What is it?
Based on the Triton utility, Pajero Sport is one of the new breed of cheaper, family-friendly SUVs.
It’s noted for its huge, polarising, teardrop-shaped tail lights, that interestingly have been trimmed in size with the latest update.
At the front, it adopts the latest version of the Dynamic Shield grille that characterises the entire Mitsubishi family, giving it a bolder, wider look.
The lights have all been converted to LEDs too, promising lower power consumption and a longer service life.
But the fundamentals remain the same — the engine and transmission.
The price of course has increased, by up to $5000 for the top of the line Exceed
What’s it cost?
There’s three grades — GLX, GLS and Exceed — with prices starting from $45,990 driveaway for GLX which includes an auto.
GLS is priced from $52,490 driveaway, with a third row of seats adding a further $1000 to the price.
And, before you ask, GLX is unavailable with seven seats, but stump up for the $59,990 driveaway Exceed — and they throw in the third row for free.
Premium paint adds $740 to the price, while Prestige paint is $940 –Exceed includes premium paint.
All three models are fitted with the same engine and transmission and all three get fair dinkum, low range four-wheel drive.
Standard equipment includes water repellent cloth trim and single-zone climate air, with rear air and roof-mounted vents for passengers in the back.
There’s also push-button start, side steps, 18 inch alloys, a full size alloy spare, daytime LEDs, cruise control, electric park brake, rear parking sensors, 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and four-speaker audio with DAB+ digital radio.
Safety extends to seven airbags, a rear view camera and Mitsubishi’s version of Autonomous Emergency Braking called Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM).
There’s also trailer stability assist, but that unfortunately is where the safety story ends for GLX.
Our test vehicle, the mid-range GLS, adds adaptive cruise control — but for the full gamut of active safety systems you need to dig deep for Exceed.
GLS also adds two-zone climate, power adjust front seats, auto lights and wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror, rear privacy glass, an extra pair of speakers and a power-operated tailgate.
What’s it go like?
It’s a big sucker at just over 4.8 metres and weighing in at a little over 2 tonnes.
It feels big and truck-like too, requiring a few turns of the wheel to turn the ship around in tight spaces.
The 2.4-litre turbo diesel produces 133kW of power at 3500 revs and 430Nm of torque at 2500 revs.
It’s teamed with an 8-speed Aisin auto, with manual override and steering column mounted change paddles.
With eight cogs and plenty of torque, acceleration is strong, particularly roll-on response in the mid-range where you want it, with a touch of lag from start.
Those eight ratios also help reduce fuel consumption, while neutral idle reduces transmission drag when the vehicle is stationary and in gear.
Suspension is double wishbones at the front and a softer, three-link rigid axle with coil spring setup at the rear, instead of the leaf springs from the ute.
With a high centre of gravity however expect plenty of lurch and lean if you drive it enthusiastically, while it has a tendency to run wide in corners unless you keep an eye on it.
The suspension can jar at times, with the part time four-wheel drive system needing to be engaged manually when required.
Unlike the ute, the rear brakes are discs and it can tow a 3100kg braked trailer.
The Super Select II 4WD system is controlled by a rotary selector dial between the front seats and allows the driver to switch between four drive modes with a locking rear differential in the GLS.
Switching between modes generally requires a stop and the selection of neutral before it engages — with gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock options.
Hill descent control can also be selected, but it’s not available in combination with the locking differential (which kind of makes sense).
Exceed is the only grade to offer built-in navigation.
The alternative is to hook up your phone via CarPlay or Android Auto which can be hit and miss in our experience.
Rated at 8.0L/100km, we were getting 8.3L/100km from the 68-litre tank after more than 400km.
But, as with other Mitsubishis we’ve driven over the years, the trip computer keeps re-setting, making it difficult to define what it really gets over the longterm — although 8.3L sounds about right.
What we like?
- More sophisticated look
- Gear change paddles
- Huge cargo area
- Economical to run
- Real off road ability
What we don’t like?
- No satnav
- No digital speedo
- Trip computer keeps resetting
The bottom line?
It’s big, practical, economical and unpretentious.
But that big new touchscreen would be way more useful with the provision of navigation.
That said Pajero Sport is more practical than a ute and has plenty to offer families, with room for the tribe and all the trappings — plus the ability to go bush for the weekend.
CHECKOUT: Mitsubishi ASX: A nervous time ahead
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS 7-seat, priced from $53,990 driveaway
- Looks - 7.5/107.5/10
- Performance - 7.5/107.5/10
- Safety - 7/107/10
- Thirst - 8/108/10
- Practicality - 8/108/10
- Comfort - 7/107/10
- Tech - 7/107/10
- Value - 8/108/10