Mitsubishi Pajero Sport road test and review | Cartoq – Honest Car Advice

28 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi Pajero Sport road test and review | Cartoq – Honest Car Advice
Mitsubishi Challenger

Purposeful looks; good fit and finish

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is a very purposeful looking SUV, inside out. In fact, in white, which was the colour of our test drive vehicle, the Pajero Sport looks like a vehicle that the United Nations would probably use in a war-ravaged zone, with UN emblazoned on it.

At the front, the Mitsubishi Evo rally car style grille looks menacing and purposeful at the same time. The short, stubby bonnet smoothly flows down to the grille and the bumper, giving it a very Jeep kind of look, just like the older Pajero SFX. The headlights are modern with a projector set up included in the assembly and wrap around the front fender very slightly.

A large, chrome Mitsubishi logo in the centre of the grille, an even larger air dam and two very functional fog lamps embedded in the front bumper complete the macho front, which looks better in metal than in pictures.

In profile, the high-perched stance continues and is further accentuated by the massive wheel wells, the thick 17” wheels and a relatively smaller looking glass area compared to the competition. Mitsubishi knows that we love chrome and has accordingly plated the outside mirrors and door handles. The black roof rails are subtle.

The rear houses sleek looking tail lamps that extend into the tail gate. It has a chrome garnish, a chrome logo and a very small chrome moniker on the left. The spare wheel, like most of its competitors is housed under the truck.

This apart, there are so many meaningful touches in the vehicle that clearly speak of Mitsubishi’s off-road and rally genes. For example, both the bumpers have their lower halves finished in matt black tough plastic, approach and departure angles are just perfect for any kind of situation, there are skid plates at the front and the rear and there is absolutely nothing left loose or hanging lower than the differential when you look underneath. The Pajero Sport is a purpose-built touring or expedition vehicle and it shows.  Also read: Pajero Sport launched

Open the driver’s door and it opens really wide. In fact, there is no SUV apart from the Safari Storme which has such wide opening doors and it is a delight.  Haul yourself into the cabin and you get an immediate feeling of quality and durability. The seats are made of premium leather and they show. In fact, the quality of leather used is the best in the segment, by a fair margin.

The door pads (on all 4 doors) are very well finished in a mix of wood, chrome, black, beige and aluminium. All of them can hold one-litre bottles; have individual speakers, puddle lamps and map pockets. The dashboard has a four colour combo of black, beige, aluminium and wood (for the centre console) and is extremely well finished.

The leather-stitched steering wheel, carried over from the Outlander sans the paddle shifts and cruise control feels meaty and comfortable to hold. Both shift levers (main gear shift and 4#215;4 shifter) have leather knobs and feel like they’ll last for years. The centre console houses the automatic climate control knobs, the multi-information display and the archaic looking sound system.

The sound system is the only eyesore on an otherwise brilliantly finished dashboard.

Ergonomics are brilliant. In fact, despite the fact that the steering wheel doesn’t have adjustment for reach, getting into a very comfortable, commanding driving position on the PS is very easy.  The gear lever is car like and is at the right distance from the driver. There is phenomenal visibility, even for short drivers.

There is no long bonnet or bonnet scoop like the Ford Endeavour or the Toyota Fortuner intruding into the driver’s line of sight, and the thin A pillars leave no blind spots at all which goes on to prove Mitsubishi’s capabilities in getting the small, but important things, right the first time around.

Decent comfort and purpose-built features

Most buyers of the Pajero Sport may never take it off-road, but they do expect high levels of comfort from it, and the Pajero Sport does not disappoint.

Throw anything at the Pajero Sport, at any speed and the truck simply glides over them. Speed breakers, potholes, corrugations, expansion joints, road dips or a mix of all these, together. Even when crawling over potholes and speed breakers in peak hour traffic in the city, there is very minimal vertical and sideways movement, resulting in a premium sedan like experience in the cabin.

On the highway, the suspension steering stiffen up just enough to offer great day long cruising over broken roads at speeds well above 140 kmph. It also has confident braking and lane changing at speed.

If there is one “On Road” trait that pushes the Pajero Sport head and shoulders above the competition, it is the superlative levels of comfort and confidence that the vehicle gives you.

The Pajero pedigree trickles through with the features on offer. For example, there is no other vehicle in its segment which tells you things like barometric pressure, elevation and has a graphic map of all the features on the MID, such as outside temperature, average speed, range and average fuel economy  besides others, to track the changes as they happen on a tour/expedition. While all this might not sound useful to most of us, they certainly add a lot of snob value to the vehicle.

This apart, the Pajero Sport features the usual list of luxuries like power windows (though one touch up and down is only for the driver), power operated and folding mirrors, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, projector headlamps, three row air-conditioning with rear blower and compressor control, rear parking sensors (audio output only), audio and MID controls on the steering wheel, 60:40 (middle row) 50:50 (last row) split seats and a microchip embedded key. While the single DIN sound system looks like it has been picked up from the leftover stocks from the 1990’s it has decent sound quality, but still misses out on Bluetooth connectivity, a touch screen display, and the ability to be upgraded to a double DIN because there is no slot available for it.

While the above features may feel mundane, there are lots of interesting bits that make them far more practical than a lot of other vehicles.

For example, the USB cable is neatly tucked into the glovebox using cable fasteners and not left hanging around, there are four charging points with one of them housed in the centre bin between the seats which ensures that your cell phone doesn’t get tossed around while charging on an off road trip. Plenty of cubby holes, bag and luggage hooks, and storage spaces abound the Pajero Sport make stowing luggage and objects a breeze. The middle row seats split, fold and tumble while the last row of seats can be pushed into the floor liberating a very wide and flat loading bay, which is bigger and better than its competition. Also see:  New Toyota Fortuner road test

Mitsubishi Challenger

The leather seats themselves are very comfortable and except some under thigh support which can be improved in the middle row, they are perfect. In fact, the Pajero Sport has the most usable last row of seats among its competitors and vehicles in segments above it.

Good performance and handling

The Pajero Sport houses a 2.5 litre engine producing 175BHP of power @4100rpm and a mountain moving 400NM of torque@2000-2500rpm. While these figures are slightly higher than the competition, they come at higher rpms, which raise questions about the drivability of the Pajero Sport. However, Mitsubishi have, very smartly given the Pajero Sport shorter gearing in the 1 st.

2 nd and 3 rd gears, which makes it pretty drivable in crawling traffic. On the highway, the engine’s fantastic mid range, right from 2000 to 4800rpm makes the Pajero Sport a locomotive like truck. It quickly reaches its top speed of 180kmph on any half decent stretch of road and the engine, even though at higher rpms than the competition, feels completely at ease, more like a free-revving petrol rather than a diesel.

The cabin is very silent up to speeds of 125kmph post which some wind and tyre noise filter through.

Off the road, Mitsubishi’s world renowned “Super Select” 4WD system which has 4 modes of 2H, 4H, 4HLC (4WD High with the center differential locked) and 4LLC (4WD low with the center differential locked) is simply phenomenal. The Pajero Sport feels like it could eat sand dunes for breakfast, ford rivers for lunch and wander into the slushy mountains for dinner, without a hiccup. Surprisingly enough, the ride comfort, even off road, remains very comfortable.

The only sore point I felt was the clutch, which was springy to my foot and not as light as I would have liked it. While most of its competition too is able to handle such terrain, the ease with which the Pajero Sport does it and gives the driver the confidence is commendable and gives it that edge over the others when it comes to handling. Also see:  Most comfortable SUVs in India  

Fuel economy could be better

The Pajero Sport was reasonably economical we were able to achieve 9.6 kmpl in Bangalore city and 11.8 kmpl on the highway which included some high speed runs as well. Also, since the Pajero Sport has a 2WD mode for normal driving, it saves a bit on fuel. However, a sixth gear could have improved the fuel economy further.

What we think

The Pajero is an iconic brand, and it takes a lot of effort to maintain the aura that goes into making an icon. The Pajero Sport continues to be an embodiment of what the Pajero has always been known for. A timeless, capable, and comfortable cross country touring SUV that will, in all likelihood, outlast its owner, comfortably.

Now, that is a hell of a pedigree!

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