Battle wagons. Isuzu MU-X vs Pajero Sport.
THESE TWO ARE THE BEST-SELLING UTE-BASED 4X4 WAGONS, BUT WHICH ONE DESERVES YOUR COIN?
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.