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Land Rover
Test Drives
30 Aug 11 14:15
New Mitsubishi Pajero Sport - 2.5 Turbo Diesel Power
John K. Lindgren
Land Rover ... the classic name in cars for the extraordinary driver...

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THE HISTORY of Mitsubishi goes back to 1870, when the founder, Yataro Iwasaki, started a shipping company with three steamships. The company expanded rapidly and in 1914 the Mitsubishi iconic three-diamond trademark was registered.

In 1934, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding merged with the Mitsubishi Aircraft Company. The new company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), became the largest private company in Japan building aircraft, ships and railroad cars. In 1937 MHI launched the PX33 the first Japanese-built passenger vehicle with full-time, four-wheel drive.

70 years later Mitsubishi is a global automobile giant rolling out solid four-door family saloons, iconic, red storming World Rally Championship winners and tough 4WD Dakar Rally record-breakers. Plus spacious family week-end SUV's.

FLASH FORWARD to Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. Entirely built in Thailand. The first impression is size: The new Pajero Sport stands tall. Measuring 4.7 meter in length and with a curb weight of 2,600 kg. This a large vehicle. Inside and outside. From the roof rails, the side steps down to the front & rear mudguards. With plenty of chrome; the big front grille, the lap-top size wing mirrors and the chunky door handles. Including the cool, heavy duty 17-inch alloy wheels with bulging wheel arches. And those big clear headlights in the front and the high mounted tail-lights in the rear.

Out tester a metallic the silver color 2,5 liter turbo charged, the top of the line version. With a full tank of diesel ready for to hit the road. Climb inside, fire up the engine. First there's a bit of the familiar diesel clatter when stationary. As I put the chunky, leather knob shifter into D (drive) the diesel vibration noise is gone and torque power takes over. And there is plenty of it.

The cockpit comes with a high, commanding vista and a luxurious three spoke leather multi-function steering wheel to grip. The cabin is cavernous with seven seats, three rows.

Our top of the line model comes with leather upholstery, electric front seats, rear seat air vents plus all the usual bells and whistles; Alpine premium AM/FM/CD radio including remote control, for the passengers.

And safety, too; a sturdy design with “Rise” (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body with extra-strong body construction, a safety brake pedal release, ABS(Anti lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) and Dual SRS front and side airbags. For driving comfort, SUV front suspension uses a double-wishbone with coil springs independent and stabilizer bars, and three link rear suspension coil spring with stabilizer.

On the road. The 2.500 cc turbo motor with 178 horse power. Perfect for the long haul on up country highways and by ways. Inside enough space for five adults and three children including dogs. Top speed during our test drive 180 km – steady like a steam engine on rails.

On the high way to Rayong by the Gulf of Siam. Cruising at 120 kph is smooth. Easy overtaking with lots of power on tap. Commanding view with those massive rear mirrors. The Pajero Sport is maybe not for the everyday suburbia-Silom shuttle - but for the weekend escape or the Bangkok-Chiang Mai long haul – perfect.

For driving comfort, SUV front suspension uses a double-wishbone with coil springs independent and stabilizer bars, and three link rear suspension coil spring with stabilizer.

Verdict:Pajero Sport is a truck based SUV sharing the platform on Mitsubishi Triton pickup truck, but also an off-roader, with high ground clearance. Propelled by a powerful engine, seven seats, acres of space and damn good ride. And a solid drive.

Mitsubishi has come a long way since it's maritime beginnings 140 years ago. The Pajero Sport is your perfect companion. Trust me.

Retail price: 1,1449 THB

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