Can the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport challenge the mighty Toyota Fortuner?

Toyota Fortuner is the undisputed leader in the entry-level premium SUVs in India selling at almost triple times of its nearest competition, the Ford Endeavour.

Can the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport challenge the mighty Toyota Fortuner?

Mitsubishi is known for the off-road capability of its SUVs. Now the Pajero SFX has got a credible successor in the form of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. The Pajero Sport not only looks more contemporary but seems to have enough grunt to pose a strong threat to the market leader; Toyota Fortuner. The Pajero Sport was initially launched with a price tag of Rs. 24.53 lakh, but has now reduced the price by a whopping Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 22.50 lakh (in October 2012), bringing it directly in contention with the Toyota Fortuner.

Here, we compare the Pajero Sport with the Toyota Fortuner in terms of looks, space and comfort, features and performance to see which SUV is more ‘value for money’.

Pajero will be better off-road

The face-lifted Fortuner is powered by the proven 3-litre D-4D diesel engine that makes 170 bhp of power and 343 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission depending on the variant. Also see: New Toyota Fortuner road test

On the other hand, the Pajero Sport is powered by a 2.5-litre, common-rail diesel motor that puts out 178 bhp of power and 400 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and Super Select 4WD system to handle off-road activities.

Can the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport challenge the mighty Toyota Fortuner?

While the Pajero Sport has slightly more power and torque than the Fortuner, the power-to-weight ratio is almost similar (82 bhp/ton), the torque-to-weight ratio is higher in the Pajero Sport (193.7 Nm/ton) as against the Fortuner (175.4 Nm/ton). The higher torque-to-weight ratio together with Mitsubishi’s renowned Super Select 4WD system will help the Pajero Sport perform better off-road than the Fortuner. Also see: Fortuner video review

Handling wise, the Fortuner has a bit of body roll but with its sturdy suspension, it takes on bad roads and uneven surfaces with ease. Both the SUVs come with ABS and EBD that help in keeping them under control when driven enthusiastically.

With similar power and torque specifications, we feel that the Pajero Sport is more competent than the Fortuner.

Fortuner has more space

The Pajero Sport and Fortuner have similar dimensions though the Fortuner longer by 10 mm and wider by 25 mm than the Pajero Sport. Both the SUVs come with three rows with 2+3+2 seating arrangement and offer commendable space in the front and the middle row. However, at the rear, the Fortuner offers slightly more space in terms of headroom and legroom than the Mitsubishi’s SUV. Research Mitsubishi Pajero

Overall, expect both the SUVs to offer good space and comfort for both city and highway journeys. The Fortuner may have a slight edge when it comes to third row space.

Fortuner looks more aggressive

Can the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport challenge the mighty Toyota Fortuner?

Toyota Fortuner comes with an aggressive front nose and thick horizontal chrome slats on the grille. The bonnet gets a large air scoop at the centre. The front bumper has also been revamped to give the SUV a muscular look. At the rear, the tail lamp cluster gets clear lens treatment. Toyota may also improve the interiors of the upcoming Fortuner.

Mitsubishi Pajero has bold looks with radically designed radiator grille and the front bumper with sporty honey comb grille. The butch look continues on the side profile with well pronounced fenders and large 17-inch wheels. The rear has tail lamp cluster that protrudes into the tail gates. The rear bumper houses a fog lamp on the left side and a red reflector on the right. Also read: Pajero Sport launched

Both are great looking SUVs with bold road stance, but the Fortuner has a bit of premium feel and hence looks better than the Pajero Sport.

Fortuner has more features

The Pajero Sport is offered only in a single variant: 4×4 manual variant. The Toyota Fortuner is offered in 4×2 manual, 4×2 automatic and 4×4 manual variant. Here, we compare the features of the 4×4 manual variant of the Fortuner with the Pajero Sport 4×4.

You may also want to read this story: Most expensive SUVs in India

With regard to comfort, both the SUVs offer auto AC with individual AC vents for second and third rows, leather upholstery with soft touch plastics, power seats for driver, steering mounted audio controls and multi-information display. The Fortuner comes with more features such as rear camera, 2 DIN Display Audio with LCD touch screen, DVD and Bluetooth, which are not available in the Pajero Sport.

In terms of safety features, Fortuner has Vehicle Stability Control feature, not offered in the Pajero Sport Both the SUVs have front dual airbags, ABS with EBD, seatbelts for all three row occupants.

Summing up, the Fortuner has an edge in terms of features when compared with the Pajero Sport. Also see: Most comfortable SUVs in India

Fortuner has better value

The Fortuner is priced between Rs. 21.15 lakh and Rs.22.32 lakh. The top-end variant, 4×4 manual variant of Fortuner (Rs. 22.32 lakh) is only marginally cheaper than the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport priced at Rs. 22.50 lakh.

Mileage wise, the Pajero Sport with ARAI-certified mileage of 12.8 kmpl is close to the 12.55 kmpl of Toyota Fortuner and hence, there is no winner here.

The Fortuner however has more features and slightly more space than the Pajero Sport making it a better ‘value for money’ than the Pajero Sport. Also check out this story 5 new SUVs for 2013!

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What we think

The Pajero Sport has bold looks, is spacious, comfortable and will likely be an impressive off-road performer. However, the Fortuner packs in slightly more features. Besides, the Fortuner is backed up by a reliable and wide service network and being a Toyota, comes with low maintenance costs. Though off-road enthusiasts may love the Pajero Sport, it is the Fortuner that will likely continue to rule the premium SUV segment.