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Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2022 review: GLS 2WD - off-road test

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is one of the quiet-achieving top-sellers in the Australian 4WD market and now 2WD five- and seven-seater variants have been added to further expand the popular SUV wagon line-up.

With sub-$50,000 price-tags being touted, is a 2WD Pajero Sport worth your consideration? 

We had a seven-seater variant for a week to see how it stacks up against its 2WD rivals and its own 4WD stablemates.

Read on.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Our test vehicle – a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS 2WD seven-seater – has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $49,190 (before on-road costs).

But our wagon had a stack of accessories, which included alloy front protection bar ($3879), towbar kit ($1386), towball cover ($7), rear cargo liner ($205), and carpet mat set ($230). That total accessories cost of $5707 (price includes recommended dealer fitment cost) brings this vehicle’s as-tested price to $54,897.

There is a 2WD GLX spec, a five-seater, which is slightly cheaper than our test vehicle, with an MSRP of $44,440.

The standard features list on the GLS is generous and includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit (with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite navigation), dual-zone climate control air conditioning, a power tailgate, privacy glass, automatic rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlights and, of course, seven seats.

The standard features list on the GLS includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit (Image: Glen Sullivan). The standard features list on the GLS includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen multimedia unit (Image: Glen Sullivan).

I’ve mentioned the accessories above – and there are lot more of a variety of those available from Mitsubishi as well as from Australia’s bloody awesome aftermarket industry – so let’s get cracking with the yarn proper.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

The Pajero Sport is 4825mm long (with a 2800mm wheelbase), 1815mm wide and 1835mm high. It has an official kerb weight of 1980kg.

  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals (Image: Glen Sullivan).

I don’t mind the styling of the Pajero Sport. It doesn’t look as bulky as many of its rivals and it manages to have a rather contemporary, but comfortably middle of the road, presence.

If you’re that concerned about keeping up appearances, perhaps take a look at a Pajero Sport in the metal, drive it, imagine yourself living with it day to day, then make up your own mind whether you think it suits you or not.

Easy.

How practical is the space inside?

The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it. Sure, it’s a bit on the basic side of things – with cloth seats and rubber floor mats – and it certainly lacks the plethora of soft-touch surfaces some of its more expensive rivals may have, but this interior’s life-friendly sense is a bigger positive for it than any posh addition could be.

  • The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan). The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan). The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan). The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan). The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan). The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan). The interior has a practical and familiar feel about it (Image: Glen Sullivan).

The front seats are rather supportive, with a real snug feel to them, and are manually adjustable, which is fine with me.

The reach- and height-adjustable steering wheel has paddle shifters for when your driving takes on more of a sense of urgency. 

The dash and 8.0-inch touchscreen media unit has an integrated sense to it. And this cabin’s all-pervasive sense of familiarity continues here with all of the buttons and dials easy to spot on the fly and, more importantly, operate without fumbling around for them.

Driver and front passenger have access to media and aircon controls, among others, as well as cup-holders in between the front seats, a bottle holder in each of the doors, and small spots here and there for your wallet, keys etc.

The second row is suitably comfortable and I sat behind my driving position and there was plenty of head and leg room. It’d be much squeezier for those of us who stand at six-feet (182cm) or beyond.

Second-row passengers have access to a fold-down arm-rest with cup holders, air vents and there are USB charge points and a power socket in the rear of the centre-console. 

  • The front seats are rather supportive (Image: Glen Sullivan). The front seats are rather supportive (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The second row is suitably comfortable (Image: Glen Sullivan). The second row is suitably comfortable (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • Passengers in the third-row seat have access to cup-holders and air vents (Image: Glen Sullivan). Passengers in the third-row seat have access to cup-holders and air vents (Image: Glen Sullivan).

The seat-backs have map pockets and the doors each have a bottle holder.

The second row is equipped with three child-seat top-tether points, and two ISOFIX points. It is a 60:40 split-fold configuration.

Passengers in the third-row seat have access to cup-holders and air vents, but that’s little compensation because the space back here is on the wrong side of tight. 

The third row is a 50:50 split-fold configuration.

In terms of packability, the rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are being used as seating; 502 litres when two rows are in use; and 1488 when the second and third rows are stowed away. 

  • The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan). The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan). The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan). The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan). The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan). The rear cargo area’s volume is listed as 131 litres when all three rows are up (Image: Glen Sullivan).

Annoyingly, the third row is a real bugger to stow away and doesn’t fold flat into the floor. Maybe I’m missing a trick but this third-row strife was a source of more than a bit of frustration for the photographer and I – and we’re both experienced vehicle-based travellers.

The rear cargo area is equipped with power sockets and tie-down points. There is a shallow underfloor storage box back there as well.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Pajero Sport has a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, which produces 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm, and it has an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Pajero Sport has a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine (Image: Glen Sullivan). The Pajero Sport has a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine (Image: Glen Sullivan).

This 2WD variant does not have Mitsubishi’s impressive Super-Select II 4WD system, of which I’m a big fan, and that absence is a substantial negative against it, I reckon. But more about that very soon…

What's it like as a daily driver?

This is mostly a smooth driving wagon while tackling daily duties on the blacktop and with some highway stretches thrown into the mix. 

Steering has a nice weight to it and the Pajero Sport is a nimble, highly manoeuvrable SUV, with a turning circle of 11.2m, even if it does start to reveal more than a bit of body-roll through more aggressive driving. No surprise and no worries – this is an SUV after all, not a sports car. 

Also, worth noting is the fact that our test vehicle’s alloy bullbar made it heavier at the front end thus affecting its handling somewhat.

  • This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan). This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan). This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan). This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan). This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan). This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan). This Pajero Sport is very drivable and functional (Image: Glen Sullivan).

Throttle response is sharp and the 2WD Pajero Sport retains the line-up’s punchy turbo-diesel engine and teamed with the eight-speed auto it makes for a quietly effective, rarely stressed working partnership, rather than an energetic match-up.

The suspension set-up here – double wishbones with coil springs and stabiliser bar at the front, and three-link, coil springs and stabiliser bar at the rear – yields a very firm ride and one which can tend towards jarring if you’re traversing chopped-up back-country bitumen or really anything beyond bitumen that's in good nick.

The tyres – Toyo Open Country A32 (265/60R18) – are well-suited to bitumen, not so much to off-roading, which is perfectly reasonable for this 2WD vehicle. Also, this rubber is on the correct side of quiet.

As mentioned earlier, Mitsubishi’s Super-Select II 4WD system is missing from this variant, obviously, as this is a 2WD. And that’s a crying shame because even if you never venture off the road, Super-Select II is very handy. In Pajero Sports equipped with it, you can drive in 4H (4WD high range) even on bitumen or any high-traction surface because 4H in this vehicle means that – and I’m directly quoting Mitsubishi’s offical system explanation here – “all wheels are driven via the transfer case with an open centre differential, this means all four wheels will send power to the ground while still operating independently of one another”.

If you drove like that in most other 4WDs – at speed in 4H on bitumen or the like – you’d risk transmission wind-up, but there’s no danger of that in a 4WD Pajero Sport because its centre diff is open, not locked, when 4H is engaged.

This gives the driver increased traction and so better control and that means it’s a safer all-round driving experience for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, none of those benefits are available in this 2WD variant.

Having said all of that, this Pajero Sport is very drivable, functional and still manages to retain respectable, if not high, levels of refinement.

What's it like for touring?

As I’ve mentioned – ad nauseam, some might say – this is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all.

  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).
  • This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan). This is a two-wheel drive vehicle so we didn’t demand too much of it off-road, if at all (Image: Glen Sullivan).

We stuck to well-maintained dirt roads in dry weather, drove along a few rutted sections of washed-out bush track and traversed a short patch of coastal sand. That was it.

Unfortunately, the 2WD variant is minus what otherwise makes the Pajero Sport so appealing: the Super Select II 4WD system, of which I’m a fan. I’ve said enough about that absence already, so I’ll push on with the yarn.

Owners of 2WD vehicles may be guilty of forgetting that their vehicles are still capable of adventures or assuming that they're not but, in actual fact, those trips off the beaten track simply have to be considered excursions in order to better suit that vehicle’s 2WD capabilities.

The good news: the Pajero Sport is better set up for bumpy terrain than other more city-focussed 2WD SUVs. It has official ground clearance of 218mm, not too shabby, and a fording depth of 700mm – although our advice is to avoid driving through any water deeper than your ankle-height if you can.

We stuck to well-maintained dirt roads in dry weather (Image: Glen Sullivan). We stuck to well-maintained dirt roads in dry weather (Image: Glen Sullivan).

Approach, departure and ramp breakover angles are 30 degrees, 24.2 and 23.1 respectively, and the Pajero Sport can cope with mildly lumpy terrain.

My advice? Avoid anything beyond a well-maintained dirt track in dry weather and never follow your urge to drive on a track signposted as ‘4WD/ high ground clearance only', avoid driving through sand and absolutely do not attempt to drive up or down a set of massive rock steps. Anything more rigorous than a dirt track in good nick risks damage to the vehicle’s underbody, or mechanical damage or personal injury – or all of those things. Otherwise you’ll likely be the star of a YouTube ‘Off-road fail’ video before you know it. Consider yourself warned.

The Pajero Sport’s all-terrain tyres are better suited to driving on the blacktop.

We did a few emergency “Watch out for Skippy!” stops on bitumen and gravel and the Pajero Sport’s brakes – discs at the front and rear – hauled it to an abrupt controlled halt without fuss – not surprising for such a middleweight SUV.

If you plan on using this 2WD SUV as a load-hauler, pay attention: it has a maximum listed payload of 655kg (15kg less than the 4WD version) including a maximum roof load of 80kg. Its listed maximum towball load is 300kg (10kg less than the 4WD version), and its towing capacity is 750kg (unbraked) and 3000kg (braked; 100kg less than the 4WD version). It has a gross vehicle mass of 2710kg (65kg less than the 4WD version), and a gross combined mass of 5410kg (10kg more than the 4WD version). 

So, all in all, it’s only a little bit shy of its 4WD stablemate in overall terms of what it can carry and tow.

And if you’re looking for genuine or aftermarket gear with which to kit out your Pajero Sport, you are spoiled for choice as there is a huge range of accessories available including bullbars and nudge bars, snorkels, tow bar kits, cargo barriers and more.

How much fuel does it consume?

The 2WD Pajero Sport has an offical fuel consumption of 8.0L/100km on a combined cycle. 

On our test, which included a stint of dirt-road driving, we recorded fuel consumption from fill to fill of 9.2L/100km.

It has a 68-litre fuel tank so, with that sort of fuel-consumption figure, you can reasonably expect a driving range of approximately 690km from a full tank, but that’s factoring in a safe-distance buffer of 50km.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Pajero Sport has a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing in October, 2015.

Safety gear includes seven airbags (driver’s knee, driver and passenger front, driver and passenger front sides, and curtains) and this Pajero Sport’s suite of active safety and driver-assist tech includes AEB, adaptive cruise control, trailer stability assist, rear view camera and rear parking sensors, but it somehow misses out on blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Pajero Sport 2WD is eligible for Mitsubishi's so-called "10/10 Diamond Advantage" package, which includes a 10-year/200,000km warranty and 10 year/150,000km capped price servicing. But you need to ensure you get the vehicle serviced at an authorised Mitsubishi dealer to take advantage of the 10-year warranty plan.

Each capped price servicing extends free roadside assistance by another 12 months.

The servicing schedule and costs per service are: $399 (at 12months/15,000), $399 (24 months/30,000km), $499 (36 months/45,000km), $699 (48 months/60,000km), $499 (60 months/75,000km), $699 (72 months/90,000km), $499 (84 months/105,000km), $999 (96 months/120,000km), $599 (108 months/135,000km), and $699 (120 months/150,000km).

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLS 2WD seven-seater is a well-built and well-priced family-friendly wagon.

It's nice to drive, has a rather comfortable interior and – bonus – the vehicle on which it's based has proven credibility as a no-nonsense and highly functional touring vehicle.

But in 2WD guise it's missing something: namely Super Select II, which accounts for a considerable chunk of the 4WD Pajero Sport’s appeal – so the absence of that in this 2WD version is a significant negative, in my books.

The not-so-subtle point I’m trying to make? Sure, the 2WD Pajero Sport is a few grand cheaper than its 4WD stablemate and it's a solid value-for-money buy as is, but I reckon paying the extra cash to get your hands on a Pajero Sport that's equipped with Super-Select II is the better bet.

$49,190

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

3.6/5

Adventure score

3.6/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.