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Future models - Mitsubishi - Pajero Sport - 7-Seat

Seven-seat Mitsubishi Pajero Sport edges closer

Are we there yet: Mitsubishi launched the off-road-ready Pajero Sport large SUV in Australia without a third row of seats, but that is about to change.

Announcement imminent as Mitsubishi gains go-ahead for seven-seat Pajero Sport in Oz

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Mitsubishi logo27 May 2016

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MITSUBISHI will soon rectify the omission of a seven-seat option from its Pajero Sport large SUV, having received government approval to import the three-row version sold in other markets.

Launch timing for the more family-friendly version of the critically acclaimed off-roader is unclear, but Mitsubishi Motors Australia head of corporate communications Shayna Welsh told GoAuto the seven-seater is “not far away” and that the company “hopes to make an announcement soon”.

The Pajero Sport appears to stow its third seating row flush with the boot floor – a neater and arguably more convenient format that maximises luggage space compared to some other ute-derived SUVs.

The Toyota Fortuner, for example, employs an old-school design that has the rearmost seats lift up and clip to the roof.

To achieve the flush-folding seats, overseas images suggest Mitsubishi has had to raise the seven-seater’s boot floor compared with the five-seat version, but in doing so has created an additional false-floor-type storage area to make up for the slight reduction in cargo capacity.

The two rearmost seats can fold independently, individually recline and have their own air-conditioning controls, vents and lighting – the latter potentially useful due to the Pajero Sport’s upswept rear side windows that threaten to make the rear quarters dark and a little claustrophobic.

Government documents viewed by GoAuto do not provide any clues as to which variants will receive the seven-seat option, but it is understood that approval has been gained for all three trim levels: GLX, GLS and top-spec Exceed.

Data shows the seven-seater carries a 44kg weight increase over the two-row version.

Information from Mitsubishi websites in Asian markets reveals that the seven-seat Pajero Sport is available with side curtain airbags extending to all three rows, although it appears that in some countries they are only fitted with curtains for the front two.

Australia’s higher safety expectations would suggest that Mitsubishi has been waiting for the three-row option to become available for this market.

In addition to positive media reviews for its blend of interior comfort, off-road ability and value-for-money positioning, the Pajero Sport has captured 3.9 per cent of Australia’s large SUV segment to the end of April this year, with 1445 units sold.

The Mitsubishi is outselling Toyota’s Fortuner (1394), the Ford Everest (1234) and the Holden Colorado 7 (968).

Of the ute-based SUVs, only the Isuzu MU-X outsells the Pajero Sport, commanding a 6.0 per cent share with 2251 declared sold so far this year.

The addition of a seven-seat option to the Pajero Sport range is all but certain to boost sales further.

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