The answer to this question, unfortunately, is just now in the east and south of Ukraine – bad roads or their absence at all, transportation of people and things for various purposes. And what about “peaceful times”? What does the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV have to offer, apart from the fact that it is an SUV and not another crossover? I will tell you now.

Design: classic body, latest headlights

The history of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport begins at the end of the 1990s when a market niche appeared a step below the “big” Mitsubishi Pajero. The first incarnations of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport model received the most classic look: a clear division of the body into the engine compartment and the passenger compartment, the advantage of straight lines in the design.

However, the modern Mitsubishi Pajero Sport already prefers soft forms and a wavy “sill”, which is carefully emphasized by chrome. Similarly, the front part: complex chrome C-shaped elements seem to combine the headlights and the front bumper. Even placing the radiator grille between them. Well, I agree: the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV has several characteristic details that are memorable and immediately make it recognizable in a stream of other cars.

In general, the positioning of the model has not changed for 20 years and three generations. However, the stoppage of production of the Mitsubishi Pajero Wagon a few years ago led to the fact that today it is the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport that occupies the flagship position among the SUVs of the famous Japanese company. By the way, note: the company is Japanese, but the production of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport model takes place in Thailand. The car is quite large: length – 4.83 meters; width – 1.82 meters; height – 1.84 meters; wheelbase – 2.8 meters. The subject of the review is the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport car of the third generation in the updated version: pay attention to the changed headlights, optics in the bumper, and shortened lights.

And the update of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport brought noticeable changes in the interior. For the driver – a digital instrument panel with an 8-inch display and several design options: it looks good and provides a lot of information. For people in front, in general, the latest multimedia system (also with an 8-inch display): the menu has become easier to understand, but the functionality of the system itself has improved, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functions is provided.

There will be something to attract passengers behind. Sofa adjustment, armrest, and glass holders – all this has existed since the birth of the “third” Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. But what was added after the update is a ventilation system for rear passengers. Not a separate climate control, but it’s also not bad! And there are heated seats and side handles on the roof racks. After all, getting into the interior of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is a kind of “quest”, especially for the elderly: we start the exercise, raise our legs to the level of the footrest, pull ourselves up, turn our pelvis in the direction of the seat…

The interior overall looks good, but the entire front panel is made of plain hard plastic and has a simple silver trim. A strange contrast with the soft pleasant brown leather Quole Modure: the car seems to demand an improvement in the quality of finishing materials! Is this a question for the next update? After all, the already carried out update was mainly focused on new displays: the instrument panel for the driver, and the multimedia system. Separate ventilation for rear passengers also appeared – in addition to an adjustable sofa, armrest, and glass holders. If only a part of this attention had been paid to the trunk: it is large (715 liters in a standard 5-seater configuration), but it is not equipped for the transportation of small things – it would be great to have niches and shelves.

Technology: frame, turbodiesel, automatic transmission… All-wheel drive!

The phrase “it’s an SUV, not just another crossover” is quite true: a frame structure, independent front suspension and a strong beam bridge behind, a powerful 2.4-liter 4-cylinder DI-D turbodiesel with a MIVEC variable valve timing system, a traditional 8-step automatic transmission. Plus the ground clearance is 218 mm, and most body parts are much higher.

But what makes Mitsubishi Pajero Sport special is its Super Select 4WD-II transmission. It allows you to use rear or all-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is permanent, it can be used at all times. Locking of the central differential and locking of the rear differential is provided. There is also a low range, which is “not for show”, but a real one: the gear ratio reaches almost 2.6 – that is, the wheel revolutions are reduced by as many times, and the torque is increased accordingly.

Probably the main thing in the design of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is its 4-mode transmission: you can use rear or all-wheel drive, block central and rear differentials, and there is a low range. By the way, when the latter is activated, almost all electronic assistants are turned off, except for the off-road assistance system. But is it necessary?

Behind the wheel: such different experiences on and off the road

Despite its name Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, in reality, there is not much “sport” here. Engine reactions to pressing the accelerator pedal are quite slow, the automatic transmission sometimes creates the impression of a CVT – everything is so stretched. However, it is worth picking up medium revolutions – and the picture changes: there is plenty of power and enough dynamics. And enough diesel noise, unfortunately.

Driving and comfort? Let’s say “non-standard”. The steering wheel makes 3.5-3.7 revolutions from end to end and is very light, and the rolls are quite noticeable – it is difficult to talk about the sports clarity of the steering. At least there is a good comfort of the suspension: it “swallows” absolutely everything that can scare you on the road – pits, junctions, humps. In general, everything. Only large wheels sometimes give unpleasant vibrations after driving over bumps. So, when talking in generally accepted automotive terms, when trying to go fast in Sport – the picture is so-so…

However, everything changes when you drive off the flat asphalt. To begin with, it can be at least broken asphalt. And here it turns out that even on a completely bad broken road you can maintain the pace of movement, almost like on a flat highway. The vibrations of the big wheels dissolve, leaving only the soft rocking and comfort of the suspension. The car here is able to catch up with everything you lost on good roads. And move on – to a place where there are no roads at all, but only directions.

The incredible feeling of all-terrain mobility is supported by real cases: the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV will confidently crawl on the frozen ground mixed with snow, and if the wheels skid or hang, the differential locks will help. In such conditions, the light steering and slowness of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport car is only a plus: you manage to turn the steering wheel and go around bumps, and you manage to accelerate thanks to the smooth response of the accelerator pedal and automatic transmission.

The engine actually gives all the promised power (181 hp at 3500 rpm and 430 Nm at 2500 rpm), which is helped by the 8-speed automatic transmission: a great box! By the way, the standard “0-100 km/h” in reality is even a little faster than promised by the passport (12.3 seconds). And there is a slight difference in fuel consumption. In the city, 9.8 liters per 100 km are promised – such an indicator can indeed be obtained, but only under ideal conditions; in reality, it’s usually about 11-12 liters.

On the highway, 7 liters per 100 km are promised – I got 6.5-9 liters in the speed range of 80-110 km/h. Mitsubishi Off Road Mode system does not change the character of the car in general (as it happens – sport/normal/eco) and adjusts the control electronics for a certain type of off-road. However, I think that if you’ve ever gotten to the point where you’ve had to lock the central differential in your Mitsubishi Pajero Sport or even turn on the low range, then the “hardware capabilities” of the car and the driver’s skills are much more important here, and not the help of electronics. Luckily, the off-road “capabilties” here are excellent.

The cost of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport depending on the configuration

Currently, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV is offered in Ukraine only in two versions: both with a 2.4-liter turbodiesel, but they differ in gearboxes and equipment.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 6MT Intense costs from UAH 1.65 million ($41 thousand) and offers: Super Select all-wheel drive, stabilization system, seven airbags, 2-zone “climate”, keyless entry, central touch display, rearview camera, light-alloy 18-inch wheels, heated front, and rear seats, etc.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 8AT Instyle costs from UAH 1.87 million (almost $47 thousand) and additionally offers Mitsubishi Off Road Mode system, digital instrument panel, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, combined leather interior decoration, Mitsubishi multimedia system Connect 2, rear interior ventilation, etc.

Note: a lot of airbags, 2-zone “climate”, heated seats, rear camera – all this is included in any configuration. However, really great advantages are present only in the maximum version: a digital instrument panel, the latest multimedia system, and LED headlights. Offering only two versions, the car can actually be very different – it differs significantly in terms of equipment and, accordingly, in price.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport test drive results

Oh, how radically different not only the configuration but also the impression of the car can be. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV in the city seems excessive and clumsy. You just don’t understand why you should carry a huge frame and a complex four-wheel drive system with you – all these force you to climb into a high cabin and burdens the car.

You don’t understand until you get on an old country road or open off-road. The worse the better! This is where the car shows itself in all its glory: excellent comfort and excellent off-road ability, a sufficient reserve of space, and a trunk for long-distance expeditions. We want them to be not only in the east and south but also throughout the entire territory of our wonderful country. After all, it hides so many interesting places in the winter mountains, open steppes, and on the coasts. And be sure: there is already a car that will definitely take you there – for example, this Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

Car provided by MMS Ukraine