Robin Reviews…The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4DI-D 4×4

“Its got such a commanding presence”, “The sound of the diesel engine is immaculate”, “I don’t know why there aren’t more of these vehicles on the road” – Just based on some of these comments from passersby at various locations across Cape Town, it’s clear that people have a serious liking towards the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

The nameplate first debuted to the world in 1996 and, at the time, came with a range of diesel and petrol options. Fast forward to the present, and the latest iteration of the mid-size SUV is now in its third-generation. For starters, it swims in a pool against some formidable seven-seater competition in the form of the Ford Everest (priced from R558 600), Toyota Fortuner (priced from R605 000), and Isuzu mu-X (priced from R693 800).

There are two limited-edition Aspire models in addition to the rest of the Pajero Sport range, as they are only available in Jet Black or White Diamond body colours, with a two-tone roof, black roof rails, a black front grille, and 18-inch alloy wheels – also coated in black.

The entire model range comes standard with seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, active stability and traction control (ASTC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist system (BAS), additional USB and accessory sockets (dual USB for the rear passengers) and a 220V AC 150-Watt power plug.

The Pajero Sport is a massive vehicle, it clears the road by some distance (218mm to be exact), so you have to be careful when entering and exiting and compensate for the lower side step sill. Having driven the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross just a week prior, you can feel the (noticeable) levels in quality. A digital instrument cluster is much better on the eye – as opposed to an analog setup – with all the need-to-know indicators like the fuel indicator, distance to empty, and temperature monitor all adequately positioned.

While most Mitsubishi’s follow the same design in the front, the ‘gunslinger’ rear lights are cool and don’t detract from the rest of the vehicle’s appearance. Also proudly found on the rear is the ‘Pajero Sport’ name and letting people know that it’s a capable off-roader with its Super Select II 4WD System logo.

How does it drive?

Under the bonnet is a 2.4-litre MIVEC four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel engine with maximum power outputs of 133kW and 430Nm, sending power to the drive wheels via an advanced eight-speed automatic transmission. Initial impression – it’s a beauty. It’s responsive right from the get-go with a rapid shift between the first couple of gears when pulling away from a standstill, but once you hit a long stretch of road, the gears are longer and help keep the fuel consumption around the claimed 8.1-litre/100km mark – though I managed a figure closer to 9-litres.

Being the second-most-expensive model in Mitsubishi’s line-up (priced from R654 995 behind the Triton Xtreme bakkie), it most certainly drives like it’s supposed to for its price tag. The use of shifter paddles behind the steering wheel is rarely needed because the drive is captivating in normal driving mode. In a vehicle of its size, uneven road surfaces and potholes are hardly felt because it was made to go off the beaten track. It doesn’t feel a shade out of place on the tar and is just a case of point and accelerate, and off you go.

If you’re particularly short in stature, getting in and out can become a bit of a mission due to the raised height and overall ground clearance of 218mm, but there is no better place to be when you’re seated. The power sliding seats provide exceptional lumbar support, while convenience and functionality features are only a slight left-hand movement away from the driving seat. An 8-inch infotainment touchscreen (complete with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay) houses all the usual technological tomfoolery like the rear parking camera.

The multi-function steering wheel feels good in the hands and limits the eyes-off-the-road time. A Terrain Selector switch and Hill Descent Control button mitigate the less than desirable surfaces as part of the electronic 0ff-road assistance system. If you find yourself on some challenging terrain, the differential can be locked with a button push.

The purr of the diesel is a treat to hear, whether pulling away or simply idling at a red robot. It feels like a bakkie but drives like a premium SUV – there’s no other way to describe it better.

All Pajero Sport models come standard with a three-year or 100 000km manufacturer's warranty, a five-year or 90 000km service plan, and five-year roadside assistance. Service intervals are set at every 10 000km.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find local service information close to home.

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