Buy in bulk
Essentially a ute with a roof, the twotonne seven-seater is a lot of vehicle for cost-conscious buyers
the mid-spec GLS we tested is satnav. Mitsubishi must figure the Android/Apple smartphone mirroring makes the factory route-finder redundant — that’s probably right, providing you have mobile reception.
Standard kit is extensive, with seven-inch touchscreen, digital radio, auto lights and wipers, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery and dual-zone climate control with vents for the second and third rows.
At $51,000 on the road, the GLS is great value, though any colour other than white is a $590 option. Buyers wanting the reassurance of city-speed autonomous braking and blindspot monitoring will need to step up to the Exceed version at $56,000 drive-away.
The Pajero Sport is essentially a Triton with a roof. Mitsubishi has given it a unique external MITSUBISHI PAJERO SPORT PRICE From $51,000 drive-away SAFETY 5 stars, 7 airbags WARRANTY 5 years/ 100,000km CAPPED SERVICING $1350 over 3 years SERVICE INTERVALS 12 months/15,000km ENGINE 2.4-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 133kW/430Nm TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto; 4WD THIRST 8.0L/100km DIMENSIONS 4785mm (L), 1815mm (W), 1805mm (H), 2800mm (WB) WEIGHT 2060kg look and juiced up the interior to give it a classier appearance and comfier feel. I’m not a fan of the vertical tail-lamp design but it sure distinguishes the Pajero Sport from others in the class.
Storage space is good throughout the cabin, with a decent glovebox, centre bin and door pockets, though luggage capacity is restricted to just 131L with seven seats in use.
Soft suspension ensures the big Mitsubishi doesn’t jolt over lumps and bumps. The trade-off is more lean in the corners and some secondary bouncing when tackling speed humps.
This is a necessary “evil” given the SUV brief, to be composed on and off-road, and it largely achieves that. The more bodies in the back, the less the effect, without rivalling the soft-roaders such as a Mazda CX-9 or Kia Sorento.
The 2.4-litre diesel is quiet inside the cabin and doesn’t feel as if it has to work hard to haul the two tonnes. An eight-speed auto plays a big part, shuffling through the ratios with little fuss to keep the Pajero Sport in the engine’s sweet spot.
Smartphone pairing is quick and easy and the infotainment display has a logical set of menus. It also has the best radio reception we can remember, hanging on to digital and FM stations long after most of the opposition would fade.
ON THE ROAD
Long hauls or extended offroad drives aren’t an issue in the Pajero Sport. The front seats are superbly padded and, with a reach and tilt-adjustable steering wheel, there isn’t a problem in finding a decent driving position. Padding on the console where the driver’s left knee rests would be handy.
The claimed fuel use of 8.0L/100km is typically optimistic — expect 10L12L/100km depending on the environment and driving style.
Head for the hills and the Pajero Sport proves capable. Dial up 2WD, 4WD and 4WD low and a rear diff lock is standard gear for when the going gets really tough.
Ground clearance isn’t huge at 218mm but that’s ample for family trips the bush. Claimed wading depth is 700mm.
The rear seats are elevated to improve outward vision but that has the effect of limiting headroom and restricting their use to kids over longer journeys.
Access to the third row is achieved by flipping down the 60-40 split centre seats (unlike the best of this breed, the second row pews don’t slide). It’s a decent step up into the Pajero Sport and young kids and the elderly may struggle, even with the help of the solid side steps.
This is a lot of vehicle for the price and should be enough to put the Pajero Sport at the top of cost-conscious buyers’ list.