2018 has really kicked off with a certain amount of excitement! In the week of my birthday, I am treated to meeting up with the team from Mitsubishi Motors on the East Rand; Jaco Odendaal, sales manager at the dealership, is graciously presenting me with the opportunity to be the ambassador for the dynamic brand, as well as this unique, welcoming dealership.
With twelve years of experience in the motoring industry, Jaco states that the reason he is so dedicated to the Mitsubishi brand relates not only to the excellence of the products and services, but mostly because of the loyalty and dedication which the brand creates, inspires and maintains. Noting that he has had the privilege of getting to know the local community as repeat customers over the last few years, Jaco shares how his favourite part of representing the brand is seeing clients bringing their extended family to the dealership, due to their own great experiences with the vehicles, and his team.
Entering this dealership is somewhat akin to visiting an old friend; there is a marked sense of comradery and warmth that emanates from the staff at Mitsubishi East Rand – even as a first-time visitor – and I am made comfortable as I am introduced to the stunning Pajero Sport. As a 7-seater, the Pajero Sport is in a very competitive category with other leading brands, and most certainly has the looks to make a bold statement. With its impressive stature and vast size, the Pajero Sport has been brilliantly designed to look sleek and elegant, whilst having an edgy and sporty front, and a modern funky rear (thanks to awesome tail-light design which I particularly like).
Available in two derivatives, the Pajero Sport comes standard as a 2.4 litre diesel with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, either as a 4×2 variant, or the more adventurous 4×4 version. I am being given the chance to drive the 4×2 derivative, and I am immediately impressed by the depth of luxury the cabin presents. With a classy, full-leather interior, the Pajero Sport is every inch a luxury SUV, with a roomy and comfortable cockpit and middle-row. There is clearly ample space for a big family, as Jaco testifies; his wife and kids (a set of twins and a teenager) also love the comfort of the spacious Pajero Sport, and it proves to be an excellent vehicle for loading school bags and the like in the back. With the third row of seats set up, the boot is obviously much smaller, but the pay-off of having an extra row of seats is expected in a seven-seater.
In terms of infotainment and features, the Pajero Sport has it all – a crystal-clear touchscreen, audio/radio combo and reverse camera are standard in all variants. Although SAT NAV must be selected as an added extra, all the bells and whistles expected in an SUV are present. The infotainment is user-friendly and presents as a stable, consistent system to use. I enjoy the feel of sitting in the driver’s seat, which I must note is really comfortable, as well as the deep, throaty rumble of the engine as it starts.
The 2.4 litre engine produces an incredible 133 kW of power and 430 Nm of torque, whilst the cabin is effectively dampened and road noise is minimal. The Pajero impresses with its ability to provide instant power when you press the accelerator; the 8-speed gearbox does a great job of keeping within torque range, and as a result, the Pajero responds instantly when you want it to. Mitsubishi claims that fuel consumption for the Pajero Sport is around 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres, although both Jaco and I have noted it at closer to 8.5 in traffic-laden driving conditions, with more efficient rates expected on the long road.
Slightly apprehensive as to the sheer bulk of the vehicle and it’s 8-speed gearbox (a first for me), I am left in awe of the easy, light touch with which this massive vehicle manoeuvres. Gear shifts are seamless and silky, and the drive feels refined. With a relatively small turning circle for such a large vehicle, the Pajero Sport gives off the impression that it is actually a sedan with muscles, and it’s a smooth, luxurious drive that I sincerely enjoy.
With a starting price of R569 995 for the 4×2 variant, and R599 995 for the 4×4, the Pajero Sport is competitively priced and released with really great features as standard. Mitsubishi Motors East Rand provides incredible follow up customer service in relation to each purchase, and with the focus at the dealership solely allocated to one brand (as this dealership is the only stand-alone dealership in South Africa) it is easy to see how the dealerships reputation for attention to detail and individual client care has been earned.
Dealer Principle Kobus Jacobs upholds the philosophy of loyal, reliable service and quality care for his clients; with more than 2 decades of experience in the industry across various brands, Kobus maintains an atmosphere of warmth in the dealership. The team at Mitsubishi Motors East Rand are family focussed, and as Jaco reminds me, seek to make each client feel part of the Mitsubishi family; clients have been noted to pop in for visits or hang around for a cup of coffee with the team, whilst their vehicles are being serviced.
In looking forward to the rest of 2018, Mitsubishi East Rand are excited about the launch of the new crossover, the Eclipse, towards the middle of the year. For me, an in-depth long-haul review of the Outlander is also on the cards in the near future, and as a result, I am left with a sense of excitement and anticipation for the year ahead, and together with the incredible team at Mitsubishi East Rand, foresee great things on the horizon.
By Desh Bechan