Finally, a proper SUV with real off-road capabilities! Yes, there are a couple of them around, but far and few in between are those that possess the real ‘go anywhere’ type of attitude for this sort of money.
For starters, the Pajero sport has a low range transfer case with centre diff-lock and a rear differential lock. The 4 wheel drive can be flipped over on the fly up to 100kph with the diffs completely open. The Pajero should then mimic most of these all-wheel drive soft roaders out there, but it will still be far more capable due to the approach and departure angels.
Let me start with the interior of the vehicle. The seats are covered in grey leather and the driver’s seat is electronically adjustable. The driver window is 1 touch down and the others are all manual electric. Inside you also have an array of cup holders and storage compartments and 2x 12v jacks in vicinity of the driver. One is located under the centre console and the other in the storage compartment between the driver and passenger seat. This means you can charge your phone and still use your GPS while navigating through Africa and I can’t honestly think of a better vehicle to do it in, just by the way! The rear seats fold back with a 60:40 split and there is also a folded flat 3rd row of seats which can be used should you need to.
There are 6 speakers, the radio supports mp3 and has a USB port located in the glove compartment. You can either hook up your iPod or play directly off your storage card. The info centre will also give you an array of info from radio info, instantaneous fuel used, distance to empty, average speed, Barometer info as well as altitude. It also has a nifty digital compass which I found pretty useful when I had my excursions in the Atlantis dunes.
The Pajero Sport drives much like every other SUV out there in this segment. The 120kw, 343nm 3.2 DID engine has a smooth amount of low-end torque that gets you up and going very quickly. I was really surprised how frugal this model was on our driving excursions, where most open road trips were around the 8l/100km mark. This is nearly unheard of in this segment. The fuel tank is only 70liters, so essentially you should be able to do around 800km per tank.
The double wishbone front suspension and the 3 link coil rear suspension soaks up the bumps and makes for a rather comfortable ride, even over rougher terrain. I was also impressed with the vehicles wheel articulation over cross axle situations. This vehicle through a massive 36 degree approach angle and a 25 degree departure angle makes sure you can tackle almost any obstacle. Although the ground clearance is only 215mm, the wheels are very close to the edges of the vehicle, so essentially this should not cause any problems, unless of course you are planning to do extreme type trails. With our tests, through mountain, sand and a 4×4 course here in Cape Town, the vehicle performed flawlessly and not once was clearance an issue. I did however think that it might have been. Towing is rated at 750kg un-braked and a massive 1500kg braked.
The Pajero Sport features six airbags, ABS and EBD. There is no VSC, but the vehicle is so composed over rough gravel, I hardly feel that it’s necessary. There is rear Park distance control fitted standard which can also be disabled along with that, you have auto headlights and wipers.
In conclusion, the Pajero Sport is such a great vehicle. It offers real value for money and while there are plenty of SUV’s available in this price range, only a handful are true over landers. The Pajero Sport is part of those few and I can honestly not think of a better vehicle to do the job. It’s economical, drives smooth and comfortably, and stops well. What more to you need? The best part of it all is that it’s priced at R435 900. For more info, check out http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.za/pajerosport.php