Like Toyota’s bestseller, the Fortuner, is based on the Hilux, so the new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is also based on a bakkie, the Triton. And like the 3.0 D-4D Fortuner, the Pajero Sport 3.2 DI-D churns out 120 kW and 343 Nm. However, the Mitsubishi claims an 8 km/h higher top speed than the Toyota, has a 6 degree better approach angle and the disc brakes, compared to the Fortuner’s drums, can be found in the rear. The Mitsubishi costs 13 grand less, so why then does one see 10 Fortuners on the road for every one Pajero Sport?
Brand loyalty most certainly has got something to do with it, but so does the fact that the Pajero Sport was, until recently, only available in a 3.2 diesel 4×4 with an automatic gearbox. The Fortuner on the other hand is available in a whole range of engine and gearbox configurations, and the 2.5 D-4D 4×2 (at R332 000) was a welcome addition to the family last year. Now the Pajero Sport also comes in manual and looks to be a great alternative to the old favourite.
The Pajero Sport is part-time four-wheel drive and has both four high and four low with centre diff-lock. It also has an electronic diff-lock on the rear axle, which came in handy when I hung up the wheels on opposing corners on an axle twister, on our test track. We then visited the famous Klipbokkop 4×4 route with Mitsubishi SA and the Pajero Sport proved to be more than capable.
Even though the road up the mountain may not be a grade 4 track, there were sections where you’d have to concentrate in a normal 4×4 without low range and diff-lock. In the Pajero Sport, on the other hand, we chatted away, enjoyed the scenery and before we knew it were right at the top, overlooking the Hex River Valley below.
Inside, the two-tone black and grey dash and steering wheel looks upmarket and reserved. Above the climate control knobs is a digital display that shows the average fuel consumption, range left, barometric pressure and altitude as graphs. It also has a compass. On the small steering wheel you’ll find the remote audio controls and cruise control.
The best thing about the interior though is the seating arrangements. There is more than enough legroom in the second row of seats and the third row offers space for two children.
This last row can be split into two and folded forward and flat for extra large luggage space, but unfortunately can’t be removed completely. Once the second row is folded forward (in a 60:40 split), the rear is one large load-bay. There are air conditioning vents for both the second and third row of seats and a handy storage space under the floor in the rear.
Like most SUV’s these days it comes standard with six airbags, ABS and EBD. Other fancy features include auto halogen headlights, rain sensing wipers (that actually works well according to my wife) and park distance control. A five year / 100 000 km service plan rounds off the package and at R435 900 you have a comfortable vehicle that will go absolutely anywhere. I won’t be surprised to see a few more on the road in future.
For more info visit: www.mitsubishi.co.za
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
120 (3 500 rpm)
343 (2 000 rpm)
|Fuel tank capacity (l)||
5 speed manual
R 435 900