Buy in bulk

Es­sen­tially a ute with a roof, the twotonne seven-seater is a lot of ve­hi­cle for cost-con­scious buy­ers

The Advertiser - Motoring - - ROAD TEST - CRAIG DUFF

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

AROUND TOWN

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.

VER­DICT

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.

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