Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed: Tow Test
The new Pajero Sport is a breath of fresh air from the Mitsubishi stables, with smooth handling and versatile features making it a real standout.
Like the Mitsubishi Challenger before it, the Pajero Sport is a ute-based SUV. In this case, the Pajero Sport shares much with the new-in-2015 MQ Triton ute.
So it gets the same engine, front suspension, most of the chassis and dashboard. Rear suspension in the Pajero Sport is a three-link coil-sprung live axle instead of the Triton’s leaf-spring live axle, and the wheelbase is 200mm shorter.
The Exceed’s key features include LED headlights, Trailer Stability Assist, electric park brake, keyless entry, push button start, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, digital radio (DAB), rearview camera, diff lock, leather interior, multi around monitor system (bird’s eye view camera), blind spot warning, forward collision mitigation, ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation system, heated power front seats and rear seat DVD player.
The Pajero Sport also features the excellent Super Select II part-time/full-time 4WD system. It can be driven in 2WD or 4WD high range on paved roads or with the centre diff locked 4WD high or low range on loose surfaces.
Despite this extensive list of features, some of which are simply not available on competitors’ offerings, there are two strange omissions in the Pajero Sport range – they don’t come with sat-nav or seven seats in Australia.
The cargo area is large with 673L of space available (to the height of the seat back). There’s one 12V/120W charging port on the offside cargo wall and shopping hooks on each side as well as four tie-down points. The full-size alloy spare is tucked up under the back of the Exceed.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The four-cylinder turbodiesel engine is the same unit that Mitsubishi slots into the Triton. It squeezes out 133kW of power at 3500rpm and 430Nm peak torque at 2500rpm from its small 2.4L displacement.
The engine is smoother and quieter in the Pajero Sport than in the Triton, although it is not the most refined diesel on the market. The engine has a 4000rpm redline, but in drive mode the smooth eight-speed transmission upshifts at 3500rpm.
In manual mode, the engine spins willingly enough to 4000rpm but there seems little point reaching beyond 3500rpm anyway.
Driving without a caravan behind on a mix of urban roads and freeways, the Pajero Sport achieved an average of 8.2L/100km. When towing a 2110kg full-size tandem-axle caravan, consumption rose to 17.8L/100km.
The relatively small 68L fuel tank would give the Pajero Sport a safe caravan touring range of 332km (with a 50km safety margin) using our fuel figures.
While there was no Sport mode, the eight-speed auto had a predictive gearshift logarithm that changes gearshift patterns when towing, and this setup appeared to work well. Downshifts occurred earlier and lower gears were held for longer.
The Exceed has the bonus of having steering-mounted gear paddle shifts, which makes using manual mode a cinch. Engine braking was average rather than outstanding.
The Pajero Sport’s side mirrors are an odd shape but, in spite of this, give a good view down the sides and may be good enough to tow a narrower van. The Pajero Sport’s side mirrors took the towing mirrors on without a fuss and they did not move or vibrate at speed.
THE BOTTOM LINE
With a fairly extensive equipment list and an attractive price, there’s much to like about the new Pajero Sport. Fuel consumption is quite high, but the comfortable ride and smooth handling more than make up for this.
MITSUBISHI PAJERO SPORT EXCEED SPECS
Weights and measures
- Length 4785mm
- Width 1815mm
- Height 1805mm
- Wheelbase 2800mm
- Ground clearance 218mm
- Kerb mass 2070kg
- Gross Vehicle Mass 2710kg
- Gross Combined Mass 5400kg
- Towing capacity unbraked/braked 750kg/3100kg
- Towball (max) 310kg
- Engine 2.4L four-cylinder turbodiesel
- Transmission Eight-speed automatic
- Power 133kW at 3500rpm
- Torque 430Nm at 2500rpm
- Gear ratios (:1)
- 1 4.845
- 2 2.840
- 3 1.863
- 4 1.436
- 5 1.216
- 6 1.000
- 7 0.815
- 8 0.672
- Rev 3.825
- Final drive 3.692
- High/low 1.000/2.566
- Towbar; brake controller
- Fuel capacity 68L
- Suspension Independent, coil springs (front); live-axle, coil springs (rear)
- Brakes Ventilated discs
- (front and rear)
- Wheels 18x7.5in
- Warranty Five years/130,000km
- Roof load 80kg
- $52,750 (plus on-road costs)
The full test appears in Caravan World #552 June 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!