2018 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS (4x4) 7 SEAT owner review

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Chris
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PROS
  • Great off-road
  • Best value mixed-use 4WD
  • Narrow width makes it easy to park
CONS
  • Great specs, ordinary execution
  • Highway consumption and short range
  • No charm

About the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

Chris purchased this Mitsubishi Pajero Sport new for $44,500 (including all on-road costs). Chris wouldn’t buy this car again because: “Perfectly competent car, just not for me.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

We had the Pajero Sport for close to 3 years and 40,000kms before selling it. In that time, the car has had nothing but scheduled servicing, and has been flawless mechanically.

There are minor build quality issues, the glove box doesn’t quite fit properly from the factory, and reverse camera will go into a black screen sometimes, but no major complaints.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

We only had to see the dealer once a year for the capped-price service, and fortunately, the dealer we bought this from were upfront with all costs, servicing schedules etc.

Definitely a case of no news is good news here. The best part about having one is that statistically, you’re less likely than everyone else who don’t have one to see that hideous crying clown face rear end on the road.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

Good! Went in at 9:30, deposit down by 9:45, picked up the car in about 20 minutes, so compared to other dealership experiences where we had to do the negotiating dance for 2 hours, sit with someone for an hour after that, and block out half the day to do the pick up ‘ceremony’, it was fantastic.

In terms of aftersales, there were no phone calls to rate the ownership experience, no gift bags to celebrate your ownership and nothing fancy to stroke the ego, which was just fine by us.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

Definitely. For less than $45k brand new, this seven-seat 4WD had absolutely everything we needed and some things we wanted.

Safety suite is not quite up to the lofty standards of 2021, but there was adaptive cruise, a plethora of airbags, rear view camera and parking sensors.

Headlights are quite good for country driving, air-con gets very cold even on the hottest summer days and the Super Select system plus rear diff lock meant the car’s off-road capabilities well exceeded my own.

The second and third rows in this car are actually quite comfortable and spacious, as long as you don’t put someone in the middle seat. There’s plenty of storage and charge points, and the seats recline back a long way, along with separate fan controls, cup holders and air con vents to keep everyone happy.

For our purposes, we only made one modification to the car, a metal bash plate to replace the stock one, just in case!

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

In terms of around-town performance, the car performs quite well. There’s plenty of go from a standing start, and around town economy is great for a two tonne 4×4. The eight-speed auto is good for puttering around town, and the paddle shifters feel fantastic.

When you’re off road, the engine and gearbox combo works great. Low range is nice and low, throttle control works well, as do the off-road modes. On sand, the car is nice and agile, highly controllable and we’ve never managed to get it stuck.

That’s the good part, now for the bad:

The gearing is weird, eighth is too short for highways, and the car’s economy worsens drastically going from 100km/h to 110km/h (7.5 avg to 8.5 avg). The engine quickly runs out of pull in the mid-range where a diesel should be the strongest, leaving you to either drive leisurely and use the low-down torque or rev out the engine and hurt the economy.

The 68L fuel tank proved quite annoying on a long journey, particularly with a few beaches or off road trails, which reduced the realistic range to less than 500kms.

On the highway, you’ll quickly notice the limitations of 133kW and 430Nm. Overtaking road trains requires plenty of foresight and more than a little bravery.

In stock form, the Pajero Sport could use another inch or two of ground clearance to avoid scraping its belly on soft sand.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

Imagine yourself buying a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house, only to find none of the bedrooms is big enough to fit a king size bed and one of the bathrooms is an outhouse. The Pajero Sport comes with a lot of goodies, Android Auto/CarPlay, adaptive cruise, but there’s something missing in the execution.

CarPlay and AA works well, but takes a long time to load compared to other cars. The 7.0-inch screen looks okay, but is laggy and doesn’t get bright enough in sunlight. Adaptive cruise is like an on-off switch, and if a gap opens up, will kick down and make a lot of noise to get you up to speed, rather than taking its time and keeping its poise.

The Pajero Sport range could really do with the Rockford system and sunroof that came in the top-spec Pajeros.

If all that sounds a little negative, it needs to be balanced out with the price tag.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

On road first. The ride comfort is fine. While I’d never call it plush, and you definitely feel the bumps and undulations, it’s not uncomfortably harsh.

Hitting larger speed bumps or potholes will send a shockwave through the cabin, but the rebound is well controlled and road noise isolation quite good. I tend to over inflate the tyres as well to get the handling benefits.

Talking about handling benefits, the Pajero Sport handles competently. At default tyre pressures, the car tends to lean on the outside front, but that balances out a bit at 40psi and with 4WD enabled. I hope you’ll never take the Pajero Spot onto a race track, but it handles safely and competently no matter the surface or weather condition. What it’s missing though, is steering feel.

Mitsubishis have some of the worst steering feel of any brand, all of them way over-boosted, devoid of any feel, is way too slow and allow for a lot of play off centre. With that in mind, it’s actually much better than the Mirage, ASX or Outlander, although still not as good as a Logitech G920.

Off road, it’s great. If you treat off-roading as a way to get to the destination, rather than the destination, the Pajero Sport will get you anywhere you need. On the beach, the car is nimble and agile compared to the LandCruisers and Patrols, yet the lighter weight and good 4WD system will keep the car moving.

The narrow width, hill-descent control and good approach angles help too. The stock tyres are pretty good on sand, although stay away from any wet tracks.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

Overall, the Pajero Sport is a great car for a family who wants to drive around town on weekdays and go to the beach on the weekend.

There’s a lot of off-roading potential for those who want to mod it, and it’s competent enough as a daily without feeling like a punishment. For the price, especially back in the good old pre-Covid tax days, it is great.

Where it falls short for me is one the overall execution, the car feels like it was designed by accountants, not engineers, and long spec sheets hide some of the little things that will bother you from day to day (the rear view mirror doesn’t magnify enough so half your view is the D pillars, for example).

Worse for me was this car felt devoid of character. It doesn’t make you happy driving it, it doesn’t connect with you in any way, it doesn’t frustrate or anger you, it’s just…there.

So after three years, we sold the Pajero Sport for a car that, while a downgrade in a lot of ways, at least has character, and feels like the accountants reviewed the car, not designed it.

A Mitsubishi Pajero.

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Ratings
Overall8.1
Show Breakdown
Technology 6.5
Reliability 9.5
Ride & Handling 7.5
Price & Features 9.5
Purchase & Aftercare 9
Performance & Economy 5.5
Ownership Experience 9
Top Line Specs
8L
133kW
212g
5 ★
View all specifications