Review - 2021 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

AF By Alexi Falson July 14, 2021

image for Review - 2021 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is an unusual vehicle in the way that it aims to tick two very different boxes for two types of people. One one hand, it promises a no-compromises approach for those looking to head into the great outdoors. On the other, it promises to ferry up to seven people in comfort, handling everything from a school-run to a weekend away towing the family boat.

The problem is, though, that producing a car at this price point that can adequately tick the off-road performance box while being comfortable and sophisticated enough for a family run-around is not an easy task.

If you’re looking at the Pajero Sport as a potential option, you’ll be glad to know that in mid-2020, Mitsubishi gave the Pajero Sport a mid-cycle upgrade complete with styling tweaks, more safety equipment and more technology to keep the whole family happy on your next road trip.

Starting Price: $46,990

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How Much Does It Cost?

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport will cost you $45,990 drive-away for the base model GLX, while stepping up to the mid-range GLS brings the price tag to $52,490, but adding two seats (and making it a seven-seater) brings the total to $53,990. The range-topping Exceed with all the added luxuries comes at a price of $59,990 drive-away. 

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What Features Does the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Have?

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport comes packaged with all the essentials you’ll need to keep the kids in line during a weekday’s errands and longer road trips. This includes an 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear-view camera with sensors, hill descent control, trailer stability control, digital radio, two USBs up front with an HDMI input, two USBS in the rear with air conditioning vents, as well as side steps, roof rails and keyless entry.

Stepping up into the mid-spec GLS variant adds active cruise control, a power tailgate, leather seats, automatic headlights and wipers, electrochromatic rear-view mirror and a six-speaker audio system.

The range-topping Exceed comes packaged with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, 360-degree parking camera with front parking sensors, eight-speaker audio system, heated seats, mis-acceleration system and a digital instrument setup.

Range Features:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • LED Headlights
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen MMI unit
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Active cruise control (GLS and above)
  • Locking rear differential (GLS and above)
  • 360-degree parking camera (Exceed)
  • Front parking sensors (Exceed)
  • TomTom satellite navigation (Exceed) 

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is based on another large car from Mitsubishi, the Triton ute.

What this means is that underneath, a lot of the important stuff has been carried over from the rugged Triton workhorse and is utilised in the Pajero Sport, and it has undeniable performance when a sealed road ends, and the dirt and mud begins.

The whole Mitsubishi Pajero Sport lineup is powered by the same 2.4-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit which produces 133kW of power and 430Nm of torque. Considering the car weighs more than two-tonnes, the performance is respectable, but unlikely to inspire.

Around town, drivers will no doubt appreciate sitting up high in the cockpit, and will also appreciate the light steering feel, which makes tight-spot maneuvering and parking effortless. Power is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which means that cruising around town is like riding a smooth, torque-filled wave.

Off road, drivers can rely on the Super Select II four-wheel drive system which comes as standard, which allows you to shift from two-wheel to high and low-range 4x4. You can also leave the centre differential unlocked for added traction on surfaces like gravel, or while towing.

For those looking to head to the great outdoors, or tow a boat or work equipment, the Pajero Sport can tow up to 3100kg, and has 218mm of ground clearance. While you’re on the road towing, you’ll be happy to know that hill descent control and trailer stability control will help you keep on track, and stop you from cooking your brakes on a particularly lengthy incline.

Overall, Mitsubishi has struck a nice balance with the Pajero Sport and has indeed packaged a genuine all-rounder when you take into consideration how manageable it is around town, and capable it is off-road.  

Is it Practical and Spacious?

Considering the size of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, it’s almost impossible to say that it’s anything other than a family-eating machine. Opting for a seven-seat configuration means that the driver, along with six passengers have ample amounts of space - so long as you keep the size of the very rear passengers to that of a young teenager.

For grown adults, rear legroom is somewhat limited, as the Pajero Sport is held back slightly by its Triton underpinnings. For loose items, there’s a dozen or more cubby-holes or loose items, drink bottles and phones, as well as rear-mounted USBs and even a power outlet for charging up larger electronics on longer journeys.

In terms of boot space, a seven-seat configuration eats massively into your ability to stash shopping bags and backpacks, accommodating just 133L. This, however, can be increased by simply folding down the rear seats, which increases your overall cargo storage to a much more respectable 502L. For the five-seater, boot space increases to a massive 673L, with 1.2m of length and 1.3 meters of width for bulkier items.

Is it Safe?

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport has been awarded the maximum ANCAP Five-Star Safety Rating, but lacks some of the safety equipment that competitors are happy to throw in free-of-charge. For example, while Mitsubishi has packaged the base model GLX Pajero Sport with seven airbags, a rear-view camera and sensors, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), hill descent and trailer stability control, things like active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and even front parking sensors are optional extras, otherwise you’ll have to opt for the more expensive GLS or Exceed variants.

For the money, it would be nice to see Mitsubishi pack even the base model Pajero Sport with the same comprehensive package that a number of its competitors are more than willing to.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

Mitsubishi says that the Pajero Sport is rated at 8.0L/100km, which for a car of this size, is a very impressive rating. Keep in mind, though, that driving in the real-world with passengers and cargo will likely see this figure jump into double-digits. Overall, though, Mitsubishi’s diesel powertrain is impressively economical for the amount of torque it produces.

Our Verdict: Is the Mitsubishi Pajero Worth it?

If you’re looking for a car that needs to wear multiple hats, the Pajero Sport remains one of the go-to options for buyers looking to escape hefty price tags. With all things considered, the Pajero Sport performs remarkably well around town, and remains impressively economical during an urban cycle. As a weekender and as a work-horse, the Pajero Sport is just as impressive thanks to a smooth powertrain with impressive torque, and that capable Triton chassis. 

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Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Limited-slip differential not standard; mid-spec and above
  2. 502L of cargo space
  3. 3100kg towing capacity
  4. 218mm ground clearance
  5. 673L of boot space (for five-seat model)

Pros

  • Towing powerhouse
  • Admirable on and off-road performance
  • Massive boot space (673L for five-seat variant)

Cons

  • Uninspiring diesel powertrain
  • Rear legroom for taller passengers
  • Limited slip differential not as standard

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