2017 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Review

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2017 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Review

Overall Rating

0

4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

3 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

4 out of 5 stars

Technology

4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProExcellent value for money

  2. ConRelatively cosy cabin

  3. The Pick: 2017 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed (4x4) 7 Seat 4D Wagon

What stands out?

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The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is a rugged wagon that is very good off road but comfortable – and easy to drive – on the road. There are five-seat and seven-seat versions, both offering excellent fuel economy from a modern diesel engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. All integrate smartphones well. Mitsubishi developed the Pajero Sport from its Triton ute.

What might bug me?

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Getting comfortable in the driver’s seat, if you’re tall. The seat is closer to the floor than in most similar 4WDs, and even then you may find yourself looking through the top of the windscreen. And if you want to relax and let your left leg swing outwards, your knee soon strikes the very wide centre console.

On seven-seat versions, complaints from big kids in the third row that their heads hit the roof. And they may have a point.

What body styles are there?

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A five-door wagon is the only body style, with either five seats (Pajero Sport GLX) or seven seats (Pajero Sport GLS and Exceed).

In any Pajero Sport, you can select either rear-wheel drive or full-time four-wheel drive – which means you can use 4WD all the time, on any surface.

Every Pajero sport also allows you to select high-range gearing, for road use, or low-range, which allows you to drive comfortably at very low speeds off road.

The Pajero Sport is classed as a large SUV, lower priced.

What features does every Pajero Sport have?

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Proximity key entry and start – which allows you to unlock the doors as long as you have the key nearby (perhaps in your pocket or bag). To start the engine, you push a button.

A seven-inch touchscreen, configured for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (If you plug in a compatible smartphone, the touchscreen can show a simplified version of the phone’s home screen. You can access apps and get directions, make calls or send messages from the touchscreen.)

Cruise control, operated from buttons on the steering wheel.

Bluetooth phone connectivity, controlled from the steering wheel or touchscreen. A sound system with a digital radio, and iPod and USB inputs, also with controls on the steering wheel.

Tilt and reach steering wheel adjustment, which helps the driver get comfortable.

A rear view camera, which helps you see behind the car when reversing, and rear parking sensors, which tell you how close you are to obstacles.

Climate Control, which maintains a set cabin temperature.

Seven airbags: two directly in front of the driver and front-seat passenger; one alongside each front occupant to protect the upper body, and curtain airbags down each side of the car to protect the heads of those sitting next to a window – including those in the third-row where fitted. There is also an airbag to protect the driver’s knees and legs.

Electronic stability control, which can help bring a skidding car back under command. All new cars must have this feature.

Trailer-sway control, which helps you stabilise the car if a towed trailer is swaying from side to side.

A multi-mode drive system from which you can select 2WD or 4WD for road use, or high or low-speed 4WD for off-road use. There are also settings for different off-road conditions, such as gravel, sand, mud/snow or rocks.

Electronic traction control, which helps you go further in slippery conditions.

Hill-start control, which stops the car running backwards when starting off on steep inclines, and hill-descent control, which automatically limits the car’s speed on steep declines.

Wheels (of 18-inch diameter) made from polished and part-painted aluminium alloy, which look nicer than steel wheels, and a full-size spare wheel rather than a narrow space-saver.

LED headlights and taillights, which are brighter than normal lights and use less power, and LED daytime running lamps, which help make the car more visible on overcast days.

Side steps, which help you get in and out of the car.

All Pajero Sport models have a five-year/100,000km warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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A four-cylinder turbo diesel is the only engine in a Pajero Sport. It’s a modern, responsive and efficient 2.4-litre design that debuted in the Mitsubishi Triton ute in 2015. It uses just 8 litres/100km in the official test (city and country combined), and generally averages under 10 litres/100km in the real world.

An eight-speed automatic is the only gearbox available.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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Step past the least costly Pajero Sport, the five-seat GLX, and spend more for a Pajero Sport GLS and you get two more seats in a third row. All seven seats are trimmed in leather, and the driver and front-passenger seats are both power adjustable.

The GLS also has dual-zone climate control (so that the driver and front passenger can set their own cabin temperatures), wipers that operate automatically when it rains, and headlights that switch on automatically when it gets dark. There are six rather than four speakers, for better sound, and a cargo blind to hide your luggage from prying eyes.

There’s also a rear differential lock, which helps you go further in difficult off-road conditions.

Spend more again on a Pajero Sport Exceed and you get in addition a DVD screen for second-row passengers, with remote control and two sets of headphones, and two more speakers.

The Exceed also adds some active safety features. Perhaps the headliner is Forward Collision Mitigation, a form of auto emergency braking. This alerts you if you are in danger of hitting an obstacle (typically a sharply slowing car), and pre-charges the brakes so that they respond faster to your pressing the brake pedal. It will brake automatically if a crash is imminent and you haven’t responded. There is also a blind-spot monitor, which warns you of vehicles alongside out of view.

The Exceed also has cameras at the front, rear, and on each side, that can show you an aggregated bird’s-eye view of the car, or show what any individual camera can see. You can scroll between the cameras via a steering-wheel button.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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The better-equipped Pajero Sports are marginally heavier. This reduces the maximum weight you can carry legally.

All colours apart from white attract an extra charge.

How comfortable is the Pajero Sport?

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The Pajero Sport has a modern and nicely detailed interior, with lots of metal finishes to offset the dark colours elsewhere. The dashboard and centre console are arranged to provide the driver somewhat of a wrap-around cockpit feel (which may leave some tall drivers feeling a little cramped). Otherwise the seat is comfortable and the driver has the benefit of tilt and reach steering-wheel adjustment, a feature not generally found on similar ute-based vehicles.

On the road, the Pajero Sport feels smaller and more agile than its size suggests, and rides far more smoothly, quietly and comfortably than the ute from which it is derived. That’s thanks to thoroughly revised suspension, including soft-riding coils rather than load-carrying leaf springs at the rear.

The diesel engine is also relatively quiet and nicely responsive, while the eight-speed automatic gearbox provides near undetectable changes.

What about safety in a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport?

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Every Pajero Sport rates at least excellent for safety on the WhichCar scale, thanks to its seven airbags, reversing camera and electronic stability control among other features. On the seven-seat GLS and Exceed versions, the side-curtain airbags extend past the third seat row, so that even those riding in the rearmost seats receive some cushioning from side impacts.

The Exceed lifts the rating to standout thanks to its automatic braking and blind-spot monitoring.

A bonus from the Exceed’s auto-braking system is low-speed intervention when you’re parking, or otherwise manoeuvring at close quarters. If you mistakenly press the accelerator when approaching an obstacle in front or behind, it will brake the car.

(To see a list of the safety features on any model, open the model from the Cars Covered By This Review dropdown near the top of this page, and look under the features tab. Safety-related features are listed in red.)

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the Pajero Sport five stars, its maximum safety score.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The Pajero Sport is a ute-based 4WD wagon that’s excellent off road. That means it’s not very sporty on sealed roads, even if it does better there than some other 4WDs that have been developed from utes.

The Pajero Sport’s suspension tune is also on the soft side, which is good for comfort but allows the body to lean outwards easily in corners if you drive the vehicle hard.

On the positive side, the selectable full-time 4WD gives the Pajero Sport the edge on slippery roads over vehicles that have part-time 4WD – which can be engaged only on unsealed surfaces.

The engine is responsive from low speeds, thanks in part to the fast-shifting close-ratio eight-speed automatic, but lacks strong overtaking power at open-road speeds. Similar vehicles with bigger engines would make better tow vehicles.

The Pajero Sport is also equipped and built to tackle serious off-road duties. It will take you further off-road than any passenger-car based SUV.

How is life in the rear seats?

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The Pajero Sport can carry two adults and a child across the rear seat in reasonable comfort. However, it would be a tighter squeeze here for three adults than in similar cars such as the Ford Everest and Toyota Fortuner.

The third-row seats, where fitted, offer less leg and head room than those in most similar vehicles and are suitable only for children. Small adults or even big kids are likely to find they don’t have enough room between their heads and the roof to feel comfortable.

All Pajero Sports deliver air-conditioning to rear passengers in all seat rows via dedicated vents.

The tall stance of the Pajero Sport means that its seats are at a good height for lifting small children in and out. The second-row seat has two childseat ISOFIX seat mounts and three conventional restraint anchor points.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The five-seat Pajero Sport GLX has more luggage space than the seven-seat GLS and Exceed, and more also than similar vehicles that seat seven. The third-row seats in the GLS and Exceed fold into the floor but still eat into the cargo space, and other seven-seaters also lose space to the rearmost seats even when they are folded away.

The second row seat, which splits 60/40, tumbles forward once the backrest is lowered, to provide a reasonably flat load space.

Having the spare wheel mounted under the car rather than in the luggage area means that in the event of a flat tyre, you don’t have to unpack to get the spare out.

The Pajero Sport is rated tow up to 3100kg, which is as much as most similar vehicles can tow.

Where does Mitsubishi make the Pajero Sport?

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The Pajero Sport is made in Thailand.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Perhaps third-row seats that can accommodate bigger passengers with some comfort. The Ford Everest, Isuzu MU-X and Toyota Fortuner offer these, for example.

Perhaps in-built satellite navigation, as offered in the Everest, the Fortuner and the Toyota Prado, for example. In a Pajero Sport, you need to link the car to a compatible smartphone and use the phone’s navigation.

A CD player, which is standard in Everest, Fortuner and Prado.

Another seven-seat 4x4 you might consider is the Holden Trailblazer.

If hard-core off-road ability is not important to you, other cars you might consider include the Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Pathfinder, and Subaru Outback.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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The Exceed is the pick of the range, given the active safety equipment it adds for a modest price premium.

Are there plans to update the Pajero Sport soon?

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The Pajero Sport was all-new for 2016, and was introduced as a five-seat car. A third row of seats was added to GLS and Exceed versions from July 2016. Don’t expect a comprehensive update before 2018.