Mitsubishi might be having a rough time in America, but in Asia, it’s pushing out a new generation of its popular Pajero Sport series.
Some of you may also come to know the 7-seater SUV as the Challenger, Montero Sport, Nativa and Pajero Dakar in other markets.
A rival to the pickup-based Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Isuzu MU-X and Toyota Fortuner SUVs, the 2016 Pajero Sport owes its underpinnings to the latest iteration of the L200 / Triton pickup truck.
You can tell that it’s related to the L200, but not in a bad way, as Mitsubishi gifted the rugged Pajero Sport with unique styling cues, including more contemporary front and rear end designs.
Inside, the dashboard layout is identical to the L200 with added touches in the way of trimmings, equipment, materials, steering wheel, and a different lower center console with a more upscale looking automatic gear lever.
The Pajero Sport rides on a 2,800mm wheelbase retaining the same width of 1,815mm as its predecessor, but it’s 90mm longer at 4,785mm and 35mm shorter in height at 1,805mm for the AWD model. Mitsubishi says that ground clearance has increased by 13mm to 218mm.
While we expected the Pajero Sport to share the L200’s new 2.4-liter MIVEC turbo diesel engine, which in Thailand, is rated at 181PS (178hp) and 430Nm (317lb-ft) of torque (the L200 also get a 154PS / 152hp version of the same unit), Mitsubishi surprised us by offering a brand-new 8-speed automatic instead of the truck’s 5-speed unit.
The Japanese firm says that the new powertrain returns a 17-percent improvement in fuel economy over its predecessor, while also achieving CO2 emissions of under 200g/km.
Further details about the Pajero Sport, including specs and availability in markets outside Thailand should be released in the coming weeks.
Live pics via MZ Crazy Cars, Mitsubishi