Mitsubishi Motors South Africa is about to take the off-road premium SUV market by the scruff of the neck as it launches the new Pajero Sport 3.2 DI-D GLS.
Mitsubishi builds cars that are tough as nails. How else do you explain the fact that its vehicles have won a record 12 Dakar Rally Championships? No other motor manufacturer can come close to claiming this feat. The company’s 4x4 heritage began in 1936 when it introduced Japan’s first ever all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle called the Mitsubishi PX33. In 1982 the very first lifestyle AWD from Mitsubishi was unveiled and it was called the Pajero. Since then the Pajero name has been synonymous with exceptional off-road capabilities combined with great interior features and comfort. Many consider it the benchmark of 4x4 technology and refinement. Over 2.5 million units have been produced since the 1980s.
“The benchmark of 4x4 technology and refinement”
In Mzansi Pajero is also known as a trendy SUV, one that buyers also purchase to show off. This relationship is even immortalised in a 1990s kwaito song called Pajero by a group of the same name. Such is the strength of the brand. With the introduction of the Pajero Sport 3.2 DI-D GLS that relationship will no doubt be extended further and the car will surely find its way into many homes.
“There is no question about the excellence of Mitsubishi’s products,” says Annette Erasmus, Acting Divisional Manager, Mitsubishi Motors, “all of which personify the progress
MMC has made as one of the world's top manufacturers. We are extremely pleased to introduce the Pajero Sport, a vehicle that is set to appeal to persons with an active and engaging lifestyle, those looking for more than just the ordinary.”
Since launch in 2008 over 9 000 units of the Pajero Sport have been sold worldwide. It’s built in Thailand which is known as the bakkie/pickup capital of the world. Sorry Free State. That means it benefits from the very best and latest manufacturing processes to make it the exemplary vehicle in its class.
DESIGN AND STYLING
In designing the Pajero Sport, Mitsubishi designers let go of the normal boxy style that characterises a lot of the premium off-road SUVs in the world. They went for a more founded feel with a muscular stance while its ruggedness was kept intact. The vehicle has a sleek profile that makes it attractive while its awesome ground clearance is ideal for climbing up mountains and other obstacles. The ground clearance is actually 215mm making it a real off-roader.
“7 passengers can be accommodated”
Space is plenty, both for passengers as well as for loading goods. The Pajero Sport measures 4.7m long, 1.8m wide, 1.8m high with the roof rail and has a wheelbase of 2.8m. All this means passenger comfort is not compromised even when there are loads to be considered. Even better is the fact that 7 passengers can be accommodated.
Exterior are listed in a menu stretching as far as Dakar itself so we’ll only mention a few. These include front and rear foglamps, colour-coded bumpers, halogen headlights, sporty chrome side mirrors, tube type side steps, roof rails and an upper hinge tailgate at the rear.
The engine chosen for the South African market is a very torquey one which is also quite powerful. It’s the 3.2-litre common-rail intercooled turbo diesel (DI-D) with a 17:1 compression ratio. Maximum thrust is a heady 120kW (163hp) at 3500rpm and peak torque is 343Nm at a very low 2000rpm. If you ever need it the top speed is 178km/h. Mated with the engine is a smooth 4-speed automatic gearbox that not only performs very well off the road but provides a relaxed driving experience in urban traffic conditions. To help it drive like a sedan on the road is the front double wishbone and rear 3-link suspension with coil springs and stabiliser bar. Plenty of kilometres will be attained thanks to the 70 litre fuel tank and the general frugality of the engine.
“Performs very well off the road but provides a relaxed driving experience in urban traffic”
Driving the four wheels is Mitsubishi’s renowned SuperSelect AWD System with a rear diff lock. It works by sending power to the wheel with the most grip thus ensuring that even in sticky situations there’s nothing to fear. Contact with the surfaces is through 265/70R16112S tyres wrapped around 16 x 7.0J light alloy wheels.
Customers who fully subscribe to the Mitsubishi outdoor lifestyle experience will be pleased to learn that the car comes with a towing capacity of 1 500kg with brake and 750kg without brake.
Safety is top priority at Mitsubishi so the Pajero Sport benefits from features like the standard anti-lock braking system (
ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and driver and passenger side SRS (supplemental restraint system) dual stage airbags.
The interior feels like an executive sedan with features like full leather upholstery, power steering, cruise control, satellite audio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, automatic air conditioning, power windows all around, central locking, electrically adjustable front seats and an LCD information panel on the dashboard. Entertainment is courtesy of a powerful 6-speaker sound system with radio, CD and MP3 playability. It’s quite clear then that the Pajero Sport, as rugged as it is, does not have keep that same image inside. Actually it’s quite a softy on that front.
“As rugged as it is…it’s quite a softy”
The second row of seats is adjustable and has a 40:60 split function plus sliding ability while the third row of seats features seatbelts, headrests and cup holders.
Attached to the key is an immobiliser system as well as keyless entry functionality.
“The Pajero Sport, with its performance – on and off-road capabilities - ride and handling, comfort and seating versatility, and interior and exterior styling, to name but a few of its superior attributes, will appeal to a variety of lifestyles,” concludes Erasmus.
Mitsubishi South Africa will sell the Pajero Sport 3.2 DID GLS standard with Mitsubishi’s
3-year/100 000km new vehicle warranty and Mitsubishi’s 5-year/100 000km Service Plan. Service intervals are 10 000km and the Mitsubishi’s Diamond Promise Roadside Assistance offers repairs, towing and storage twenty-four hours a day and 365 days a year.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 3.2 DID GLS Pricing: R414 000