Not just a pretty face
If you put the Pajero through its paces off-road, you will soon realise that this SUV doesn’t just look good, it’s also very capable. Mitsubishi’s Super-Select 4WD system now benefits from further development as it incorporates hill descent control (slow speed limiter) and an off-road mode, which lets you dial-in specific surfaces allowing maximum traction. You can select gravel, mud/snow, sand or rock to maximise its performance. The system optimises traction parameters - wheelspin, transmission, brake force and engine power - for maximum off-road capability. The Pajero Sport now comfortably wades through a 700mm, thigh-high stream. Its towing capacity does not disappoint; 3,100kg braked, with trailer stability control constantly on guard to help minimise the risk of dangerous swaying that is often caused by a poorly-loaded trailer.
A host of firsts
The Pajero Sport incorporates many firsts for the Japanese car maker, such as its 8-speed automatic transmission, hill descent control, blind spot warning system, off-road mode and electric parking brake – finally, no more manual lever!
The Pajero is powered by a 2.4ltr, 437 Nm MIVEC turbo diesel engine. This is mated to the 8-speed auto transmission which helps to achieve an optimal balance between power, fuel economy and quietness. The extra-low gears stand ready to inch through difficult terrain with ease and the fuel economy has a fairly average figure of 8L/100km, which is aided by the ‘idle neutral control’. This automatically disengages the torque converter when you’ve stopped but still have the engine running. I thought I could almost feel this happen when I stopped at lights or an intersection as it gave the occasional impression that the vehicle ‘jumped’. Of course the vehicle didn’t physically move, but it just felt that way.
Only 5 star safety will do
With seven airbags and a new wave of safety systems, the Pajero Sport easily achieved a 5 star ANCAP rating. A new feature that’s now included is Smartbrake; a system that cancels out the acceleration if you accidentally hit the pedal, and similarly the brake in an emergency situation. Blind spot warning is also issued as standard now, and incorporates blinking lights in the door mirrors, along with a buzzer alert for when vehicles enter your blind spot area.
The VRX has a few next level safety assistances, such as an ultrasonic mis-acceleration mitigation system (a tongue twister, right there!), which constantly senses nearby objects whilst parking and restrains engine output in case you accidentally accelerate instead of brake. Forward collision mitigation is also included; a system that slows you down in the event that a vehicle in front of you slows down, but you don’t – a nifty set up that reduces the risk of rear collision and also halts the car completely if necessary.
Pairing your Pajero
Sport drivers will be the first to enjoy Mitsubishi’s new smartphone link display audio as you can connect your phone to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. This facilitates making calls, navigating your way around, sending and receiving texts and listening to music, and the best bit - you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, as it comes with voice command.
Prices for the XLS start from $58,990 and $63,990 for the VRX.