. In most cases the driv­e­train re­mains un­touched, save for the Ever­est gain­ing full-time 4x4 and the Pa­jero Sport an eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box. It’s not only the man­u­fac­turer that wins here, as the rel­a­tively sim­ple and ro­bust de­sign that is at the core of any ute lends it­self well to an off-road ve­hi­cle, given ro­bust­ness and sim­plic­ity are two de­sir­able at­tributes of a 4x4.

Of th­ese five wag­ons made from utes, the MU-X and the Pa­jero Sport are cur­rently the best sellers and both have re­ceived a num­ber of up­grades – most re­cently for the 2018 model year – since we tested them two years back, so it’s time to line them up again.

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