THE Mitsubishi Pajero Sport has made it into the top-ten best-selling 4x4s for the first time and in doing so has fought off a host of other wagons including the Ford Everest, Holden Trailblazer, Isuzu MU-X and Toyota Fortuner.
Read more of 4X4's 2017 Most Popular Report Cards
Compared to the other wagons-made-from-utes, the Pajero Sport is smaller, generally less expensive and has some notable technical highlights including an eight-speed automatic gearbox (whereas the others have the ute-derived six-speeders).
Mitsubishi’s unique Super Select 4x4 system also brings full-time 4x4, a feature not found with Fortuner, Trailblazer or MU-X.
Powered by the same new and revvy 2.4-litre diesel of the Triton, and helped along by the slick eight-speed automatic, the Pajero Sport offers relaxed, effortless performance, a fair turn of speed when asked, and is reasonably quiet and refined.
Being a bit smaller and lighter than its immediate competitors, the Pajero Sport feels quite nimble on the road, even if the suspension tune is biased towards comfort.
The full-time 4x4 of the Super Select also brings convenience, safety, and effectiveness to the Pajero Sport in mixed driving conditions that its part-time competitors can’t match, and it still has the option of rear-drive-only for those long highway stints on dry roads.
The Pajero Sport’s star starts to fade a little off-road, where the modest wheel travel and ground clearance see it struggle in places where its competitors aren’t troubled.
While mid- and top-spec models get a diff lock, it’s not as effective as it could be as it cancels the traction control on both axles when activated.
All Pajero Sport models offer smart-key entry and start and tilt-and-reach steering wheel adjustment, but taller drivers will find a somewhat cramped driving position in what is a small cabin compared to its rivals.
2017 (to June): 3304
2016 (to June): 1874
Change: + 76.3%
Cabin & Equipment: C
Towing & Practicality: D
Final word: There’s a lot to like, even if it’s smaller than its competitors.
*Scored against class competitors. A= Excellent. B= Very Good. C= Good. D= Fair. E= Poor. F= Fail.