I have a thing about vehicles being given inappropriate names, like ‘sport’ when they have no connection with such a title.
I’ve lost count of how many brands err on that subject, but the latest is Mitsubishi with their Pajero Sport, which really should have been called something like Pajero Big, or Huge, or perhaps Mkubwa.
The latter would have added intrigue to the vehicle, and not too many people would know it’s merely Swahili for ‘large.’
I also wonder why it has the Pajero prefix, when it’s not like the brand’s regular Pajero, a respected mid-sizer now in its fourth generation.
Mind you, the vehicle does come with paddle shifters, so that might be what they mean by ‘Sport.’
Or Sport Adventure, perhaps, since it’s capable of some serious terrain tackling.
Anyway, it’s just a name thing and the gripe ends there.
What’s it cost?
Pajero Sport is based on the Triton ute, comes in three levels of spec: GLX, GLS and Exceed, the latter a seven-seater.
Prices start at $46,990, go to $51,490 for the GLS five-seater, another $1K for the same with seven seats, and $57,190 for the Exceed, which comes standard with three rows seats.
All of them have a 133kW/430Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Our Exceed was a good-looker with a vast range of features, ranging from a 360-degree camera and powered seats to leather trim and Apple watch connectivity.
That didn’t help me much. My watch is a 50-plus-year-old Tissot with mechanical workings that simply does what it should: show the time.
However, if you do have an Apple watch and a Pajero Sport, you can do all sorts of things to the vehicle merely by fiddling about with the watch while you’re in a trendy cafe sipping your affogato.
You can, for instance, have it switch on the vehicle’s lights while in a carpark, which might help you find it in a packed car park at night.
The Exceed is a fully-featured model with heated front seats, upgraded audio system, digital radio, satnav, parking sensors, leather trim, all the electronic driver aids you can think of, rear cross traffic alert and many more — with a fair amount of features standard on the GLX and GLS models too.
All get an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, push-button start, adaptive cruise control, auto-on headlights and wipers, dual-zone climate control and a powered tailgate.
There are also LED headlights, which give superb spread and reach, and they have cornering lights. Excellent.
The wheels are exceptional too: 18-inch beauties with Thor-like hammer spokes.
What’s it go like?
Now, more than a pretty face, the Paj Sport is also said to be a competent offroader, so it has drive modes from two and four high to low ranges with locking diffs, hill descent control and next to that button is one that shows a vehicle perched on a hill.
It’s the off-road mode switch which is used should you encounter gravel, mud or snow, sand or rock.
You twirl the rotary switch to sit the terrain and the Sport obliges with tweaks to the relevant components.
But seriously, who would go rock hopping in a vehicle with such lovely machine-faced wheels?
I feel 90 per cent of buyers will never engage that switch.
Maybe 99 per cent.
Loved the warning about the rear diff lock: if you use it while the wheels are still turning it may ‘cause the vehicle to dart in unexpected directions.’
So, did we venture offroad?
Certainly not. We have too much respect for fine paint, big chromed mirrors and those 18-inch alloys.
There’s good accommodation for adults in the front and middle seats, with two more seats in the tightish third row.
The latter two rows are also fitted with roof-mounted air vents.
Getting in and out of the tall boy is aided by alloy sidesteps and grab handles, and once inside, visibility is excellent.
The Pajero Sport stretches to nearly 5m nose to tail (4825mm) and it’s 1835mm tall and 1815mm wide.
Luggage, with people in all seven seats, can be an issue, since there’s only 131 litres available in the boot.
But turf the middle and rearmost passengers, tumble the seats forward and a massive 1575 litres are liberated.
With just the rearmost seats folded, there’s a useful 502 litres.
The seats are good, the four-spoke steering wheel is a bit overpopulated with buttons and switches and again, and how many people would actually use those paddle shifters?
It rides well, thanks to a sophisticated coil-spring set up in the rear and performs well for its size.
The 8-speed auto does a good job too, helping to curb fuel use, particularly on long stretches on the bitumen.
Mitsubishi claims a combined 8.0L/100km on the combined city and highway cycle.
We got 9.2L/100km on our usual mix of city, suburban, freeway and highway driving.
Also good to know is the big Mitsi comes with a 7-year, unlimited-distance warranty.
Dr Bobla took it out on a dark and stormy night and on a long run in the country the next day.
His view: ‘The Pajero Sport is a notch up in size and features from the successful Outlander.
Sitting tall on 265/65/18 wide rubber and higher suspension one can gaze down upon other road users.
It’s useful in traffic and beyond the bitumen as it lets you plot your path well in advance with the abundant visibility.