Road Test: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 D4 4×4
It’s the urban-orientated ASX that permits Mitsubishi to build a serious off-road SUV in the mould of the Pajero Sport and unapologetically reference Pajero’s back catalogue of rugged invincibility while engaging with the same faithful crowd as before. There are a number of USPs too, which we’ll get to once we’ve unpacked these looks.
The previous Pajero Sport felt visually inspired by the ASX but this new version adopts the Outlander’s front end with reasonable success but the rear lights seem alien to Mitsubishi’s design language. Flourishes of chrome decorate the front and rear while down the flanks the wavy panels attempt to conceal the flab through shadows and reflections. There’s even a wing. It’s a design that courts criticism, sure, but only once you clamber inside do you begin to appreciate the sheer versatility.
A seven-seater conceived from the same thread as Outlander, third-row passengers don’t get the loathsome sense they’re demoted to ‘sitting in the boot’ until they start looking around for charging ports and individual climate settings. There’s a great deal of floor space for second-row passengers and headroom – in a nutshell, interior space to swallow that inherited sofa or bring back life-sized wooden souvenirs of Africa’s wildlife.
Baggy seat support highlights the presence of body roll; I never quite got comfortable, fidgeting with the angles until I had a half chance of sawing the lock on and off with reasonable speed. Even with electric adjustment for the driver the whole position is baggy with vagueness. And the touchscreen, with no support for apps, won’t do well with tech-savvy personalities since basic phone integration vehemently limited to calls and media playback. Soft rubbery buttons float in an organised fashion in the vast surface of piano black while Mitsubishi has given preference to the Super Select dial – a rather unnecessary allocation of valuable space for day-to-day functionality. The gearshift is smaller (yes, really), storage pinches a little tight in the doors and the combination of colours is about as fashionable as it gets this side of brown or cream leather. Rear camera, parking assist and keyless entry come standard.
Pajero Sports engine range is earnestly straightforward with a small nod towards downsizing. The 2.4-litre turbo diesel is a lighter, smaller version of the outgoing 2.5-litre with not insignificant gains in power and torque to out-joust Toyota’s 2.8GD-6 engine from smaller cylinder volume. Enlivened by an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the gains are widespread and while there’s some grumble from the tyres and engine, this now feels a nimbler package than the cantankerous offering, marked out by slow laboured steering, it once was.
Improvements aside, it’s the narrow two-model line-up pitched towards the higher end of the pricing spectrum that’s of immediate concern. Buyers seeking to tailor a powertrain to budget or a specific trim to a lifestyle will find that the chasm between 4×2 and 4×4 isn’t quite broad enough to scoop the affordable side of the market.
Need to know:
- Price – R699 995
- Power – 133kw
- Torque – 430Nm
- 0-100km/h – 10.5s
- Fuel Consumption – 8.1l/100
- Weight – 2035kg
Verdict: Refined powertrain but lacking variety and tech. Never quite outstanding