In a segment filled with giants such as the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest, smaller manufacturers tend to struggle when trying to get their contenders noticed. Mitsubishi has had a long and well supported time within the SUV market however in recent years the brand has been somewhat quiet. They have updated the Pajero Sport which I recently got behind the wheel of. Has it got what it takes to compete with the big guns or should it remain in the shadows?
The Pajero Sport stands out from a design point of view. It’s bold and unmistakable thanks to its new Dynamic Shield front grille, giving the upgraded version an enhanced, more stylish and modern look. There is also a lot of chrome detailing on the front which adds a sense of class to the design appeal.
Strong character lines also draw the eye and if you look closely you will notice that the Pajero narrows towards the rear. At the rear, you will find long, vertical taillights and more chrome detailing. While the design might be a bit extreme for some, I quite like it because it is different.
The interior is well equipped with a tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering column with a multi-function leather-clad steering wheel with audio and cruise control settings at your fingertips. The new range offers Bluetooth with hands-free voice control as well as a large 8” touchscreen that’s Apple CarPlay friendly. Life is made easier for the driver thanks to a new full-colour digital instrument display, automatic dual-zone air-conditioning throughout the 7-seater cabin, including rear passenger controls, and electric windows all round. All models now have additional USB and additional accessory sockets (dual USB for the rear passengers) and a 220AC 150-Watt power plug with full leather throughout the interior.
Active safety features include active stability and traction control (ASTC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and an emergency brake assist system (BAS). The Pajero Sport also has a variety of passive safety features such as its 7 airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Mitsubishi has stated that the changes have been more in terms of styling and spec, therefore the 2.4L MIVEC Turbodiesel four-cylinder inter-cooled turbo diesel remains unchanged. It does develop 133kW and 430Nm. This puts it on par with what the Fortuner 2.4-litre and Everest single turbo 2.0-litre develop. Unfortunately, the Pajero seen here is said to compete as an upper-echelon model and in that regard, it lacks the power offered by the top-spec Toyota and Ford offerings.
Nevertheless, the Pajero remains an impressive alternative, especially when it comes to its off-road ability. The Pajero benefits from Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4WD-II system which delivers performance in the most challenging driving conditions and rugged terrain. The selectable Off-Road Modes maximises traction on and across various surfaces. The Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand or Rock setting can be selected to suit surface conditions to optimise engine output, transmission settings and braking for superior traction control.
Overall the Pajero did impress me with its impeccable ride quality and seat comfort. It is calling out for the long and open road. We sure do hope that we can take the Pajero on a proper adventure soon to fully exploit its abilities.