The Mitsubishi Pajero nameplate is one of the more established badges in the off-road market. And while it’s been around for aeons, adaptation of modern technology has also somewhat eluded the Pajero brand in its purest form. If it aint broke, why change it?
An apt SUV of note it is and while it lacks in terms of technology and refinement, it is still, to this day, a comprehensive off-road package with Mitsubishi then looking to compete with Toyota’s Land Cruiser series. But Mitsubishi was also looking for something more lucrative that would appeal to more buyers – hence the introduction of the Pajero Sport nameplate that still competes with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X and Ford Everest. Cue the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 4x4 in Aspire trim.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that the Pajero Sport excels in outdoor activities as a spacious SUV suitable for daily driving while laden with up to seven passengers. This is thanks to its platform which it shares with the Triton bakkie, a formula that many SUVs make use of. Aesthetically, it shares its stunning front end with the new design tuxedo worn by the Triton but with a more athletic pose. The look of the rear, though, remains debatable.
It’s not too fancy if I am honest but the interior appointments remain impressive with comfortable seats, soft touchpoints as well as easily accessible switches plus the necessary technologies to add a smack of luxury.
There is a full-colour digital instrument cluster which is a welcomed feature as well as an 8” touchscreen media interface that looked a tad outdated on the graphics front but still functions in a delightful manner. Interior comfort is also provided by a rear ventilation duct for the second row of seats and dual USB ports at the back.
It’s not a perfect space: The third row of seats is best left for children due to the cramped legroom and the absence of a power-operated tailgate remains a disappointing aspect.
It is quite invigorating to note that Mitsubishi has gone to extra lengths to make the Pajero Sport a captivating SUV to drive. It draws its power from a 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine that pumps out 133 kW and 430 Nm which in the real world, has proven to be more than adequate.
There is satisfactory power for the majority of day-to-day needs commended by the smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. Despite its size, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport easily cruises around town with measurable grace courtesy of responsive and quick steering that also helps make parking considerably easier.
The suspension setup works well to buff the ride quality and if you are an off-road fanatic, the standard Super Select II four-wheel-drive system should come in handy at some point during your travels.
As cited earlier, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport faces stiff competition but even then it makes it easy to convince the missus at an buyable prospect of R726,995. On the fuel thrift side, it is frugal and it returned 8.5l/100 km with a single tank of fuel lasting for the full seven-day evaluation span.
It comes with a three-year/100,000 km manufacturer’s Warranty, a five-year/90,000 km Service Plan and five-year roadside assistance. The service intervals are set at every 10,000 km.
The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport deserves a spot on your shortlist. It has the right thrills in the thriving SUV fold while also offering authentic credentials on and off the road to make it a compelling package.
Proper marketing of the product should put it back on the SUV radar.