Finding a brand new adventure vehicle is a challenge. Price, engine model, off-road capability and comfort are all important considerations. The price of new vehicles is exorbitant and it’s difficult to validate the purchase of a lifestyle adventure vehicle for use mainly on the weekend. Locating a decent second-hand vehicle is near impossible.
So the challenge was to find a vehicle that ticks all the boxes, especially in the price category and test it in the adventure playground of the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve.
Fortunately, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 3.2 Di-D GLS Auto fitted the adventure profile so it was an obvious choice for a test run.
Star Motors King Williams Town kindly supplied the vehicle for the weekend and were on hand to provide valuable vehicle support and off-road advice.
On first viewing, the body ratio and weighting looked extremely solid. With 16-inch alloy wheels and good quality Habilead Practical Max AT 265/70 tyres, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is an adventure machine that also manages to look sophisticated with sleek lines and neat headlight mouldings.
In addition, the ground clearance at approximately 215 mm is suitable for the most technical terrain. The 700 mm wading depth adds a definite amount of certainty when driving through water crossings, which was essential on this outing.
The cabin is noticeably spacious and offers a stylish interior. Radio controls and cruise control are additional benefits to the functionality and accessibility of the interior.
The legroom and seat height is ample and the seat and steering wheel are also adjustable. A huge advantage is that the middle row of seats offers very good legroom and offers a seven-seat seating layout. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport offers a unique folding arrangement of the third row which results in a long, wide and very useful load area which is certainly is highly beneficial to the packing requirements of the adventurer.
A comprehensive standard specification setup includes park-distance control, climate control, a comprehensive radio/CD system, leather upholstery, cruise control six airbags.
Admittedly the vehicle is quite large and cumbersome for everyday urban use but on the open road and especially on gravel the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport really started to impress.
The suspension is quite stiff but feels significantly softer and very stable and solid on the gravel road. The four-cylinder engine delivers 120 kW @343 Nm and is impressive for a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Off-road the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is a very impressive performance. The terrain was demanding in some parts along the Baviaanskloof especially off the main road.
The vehicle managed extremely well in the 2H (high) setting and with the activated rear diff-lock system, was more than sufficient. On the wetter, muddier roads a simple switch via a secondary lever to 4H (high) ensured an effortless drive through these sections.
There was one steep, very rugged section of the road which required a 4L (low) setting and again the vehicle with its excellent ground clearance and balanced weight distribution over the axils handled the terrain superbly.
The combination of a power torque Diesel engine and automatic transmission made the off-road sections effortless with a perfect balance of power and control.
The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport really impressed.
Price ranges from R 268 000 to R315 000 for a 2010 model and approximately 100 000 km.
The services are easy to maintain and spares are readily available. Overall the vehicle is built to last making it a very viable 2nd hand purchase option.
Great design, spacious interior and excellent off-road performance made for a perfect combination of comfort and performance.
The is a fantastic option for an adventure vehicle and is perfect for weekend exploring and serious 4×4 getaways.
- Engine: 3,2-litre, four-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Power: 120 kW @ 3 500 rpm
- Torque: 343 Nm @ 2 000 rpm
- Transmission: Four-speed automatic
- Wheels: 16-inch alloy
- Top speed: 178 km/h
- Fuel economy: 10,1 litres/100 km (tested)
Craig Giese is an Outdoor Adventure Photographer and Media Content Developer from the Eastern Cape, South Africa