Those who are looking for a rugged ladder frame-based 4WD vehicle as an alternative to the Ford Everest or the Toyota Fortuner can now opt for the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, which is based on the multi-Malaysian-award-winning Mitsubishi Triton pick-up truck.
Mitsubishi has engineered a SUV body for the Triton’s ladder frame and change the rear leaf spring suspension to one based on coil springs mated to a 3-link live axle with stabilizer bar. The front rides on double wishbones with coil springs and a stabilizer bar. It is essentially the replacement for the Mitsubishi Challenger which can be found on Malaysian roads, which is a 4WD SUV version of the Mitsubishi Storm which preceded the current Triton.
Under the hood is a 16 valve 4 cylinder direct injection intercooled turbocharged 2.5 liter diesel engine producing 136 PS at 3,500rpm and 314Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. This is mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission with INVECS-II shift control. No 3.2 liter version like the one in the Triton currently available.
The 4WD system features Super Select 4WD. SS-4WD features four modes – 2H for regular driving, 4H for a 50:50 torque split between the front and rear axle, 4HLc which locks the center differential for equal power to all four wheels, and 4LLc which engages 4WD, the center differential lock, and in addition drives power through a set of low gear ratios for torque multiplication. 2H to 4H can be selected at speeds of up to 100km/h. 4LLc provides a maximum climb angle of 35 degrees. Departure angle and approach angles are 25 degrees and 36 degrees respectively. The ramp break-over angle is 23 degrees. Lateral travel angle (tilted sideways) is up to 45 degrees.
The Pajero Sport features a beige interior with three rows of seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, which means space for 7. The second row splits 60:40, with two 3-point seatbelts for the sides and one 2-point center lapbelt for the middle. The third row has 3-point seatbelts for both seats. For smaller families that don’t require the third row, it can be folded down flat and kept that way most of the time to make way for a larger boot space. The second row shares air conditioning vent airflow from the front dash with the first row while the third row gets their own side vents with manual fan speed control.
The interior’s dashboard design looks quite close to the Triton but there are a few subtle changes such as a different steering wheel, a slightly different design for the center dash area, and a different automatic shifter to accommodate the Tiptronic manual shifting ability. The area where the Triton featured an RV meter has been replaced with a 2-DIN touch screen DVD/CD head unit with USB and AUX input, mated to a 6-speaker audio system (including 2 tweeters).
The Pajero sport rides on 265/65R17 tyres. It has dual SRS airbags for the front. Brakes are ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear. To help with maneuvering its larger bulk it has both front and rear sensors. The wing mirrors have power folding function. A total of 5 body colours are available – Eisen Grey Mica, Cool Silver Metallic, Platinum Beige Metallic, Dark Blue Mica and White Pearl. It goes for RM165,980.00 OTR with insurance for individual private registration.
Pajero Sport GL (4X2)
Pajero Sport GL, it’s essentially a 2WD version of the seven-seater SUV that was launched mid last year (the original 4WD model is now officially known as the Pajero Sport GS). The GL is targetted to urban users who want the Pajero Sport’s macho image and substantial size, but not its off-road capability.
Without the GS’ Super Select 4WD system, the 1,935 kg GL is 105 kg lighter than its 4WD sister. Apart from that, the only other differences are rear drum brakes and 16-inch wheels as opposed to 17-inch items in the GS. The GL is powered by the same 2.5-litre commonrail diesel engine as the GS and Trition; the DOHC 16v unit makes 134 bhp and 314 Nm from 2,000 rpm. A four-speed INVECS-II automatic with manual mode does transmission duties.
From the outside, one can tell GL and GS apart by the former’s honeycomb grille design (chrome bars for the GS) and six-spoke rims. Oh, and the small ‘GL’ badge of course. Inside, the new variant comes with dark brown leather seats and trim (beige for GS) and does without faux wood inserts. Taking centrestage on the dashboard is an aftermarket 2-DIN stereo system with USB/iPod/Bluetooth connectivity. The Kenwood unit also incorporates a reverse camera. ABS, EBD and dual airbags are standard.
While the Pajero Sport is built on a rugged ladder frame, it’s more than just a Triton with a canopy. The pick-up truck’s rear leaf springs make way for 3-link coil spring rear suspension, so third row passengers won’t bounce like on trampolines. The GL is priced at RM145,900(OTR with insurance), quite a bit cheaper than the RM165,980 GS.
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