On and off the road – driving the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS – EFTM
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On and off the road – driving the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS

so much more than a Triton with extra seats and bodywork

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is the latest in a relatively long line of rugged 4×4’s based on their respective ute counterparts. Examples include Ford’s Everest, Toyota’s Fortuner and Holden’s Colorado 7. Of course the nameplate “Pajero” conjures up images of Mitsubishi’s long standing 4X4 icon, but as Chris Bowen discovered the Pajero Sport is something else entirely and that most certainly is no bad thing.

10 Minute Test Drive

The mid-spec GLS model is a real surprise package, it has a near-premium interior, modern and sophisticated looks and a level of refinement that is most welcome.

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You sit high in quite a commanding position, surrounded by the latest in-car tech such as Apple CarPlay and a particularly well executed car-like cockpit. A big plus is the arrival of a 7-seat layout since mid-year, available on high spec models such as the one tested here and range topping Exceed model. This is now a proper family SUV that can fairly square up against its rivals.

Thankfully this is no soft off-roader, of which there are plenty. A quick glance down reveals the Super Select II 4×4 system. This allows for genuine ability away from the tarmac, will multiple modes and a locking rear-diff.

While powered by the same 2.4L turbo diesel lifted from the Triton you never get a sense this is simply a ute come wagon. This is largely thanks to a new 8-speed automatic transmission and better sound insulation. The result is a near seamless convergence of ruggedness combined with unexpected refinement.

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As you’d expect the Pajero Sport still drives with a degree of small truck-like feel, but I was most surprised by its easy, relaxed style of driving around town.

Ins And Outs.

Up front sits the aforementioned 2.4-litre MIVEC turbo diesel producing 133kW @ 3500rmp and 430Nm @ 2500rpm. The 8-speed automatic transmission does a terrific job of extracting just the right amount of acceleration and overall performance; you really need jump from a Triton into the Pajero Sport as I did to fully appreciate the difference.

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The latest “Dynamic shield styling” gives the vehicle an impressive look with plenty of bright chrome adding a degree of “turn heads” appeal. LED headlamps and daylight running lights also add to the glam feel.

Leather trim, automatic headlamps, wipers and rearview dimming mirror are highly desirable. As is the reversing camera and sensors.

The Tech Inside

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The Pajero Sport is feature packed with the usual raft of safety features including hill decent control, hill start assist, trailer stability assist, electric park brake, keyless entry and push button start. DAB radio and Apple CarPlay completes what is a generous package.

The Hip Pocket

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The GLS model as tested starts at $48,500. Fuel economy is excellent; I averaged 8.2L / 100km during a week’s drive. Not bad considering the claimed average is 8.0L/100km. The 2016 range is covered by the brand’s five-year/100,000km warranty. With a capped price serving deal covering 15,000km intervals or 12 months whichever comes first.

The EFTM Rubber Stamp.

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The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is the first vehicle from the brand that I really consider to be a massive step up for a very long time. It can easily compete with the big boys while still being sharply priced. I award the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport the EFTM Credit Rubber Stamp.

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Motoring

Chris works at Australia's leading radio station 2GB. He's worked on three radio Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012. Deep down Chris harbours ambitions to one day sit behind the microphone himself. Aside from radio his other great passion is the motor car. Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers. Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney's North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company.
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