Mitsubishi, the prominent Japanese auto giant, is now a household name in urban India, owing to the grand reception that its first SUV, Pajero, got in India. The company in awe to entice a larger number of buyers and capture more market share in India introduced the facelift version of Pajero, re-christening it as ‘Pajero Sport’. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is lot more advanced, up-market and superior than its first generation yet not so feature-rich as its contemporaries. It appears like a ruthless bull with raw power and goes well its image of an off-roader.The company has carried out an array of cosmetic changes in the Pajero Sport so that it can give Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, and Hyundai Santa Fe a run for their money. Being presented with six dynamic colours – Rugget Red, Earth Brown, Iceberg Silver, Himalyan White, Pure Black, and Storm Grey; the SUV’s charm hasn’t diminished yet and it is still enigmatic. Though, it comes with a single variant which is a huge disappointment. However, it comprises of some of modern times most anticipated features such as Rear intermittent wiper and washer, Accessory socket inside floor console box, Vanity mirror with lid for sun visors, Multi-mode centre information display etc. to name a few. Get deals on Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
EXTERIOR AND LOOK
The Pajero Sport is slightly smaller in dimensions when compared to its direct rival, the Toyota Fortuner but does it actually look smaller than the latter? No, because the design language of Mitsubishi is such that the Pajero looks no less than a spaceship. Instead of sharp creases and taut panels, it gets simple lines and rounded edges, which adds to the visual bulk. However, it has great presence and some interesting styling cues like the angular front headlamps infused with the chrome grille and a heavily sculpted front bumper. The side profile shows big wheel arches, chunky alloy wheels, high ground clearance and the tail swooping up for optimum departure angle.
The Pajero Sport’s rear styling looks a tad bland for an SUV in this segment. The tail gate could have got more drama but is kept simple with a chrome number plate housing. The tail lamps are striking though, inspired from the sharp looking Lancer Evo X. It has a roof mounted spoiler while the lower side of the bumper gets black cladding for those off-roading sessions. The overall styling is positive but it looks out of proportion from some angles. The front has no overhang while the rear looks bulky with a big overhang.
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
Its interiors are done up elegantly and loaded with a lot of advanced features. The cabin is quite roomy that can accommodate seven people with ease. The dashboard houses a glove box compartment and a center console that is fitted with an audio unit. Meanwhile, the gear shift knob as well as steering wheel are now wrapped with premium quality leather upholstery. It has a multi mode center information display that includes a digital clock, outside temperature display, altimeter, calender, compass, speed and driving range besides displaying audio information. However, its newly introduced 4×2 AT trim also has a touchscreen infotainment system on center fascia, which supports navigation and provides touch controls for audio. There are wide and well cushioned seats arranged in three rows. It has sliding and reclining front seats that have lumbar support as well. While the second row sliding seats have 60:40 split folding facility along with tumble function. On the other hand, it has third row seats with 50:50 split folding facility. The sporty beige leather upholstery is used for covering these seats, which gives it a modish look. Other aspects like the combination meter cluster, inside door handles as well as lever type parking brake are garnished with chrome, while the wood finishing on door panels further gives it an appealing appearance. In addition to these, the cabin includes many utility based aspects. Some of these include a cargo floor box, assist grips, sun glass holder, two coat hangers, front door pockets to keep some smaller things at hand and a few other such aspects. There is also power outlet available on the console that is useful for charging mobile phones and other electronic devices.
This SUV series is blessed with a lot of comfort aspects that will give a relaxing and enjoyable driving experience to its passengers. Its smooth dashboard is equipped with an illuminated and lockable glove box compartment that comes with a USB port as well. It has a large floor console with storage box that looks quite elegant with wood finishing. This vehicle has all four power windows with anti-trapping function available on the driver’s side. The second row seat comes with adjustable headrests and has center armrest along with cup holders. It has front sun visors with ticket holder on driver’s side, while there is a vanity mirror with lid on the co-passenger’s side. It is bestowed with an automatic air conditioning system, which cools the cabin instantly and creates a pleasant ambiance. Meanwhile, there is a manually operated air conditioning unit available for the rear passengers. Other than these, it includes bottle holders as well as armrest on all doors. The external rear view mirrors are power adjustable, which further adds to the comfort. Other aspects like cargo room lamp, removable can type ash tray, ignition key cylinder with illumination, cigarette lighter and needle punch carpets are available. One of the interesting aspects is the advanced music system that offers best in-car entertainment. It comes with a CD player along with six speakers that offer high quality sound experience. The controls of this unit are mounted on the steering wheel for the convenience of driver. In addition to these, it features door courtesy lamps, electric type tailgate opening function, keyless entry system, GPS navigation, front and rear room lamp, reverse camera as well as front door pockets are available, which adds to their convenience.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
The Pajero Sport comes in 3.2-litre common-rail diesel engine mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox that delivered strong and effortless performance (it’s the same setup in the Montero) but Indian customers will have to make do with a 2.5-litre 4D56 four-cylinder DOHC diesel mated to a five-speed manual. Thankfully this engine has nothing to do with the current Pajero’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel and is significantly more refined and powerful.What we get is the ‘high-power’ version of the 2.5 engine which makes 178PS of power and 400Nm of torque. By way of comparison the Fortuner dishes out 171PS and 343Nm even though it has a bigger three litre engine and that means the Pajero Sport is quicker to 100kmph taking 12.1 seconds. We might have got even better figures had the ECU allowed the engine to rev above 3000rpm with the clutch depressed and thus launch it with more vigour. We registered a top speed of 171kmph though you do need a long enough stretch of road to max her out.
What the figures don’t reveal is that the engine needs to be worked hard to get the best out of it. Peak power is developed at 4000rpm and though peak torque stays flat from 2000 to 2500rpm this engine needs revs to get going. And there’s a lot of weight to haul around with the Pajero Sport weighing over two tonnes. Revved hard the engine gets noisy and unrefined while throttle responses are lethargic at best. It lacks the effortless surge of torque that is a hallmark of the Fortuner and worse the 5-speed manual isn’t slick requiring a firm shove to engage gears.Since the Pajero Sport doesn’t have full-time four-wheel-drive it delivers better fuel efficiency: 12.8kmpl is its claimed ARAI fuel efficiency as opposed to 12.55kmpl of the Fortuner. Braking is handled by 16-inch discs up front and 16-inch drums at the rear, backed up by ABS, which brings it to a stop in 47.33m from 100kmph without any fuss or drama.
DRIVE AND HANDLING
With so much daylight between the wheels and the wheel arches, the Pajero rides well on its tall springs as well. You can drive the Sport through some of the largest craters around and the suspension will take it in its stride. Come to think of it, this would be an ideal car in which to tackle long stretches of broken tarmac, the rubber-footed suspension just soaking everything up. Stability at speed is surprisingly good too. It feels perfectly calm and composed, even at triple-digit speeds speeds, small directional changes are executed with little vagueness or lag, and the well-weighted brakes allow you to bleed speed in a drama-free manner too. Also impressive is the feelsome steering. It does feel a bit weighty at parking speeds, but as soon as you are up and running, the feel and feedback are exactly what you want. But while the Sport does have a reasonable amount of grip in corners and the feedback from the steering is good, it feels too top-heavy to corner with confidence. It’s the tall, off-road suspension setup that’s to blame. So the best way to tackle corners is to slow right down, gently tip the car in, and allow it to follow a smooth line out.
In terms of safety, this sports utility vehicle comes loaded with various features offering protection to passengers and the vehicle as well.These features include dual front Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags, rugged outer construction and electronic engine immobilizer for preventing unauthorized access into the vehicle. Apart from these, side impact protection beams, crumple zones, collapsible steering column, three point ELR seat belts and anti-intrusion brake pedals are integrated for maximum safety.
The Pajero Sport is a vehicle that makes a lot of sense only from certain perspectives. The cheap interior and small diesel engine make sense for markets like Thailand, Africa or Russia, where it will be competing with other inexpensive models. Except that those things don’t actually translate to a lower price tag. The previous generation sold in India for the equivalent of about $37,000, and for that kind of price, you’d want any cost cutting to at least be less obvious. All of the English-language reviews of the Pajero, Sport or otherwise, list the price as one of its major drawbacks, and it is unlikely that this generation will be any different. It does have to be said that it is now a far more attractive vehicle, but whether or not that makes it worth all of that money would have to be up to the buyer.