Trying on the flagship status for the updated Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

Trying on the flagship status for the updated Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Trying on the flagship status for the updated Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

03 October 2021
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The updated Pajero Sport became the flagship of the Mitsubishi model range not from a good life: the real Pajero will no longer be produced. Too much money would require updating the SUV, which has been produced since 2006. And Mitsu’s priorities have changed. As a result, the place on the throne was given to the successor, who has a utilitarian pickup truck in his pedigree.
Restyling was introduced last year, there are already cars on Drive2, but due to well-known events, a full-fledged test drive for the press is being conducted only now. It is known that the changes are mainly in the field of ergonomics and convenience of everyday use, and almost all the equipment has remained the same. There are several reasons for this: Mitsubishi is not in the best shape, and the conservative audience cannot be called demanding.

We have cars in the Ultimate maximum configuration with the well-known turbodiesel 4N15 with a volume of 2.4 liters, developing the previous 181 hp and 430 NM. Gasoline cars with a three-liter V6 were not brought — there is no need to be distracted by a version with a sales share of less than ten percent. It’s good that there are several owners of previous Sports in our group at once: I can compare my feelings with their operating experience.

The sportsman from my crew knows the car so well that he generously gives me the steering wheel for the whole trip. There will be less fuss with adjustments: even in the top-end configuration, there is no memory of the seat position, the height and departure of the steering column are adjusted manually. Even the newfangled Mitsubishi Remote Control application can be linked to only one phone. No “me”, “wife” and “dog” profiles for you. If you want to connect a second phone and control the locks, trunk door, headlights using the application (see the video in “Behind the scenes”) – untie the first one.

We start from the center of Tyumen: ahead is a 500-kilometer journey to the historical heart of Siberia, the city of Tobolsk, and back. Dry weather and a ban on going into the forest limit the off-road part of the route, and in addition to asphalt, you can only count on gravel and primers. Packed with a set of clothes “for dirt” remains unclaimed. However, the pre-style Sport has already proved everything off-road, and the update does not limit the abilities of the crook in any way.

The traffic jam at the exit allows you to evaluate the new Auto Hold function. But we don’t stand long enough to find out how the Sport behaves after ten minutes, which is limited to automatic holding in place. Ultimate also offers adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system with an indication in the mirrors, all-round cameras and auto braking up to 80 km/h. One of the novelties is a signal about approaching vehicles during parking maneuvers.

I’m comfortable behind the wheel, only the leather of the seats is a bit harsh. The knees do not touch the center console with swollen sidewalls. They say they added a thickness so that our burly man did not rest against the plastic of the tunnel. But the authors of the Drive complained more about its overall width, which makes the interior seem cramped. It didn’t get any better.

I don’t understand why colleagues focus on the noise and vibration load of Mitsubishi diesel. In my opinion, only in moderation. In the city, the motor does not bother me with a growl. The eight-speed Aisin “automatic” switches gears quickly. There are enough dynamics in urban traffic — both for starting from a traffic light, and for rebuilding in the stream. The force on the steering wheel with a power steering is a little watery, the responses are smooth. The steering wheel makes almost four turns from stop to stop, but the turning radius does not exceed 5.6 m — with live handwork, the Sport nimbly maneuvers in yard areas.

On the highway, the car confidently keeps a straight line, without requiring taxiing, but slightly pecks its nose in time with the invisible eye irregularities, like a boat on the waves. The amplitude of these fluctuations, fortunately, does not grow. We have already noted that the Sport is well managed for a fan. The care of passengers and seats without developed lateral support stops from the swashbuckling passage of winding sections.

It is necessary to prepare for overtaking in advance, because there is not enough traction during acceleration on the move. A second before the rebuild, you reset the gear with the steering lobe and keep the pedal in the floor until the end of the maneuver. Diesel is gaining momentum slowly. I am not surprised that flashing of the electronic engine control unit is very common among Sports owners. However, for fans of a quiet ride, the motor will be enough: at speeds up to 120 km / h, overtaking does not seem painful. It’s just a little hard for me after the usual five-liter “eights”. So after all, the expense is completely different here!

Having moved onto a dirt road, abundantly covered with coarse gravel, I notice that our tires are pumped. For comfortable movement on the grader, it is already recommended to lower the pressure, and then the wheels also got hot on the highway. As a result, the rubber does not work, but the energy-intensive suspension compensates for this disadvantage. I have no complaints about it even in this mode, but at the stop I still baited the tires by eye — I did not find how to display the pressure monitoring system readings on the dashboard…

The Super Select 4WD-II transmission allows you to turn on all-wheel drive mode at speeds up to 100 km/h. It responds to the rotation of the washer-controller in motion in three to four seconds. When the front engages, each fuel supply is accompanied by a weak poke, as if the front gimbal has a small backlash. This feature of the transmission, according to the owners, is characteristic of Sports of all generations.

The road turns into concrete. I apologize in advance to my passengers and, at full speed, direct the Mitsubishi to the hard joint between the two types of coating. The suspension gently swallows a rough drop, in the cabin – no creaking, no impact. They say dorestyle was indecently goat-riding on a grader, but I don’t note criminal jumps. Although only the characteristics of the front shock absorbers have been redesigned. The radiator package is still not protected by a metal mesh, although a stone caught on the highway is able to pierce the intercooler and immobilize the car.

I notice a nice clearing with a slope of 30 degrees leading to the river. Here you can use the descent assistance system, but it is more interesting to use engine braking. On an elevated row, it is ineffective: Sport rolls too fast even in first gear. Lowering allows you to move academically without touching the brakes. I climb back sideways, trying to catch the diagonal hanging. I activate the rear lock — and the car climbs the hill without any problems. The five-minute offroad is over.

When we get to Tobolsk, we transfer to the bus for a sightseeing tour. So, we need to get things out of the trunk. The weather is sunny and dry, but even if it was raining, we would not have to endure a dirty shower: the new shape of the lining should now effectively drain water, and the door itself received an electric drive and a swing sensor – for the first time on the Pajero. As follows from the voice-over video, it didn’t work out for me with the opening of the door “from the foot”…

A day at the wheel left no trace of fatigue. I think you can easily drive a thousand kilometers in one sitting on Sports. The only thing that was missing in the heat was the ventilation of the seats. If you believe the trip computer, the consumption of diesel fuel for 500 km of a very vigorous run did not exceed 11 liters per hundred. Therefore, the 68-liter tank will allow you to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg on the M11 at one gas station. Let it not be very fast, so as not to be deafened by the wind, but bypassing queues at the gas station during the peak season.

The main difficulty with the updated Sport is that we have to get used to the fact that it is now the flagship of the Mitsubishi model line. The car, which has always been perceived as a “junior Pajero, for those who are not old enough”, has become the main one and is responsible for everyone. This is all the more difficult because the Sport was the result of a low-cost adaptation of a rustic pickup truck, and remained. Even in the top-end Ultimate configuration, the interior is rough. Let’s say I don’t care — the main thing is to wash easily. But the brand probably has loyal customers with requests.

All two days behind the wheel of the updated Sport, I was trying to figure out if I would miss the full-size Pajero. I will not. The size of the Sport and its direct competitor Fortune (2.8-3.7 million rubles according to the price list) better meets my needs in the non-premium segment. Moreover, Mitsubishi has not managed to instill in the old-timer the noble asphalt manners that you expect from a car with a load-bearing body and independent suspensions. And off-road, of course, I prefer a frame and a continuous bridge.

03 October 2021
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