Mitsubishi Pajero, Challenger range gets all-new Sport model

We won't be getting the car until early 2016 and quite where it will fit into the line-up is a moot point, writes DAVE MOORE.

Angular design lends a whole new modern look to the Pajero and Challenger line-ups.
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Angular design lends a whole new modern look to the Pajero and Challenger line-ups.

The previous internationally labelled Pajero Sport was effectively the Challenger model in New Zealand, but it has to be said that the Triton ute based car announced and revealed in Bangkok last week looks impressive enough to cover both Pajero and Challenger roles.

We're advised that the Sport will do just that for a while until an all-new flagship Pajero comes on stream in a year or two.

In the the context of the sadly dated Pajero and its safely-styled Challenger range-mate, the new Sport is a striking looker with dramatically tapered side glasses and a sumptuously appointed and designed interior, while the powertrain now features a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Rear light-cluster  and side-glass treatment is unique and striking.
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Rear light-cluster and side-glass treatment is unique and striking.

This replaces the previous five-speeder - along with the latest version of Mitsubishi's new 4N15 2.4-litre turbodiesel developing 133 kilowatts of power and 430 Nm of torque, which is 3 kilowatts and 80 Nm more respectively than the 4D56 2.5-litre unit it replaces. Figures for New Zealand models we're told are likely to be a little higher than those for the domestic Thai market cars we have been quoted.

The long awaited Triton-based Pajero Sport SUV is designed to take on the new Kia Sorento, the recently-announced Ford Everest, the Isuzu MU-X and its Holden clone, the Colorado 7, and the new Hi-Lux derived Toyota Fortuner, which arrives at about the same time as the Mitsubishi in the first quarter of next year.

The Pajero Sport takes many of its exterior design cues from the Triton and the recently facelifted Outlander, hence the chiselled front end treatment, muscular wheel arches and shard-like rear lights. Inside the Pajero Sport brings Mitsubishi interiors into a new league, with high-quality material choices and textures applied to its classic T-format console and dash.

Mitsubishi's T-format dash shows high attention to quality, finish and material choices.
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Mitsubishi's T-format dash shows high attention to quality, finish and material choices.

While the seven-seat Pajero Sport sits on the same 2800mm wheelbase length as the Challenger and has the same width at 1815mm, the new model is 90mm longer at 4785mm and 35mm lower at 1805mm. Ground clearance is up by 13mm to 218mm, while Mitsubishi makes the point that the car's turning radius reduced to what it calls a class-leading 5.6 metres.

The Pajero Sport continues with Mitsubishi's Super Select 4WD with for drive settings, designed to suit specific terrain and conditions. The system includes an off-road mode, letting the driver dial in snow or rocks or gravel to achieve maximum traction, and hill descent control.

On the safety front, the Pajero Sport uses Mitsubishi's unique RISE (reinforced impact safety evolution) body design and boasts seven airbags and elements like forward collision mitigation, blind spot warning and four-camera multi-view monitor systems.

The Sport's 90mm longer wheelbase, makes for a roomier, more flexible seven-seater.
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The Sport's 90mm longer wheelbase, makes for a roomier, more flexible seven-seater.

The new engine and especially the eight-speed transmission enable the Pajero Sport to post a 17 per cent improvement in fuel economy while Mitsubishi in Thailand says the CO2 level won't exceed 200g/km.

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Mitsubishi New Zealand's head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook says while the new SUV will be sold in 90 countries, "it's absolutely tailor-made for New Zealand. With its shared Pajero heritage and significant off-road advancements the Pajero Sport will have major appeal for Kiwi drivers".

 - The Press

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