Driven: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed

In a world overrun by Fortuners and Everests, Mitsubishi gives us the Pajero Sport Exceed. A bloody good alternative.

What is it?
The clue is in its rivals, the Pajero Sport Exceed is the large SUV counterpart to the Triton double-cab, much like its contemporaries are re-bodied Hiluxes and Rangers. The Exceed is the flagship model of the facelifted Sport, but represents some great value too. We’ll get to that.

How does it look?
Great, sharp, like a Samurai helmet that can seat seven comfortably. There’s no shortage of style creases along the lengthy flanks, while each arch is suitably muscly. The design of the alloys is a bit too fussy for me, but I reckon they suit the general aesthetic so it’s a pass from me.

What about living with it?
Do you like features? This has features, plenty. This ties in to what I mentioned early about it representing good value here. I refer to rain-sensing wipers and a multi-function leather steering wheel (rake and reach), behind which you’ll encounter a digital instrument cluster. I’m not nearly done, there’s also auto headlamps, PDCs and rear-view camera and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and voice control functionality now. Oh and with the obligatory Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone-syncing options. You can add dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, powered windows, two USB ports at the rear in addition to several in front, plus a 220 AC 150 power socket to the already extensive standard features list. Being the flagship means I’m not done listing perks, there’s also an electronic tailgate, remote control connectivity, and a power tilt and sliding sunroof. And that’s that.

Jokes, I haven’t even started on safety. Now. Let’s do safety now, including seven airbags, active stability and traction control (ASTC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and an emergency brake assist system (BAS). Oh yes, and hill start assist. The end.

How does it go?
It goes well, and anywhere it bloody wants to thanks to Mitsubishi’s Super Select II four-by-four system. The entire range gets the same Mitsubishi 2.4-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, good for 133kW and 430Nm of torque. This has been paired with an eight-speed automatic ‘box. This rendition of the Super Select 4×4 system is controlled via a dial selector, giving you access to four driving modes Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand or Rock. The most exciting I managed to pound was a gravel network measuring 100km or so as well as 500km of pristine asphalt loaded to the hilt with my squad of five and can report a sure-footed, softly-sprung SUV that swaddles its occupants in comfort.

Should you buy one?
So look, R705k is a fair premium after all, but the sheer amount of kit onboard is rare. You’ll want for nothing in here, and then there’s the three-year/100 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan to sweeten the deal further. Is this enough to sway Everest and Fortuner customers? Probably not, they’re die-hard loyalists at the end of the day and the products crave are worthy of their praise. But truly, so is the Pajero Sport. Exceed? More like Excess.

Quick Stats: Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Exceed
Price: R704,995
Powertrain: 2.4l turbodiesel 4-cyl, 4wd, 133kW, 430Nm, 8-speed auto, 8.1l/100km fuel consumption

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