Big sells in India and the new Pajero Sport aims to cash in on this : infact, the segment leader, the Fortuner, has proved time and again that Indians are in love with anything that is huge too look at. The new Pajero Sport, though not ground breaking in its design, does look massive. At Rs 23.53 lakh (ex-Delhi), it also seems to command a premium price over its rivals.
The old Pajero was a great stand alone SUV but pit it against the modern day rivals, and it suddenly looked outdated and expensive. The Pajero Sport has finally come, but has it come 2-3 years too late? Remember, this is the same model that was launched in the international market in 2008 : thats 4 years back!
At 4695mm long, 1815mm wide and 1840mm high, the Pajero Sports fits in between the Fortuner and Endeavour as far as size does! The Endeavour is longer while the Fortuner is wider and higher. On the wheelbase front also, the Endeavour beats the Pajero by 60mm. However, the design lines on the Pajero Sport are good and give it a brawny and aggresive front end. The projector headlamps along with the chrome grille and huge logo dominate the front end. The side profile of the Pajero Sport is also like a typical SUV - muscular, and you also notice the high stance aided by the ground clearance. The rear three quarter angle is one of the best to see the Pajero in - slim tail lamps, minimal chrome and running roof rails! However, this is a design that is 3-4 years old and not really the best in the segment now
This is a massive change over as compared to the older Pajero - this one pampers you no ends. Leather treatment is great : seats, steering and the gear knob. There are wooden inserts inside and the red illumination for the switches and console looks terrific at night. The Pajero Sport comes loaded with features (there is only one trim level to choose from) which include multi-information display, ABS with EBD, steering controls, rear parking sensors etc.
Mitsubishi went the right way in bringing the 2.5-litre motor to India in the 178PS format. This also generates 400Nm of torque and should be a hoot to drive in all driving conditions. It gets variable geometry turbo-charger as well intercool for the same. There is no automatic option for India and the engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. It however gets Mitsubishi's famed Super Select 4WD system. You can shift to 4x4 on the fly at speeds of upto 100km/h and shift between modes including 4HLc and 4LLc (locked central differentials)
Pricing has always been very crucial for the Indian market and this is where the Pajero Sport will have a tough time justifying its premium tag over the rivals. The Endeavour range starts from only Rs 17.32 lakh while the Fortuner range starts from Rs 19.99 lakh. This means the Pajero Sport demands Rs 3.5 to 6.2 lakh more over its main rivals. Agreed that the Pajero Sport has a lot more goodies and a more powerful engine here, but coming out with just a single trim (version) level might not go down well with those who are looking for a value based SUV!