Up in the clouds with Pajero
GROUPS WELCOME AT KLIPBOKKOP: Some of the happy campers who tried out Mitsubishi's Pajero 4x4 at the mountain resort. Image: LES STEPHENSON
Author: LES STEPHENSON
How many of you go barreling out of Cape Town on the N1 and, as you pass through the glaciated depths of the Breede River Valley and pass the town of Worcester, look up at the stark circle of mountains and wonder...
“What must it be like up there?”
Klipbokkop image gallery
Which is why so many city-bound folk own a 4x4; they wanted to get up there to find out. And a vehicle such as Mitsubishi’s 2012 Pajero Sport – especially given its low and very-low 4x4 manual gear ranges – is ideal for the job.
'Up there' in the Stettynsberge behind the Brandvlei Dam is Klipbokkop, owned by the Groenewald family who bought the mountain farm of the same name back in 1994 and built a cross between a retreat and a resort that opened to the public in 1998.
The Pajero has been around for longer than that but I reckon I first drove one up the steep climb to the Kop from the Brandvlei Dam around the time the resort opened. It’s part-sponsored by the Goodyear 4x4 Academy and accepts groups of not less than five 4x4 vehicles for tours.
On a recent Saturday, the mountain trail was owned by Mitsubishi and a small group of motoring writers with their families. The trail is not difficult (especially in a Pajero 4x4), more a great introduction to the off-roading fraternity.
“At Klipbokkop,” say the family, “we strive to instil not only a greater appreciation for, and awareness of, the environment, the fynbos, the plants and the animals, but also the responsibility of using vehicles in a sensitive eco-system.”
That’s what real 4x4-ers believe too.
CHANGE OF 'BOX
Klipbokkop is a magnificent and majestic reserve set on the slopes of the Stettyn mountains, part of the Cape Fold Belt which, thanks to continental drift and a few millions of years, have close relations in Argentina.
It’s a sanctuary of several endangered species – including leopard, honey badger and porcupine – and its mountain beauty and tranquillity are awesome.
The Pajero Sport is pretty awesome, too. It’s been available in South Africa since 2009 with a four-speed tiptronic auto transmission attached to its 3.2-litre turbodiesel engine that delivers 120kW/343Nm but now have the latest five-speed manual gearboxes with part-time all-wheel drive with low and very low range, a centre differential and a rear differential lock.
The Cape Fold Mountains might be very old, but they’re no match for the Pajero...
This Super Select 4x4 allows the driver to select the 4H off-road setting from 2H tar-road mode while driving below 100km/h - as has the Pajero since its first models. The 4H setting gives a 33:67 power split between the front and rear wheels, respectively.
It was upgraded in 2012 with headlights tweaked and washers (mounted on the front bumper) added. The instrument cluster has been revised, a USB port added to the MP3-enabled six-speaker audio system and new leather upholstery installed.
The wagon can seat seven, thanks to two folding seats in the boot, or all seats can be folded to create a cavernous cargo volume.
The Pajero Sport comes with cruise control, a multifunction display (with compass and altimeter) along with parking radar and power windows, six air bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic pressure distribution and traction control.
It's sold with a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a five-year or 100 000km service plan. Service intervals are 10 000km.
PRICES (April 2012):
Pajero Sport 3.2 manual - R435 900
Pajero Sport 3.2 auto - R445 900
For Klipbokkop information and bookings check out their website.