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Mitsubishi Pajero beefed up

2013-09-04 19:57

UPPING THE SUV GAME: Mitsubishi's new Pajero Sport is now in SA and its packed with standard goodies, chews up the off-road and still costs the same as the outgoing model.Image: JANINE-LEE GORDON

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Author: JANINE-LEE GORDON

 
Mitsubishi’s latest version of its Pajero Sport is now in South Africa with more power and subtle new looks - plus it’s one of the less-expensive seven-seaters around.

RUSTENBURG, South Africa - Mitsubishi has had to do some hard work to uptick local sales and is hoping this the latest Pajero Sport will help to swell its share of the large SUV market.

The big wagon has been given a power upgrade and subtle new looks, plus it’s one of the less bank balance-depleting seven-seaters around... its in showrooms at the same price as the previous model.

PACKED TO THE BRIM

The brand's South African CEO Jaco Oosthuizen told Wheels24: "The fact that we've been able to negotiate such favourable pricing while improving our offering substantially has made the Pajero Sport a very attractive proposition for people looking for a high specification large SUV.”

View the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport image gallery


Its closest rivals are the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Fortuner butwhen they’re lined up next to each other the Pajero comes out as the best-looking of the bunch.  Not only that but it’s packed with standard goodies and it’s almost R50 000 less expensive than a Trailblazer or Fortuner.

There haven’t been major nips and tucks and its identity is still strictly Pajero. Subtle tweaks has been given to the grille, front bumper and tail lights and there's new trim for the rear licence-plate slot. Door releases and rear-view mirrors are now body-coloured (there are five shades, some of them grey) instead of black and the 17” alloys rims have also been redesigned.

Comfort treats include black leather throughout, including on the new multi-function steering-wheel with paddle gearshifters; a multi-function touch screen, Bluetooth, hands-free voice control, auto aircon and a reversing camera. There’s also parking radar, front doul-weather lights, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, door steps, privacy glass and roof rails.

Yep, all of it on the standard spec sheet.

ABLE OFF-ROADER

The third row of mini-seats is comfy enough for adults and when folded flat it gives a boot space of 1149 litres. Fold the second row flat too and boot space is a whopping 1776 litres - big enough to ramp a quad bike or two in there.

Under the bonnet there’s a brand-new 2.5 diesel engine to replace the 3.2 of the outgoing model. There’s also a new five-speed gearbox (manual or auto). Power figures are up from 120 to 131kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm in the manual model and 343-400Nm in the auto version. Mitsubishi says only 4x4 models will be available for now; a 4x2 will arrive before New Year.

The motoring media took the Pajeros out to a 4x4 camp close to Platinum City - aka Rustenberg - about 150km west of Johannesburg to be put through their paces. No doubt it could rock-climb, leopard-crawl in and out of ditches and do anything else it was asked to do without hassle. It has 215mm ground clearance, a button to engage the rear diff lock and is rated to tow 1500kg. The Super Select AWD allows the driver to go from rear-wheel drive on the highway to rugged terrain 4x4 at up to 100km/h - some thing for which the Pajero has been famous since the 1980's.

SIX AIR BAGS, BRAKE OVERRIDE

Driving it is comfortable although it did feel a bit sluggish off the mark thanks to turbo lag. In fact engine performance feels super lazy and only its new gearbox is a saving grace. It’s fine on a long open road and its bulk is not an inconvenience in stop/go traffic. But, mated with all its standard goodies and claimed low fuel consumption, it still seems like a pretty good deal if you're the type who likes to go bundu-bashing with the family, dogs and all other sorts of "lifestyle" goodies aboard.

Mitsubishi SA claims the 70-litre fuel tank can reach a combined fuel consumption of 7.8 litres/100km from the manual unit with 206g/km of CO2 emissions and 8.5/100 from the auto with 225g/km.

Safety features include six air bags, an anti-intrusion brake pedal, anti-lock brake system, emergency braking assistance and electronic brake-pressure distribution. There’s also a new brake override that kills the accelerator for 1.5sec in tricky situations.

Prices start at R435 900 for the manual and R445 900 for the auto and it comes with a three-year or 100 000km warranty and five-year or 90 000km service plan.

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Read more on:    mitsubishi  |  south africa  |  new models  |  suv

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