Mitsubishi Pajero Sport : First Drive
It was in 1996 when Mitsubishi rolled out the first generation Pajero Sport. Based on the underpinnings of the second generation Pajero, the Sport went on to become a successful sub brand in its own right. In 2008, the Pajero Sport made its second generation debut and that is pretty much the same vehicle in commission today. This time around, the Sport is based on the underpinnings of the Mitsubishi Triton pick-up truck. Like the Triton, the new Pajero Sport is also manufactured at Mitsubishi’s Thailand facility. Currently available as an import in India, HM-Mitsubishi is considering setting up CKD operations to bring down costs further and capitalise on market demand. Regardless, the good news is that the Pajero Sport is available off the shelf in India, and has the makings of a formidable machine.
Starting with the way it looks, the Pajero Sport encompasses elements based on prevailing Mitsubishi design characteristics. The front lights and grill are reminiscent of the Dakar Rally Pajero, the rear light cluster has an Outlander touch to it and apart from that, the Pajero Sport doesn’t really offer much in terms of break through design and sticks to the no-nonsense approach of flared wheel arches, a large glasshouse, and fine stretched metal. To some, the Pajero Sport might come across as rather plane-jane, but this behemoth has the ability to turn heads as I noticed while driving it around town. Bottom line being that the Pajero Sport is a good looking SUV.
Having said that, I feel that there is a certain amount of brand heritage associated with the ‘Pajero’ name. The brand name immediately throws up references and analogies with the Dakar Rally. After all, the Pajero is the most successful vehicle in the Dakar Rally till date with seven wins out of ten races in its class. It’s got the ultimate off-road vehicle reputation and for the blokes at Mitsubishi it only makes sense to bring this name into play with their new SUV in order to carry that aura over.
Step inside and you will be greeted by a well appointed cabin. The layout is spacious and there really aren’t any bells and whistles. Having said that, the materials used are top notch and the quality of fit and finish is commendable. The best part is nothing on the interior feels cheap or as though Mitsubishi has cut costs. In terms of creature comforts you get a fantastic air-conditioning unit, a stereo, an onboard display for vital information, a digital compass, steering mounted controls and an electronically adjustable driver’s seat.
Designed to seat seven adults, the Pajero Sport does usher in a level of practicality, but the last row is best reserved for children or rather short people. Incidentally, the rear two rows can be folded down and this makes for a cavernous loading space which compliments the versatile nature of the vehicle.