CarToq learns that Mitsubishi will launch the Pajero Sport Automatic in the coming weeks and dealers have already begun taking pre-orders for the SUV. Unlike previously anticipated, the Pajero Sport Automatic will not be sold with a 4X4 option. Instead, Mitsubishi will take the rear wheel drive (4X2) option for the Pajero Sport Automatic, a move that will allow the Japanese automaker to price the SUV competitively.
The Pajero Sport Automatic 4X2 variant will cost about 1 lakh rupees lesser than the 4X4 manual gearbox equipped version of the SUV. Expect the Pajero Sport Automatic 4X2 to start at 22.49 lakh rupees, ex-showroom Delhi. The new variant of the SUV will use a 5 speed automatic gearbox to drive the rear wheels. However, the 2.5 liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel engine will remain unchanged, with power and torque outputs remaining pegged at 178 Bhp and 400 Nm.
Deliveries of the Pajero Sport Automatic will begin in the next few weeks. Mitsubishi has already begun assembling the Pajero Sport at the Hindustan Motors factory at Tiruvallur, off Chennai. Mitsubishi’s reluctance to offer a 4×4 system on the Pajero Sport Automatic has to do with costs. An automatic gearbox equipped Pajero Sport 4X4 will push the 25 lakh rupee ex-showroom mark, making the SUV unattractive to many potential buyers.
With the launch of the Pajero Sport 4X2 Automatic at a competitive price tag, Mitsubishi will be hoping to gain good volumes. The Pajero Sport SUV is the only vehicle that Mitsubishi sells in India. The Pajero Sport is known for its responsive engine and sorted ride and handling package, that puts is ahead of market leader, the Toyota Fortuner. However, the low number of dealerships and after sales centers continue to be a challenge that Pajero Sport owners, both current and prospective face.
Toyota already has a plan to counter the Pajero Sport 4X2 AT with a cut-price Fortuner variant. The Japanese automaker has also lined up a top-end 4X4 AT variant of the Fortuner to attract buyers who need both 4X4 and Automatic gearbox functions. The new variants of the Fortuner will launch in the coming weeks.