Do you remember the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport K80? If you’re not passionate about off-roading, you probably don’t. But if you are passionate or want to get into this really expensive but fun hard drug, you know we’re talking about a legendary vehicle here.
The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport K80, also known as Montero Sport or Shogun Sport wasn’t the sport edition of the Pajero; it was quite far from that concept actually. It was more of a Pajero Lite because it wasn’t necessarily built for off-roading and it also had some on-road abilities and, in general came with amenities for people, like heated leather seats, wood trim on the dashboard and the sorts of bells and whistles. Moreover, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport started with rear leaf spring suspension but then switched to conventional coilovers, proving once again that it’s not an off-road beast like Henry Cavill is in bed or Berlusconi is at having children. It’s somewhere in the middle between tarmac and rough terrain. Mercedes ML’s japanese cousin.
Is it worth buying one? It depends on what you’re looking for. You can easily find asphalt queens which have never seen mud in their lives, or you can find overlanding models specifically prepared for off-roading.
Why buy a Pajero Sport instead of a Pajero, which is much more capable, bigger, and more everything? The answer lies in one thing – the 2.5 TD diesel engine. Yes, the Pajero Sport comes with a 2.5 diesel that’s more liveable with when it comes to taxes and fees. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to buy a Pajero Sport when you have the option of a Pajero. Because the Pajero has a 2.8 diesel, which is okay, but all the fun starts with the 3.2 diesel, which means an entire new realm of taxes, different running costs and different levels of excitement. Plus, the regular Pajero is just as good on asphalt as Amy Schumber is a master of comedy, but with the Pajero Sport you at least have a chance.
The second reason to buy a Pajero Sport is the abundance of used cars and parts at breakers. In England it was sold as the Shogun Sport and sold better than Blestyashie records. And they still survive, no matter how rusty they might be because here we have an old-fashioned SUV built to withstand torture like it paid for it.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport K80 Engines
- 2.4 V6 4G24 of 155 horsepower – The entry level engine for the entry level Pajero. It was mainly available in USA and Canada from 1997 to 1999 but they quickly found out that there is no replacement for displacement and that the engine is way too underpowered for the Pajero and the oil consumption didn’t help much either.
- 3.0 V6 6G72 of 177 horsepower – Standard issue pretty much everywhere it was sold except for Europe where it is quite rare because the 2.5 diesel dominated. But at least it’s the only petrol option available in Europe, and for that, it developed valve and oil seal issues. Oh yes, it’s also the only one with an available automatic gearbox, which heats up under strain and becomes incontinent when it has to work, just like me. Oh yes, it also has a high appetite for lambda sensors.
- 3.5 V6 6G74 of 186 horsepower – This ” world’s first” engine was an GDI engine which means direct injection, sensitive injectors, needs quality fuel, frequent oil changes, a sacrifice to our Lord Margoloth, occasional oil pumps, a fistful of dollars and crankshaft liners. Alternatively you can just buy the 6G72 3.0 version.
- 2.5 TD 4D56 of 99, 115, and 133 horsepower – The only weak point of this engine is the turbo, but the car moves just as well with or without the turbo. A truly indestructible engine, no matter how much abuse it takes. And it has plenty of time to take abuse, considering it goes from 0 to 100 km/h in over 18 seconds. So it technically doesn’t drive nor run. It just moves. But if you take into consideration that it’s birth date is somewhere in 1972, it ain’t too bad.
- 2.8 TD 4M40 of 165 horsepower – This engine is notorious for it’s cooling issues followed by cracked cylinder heads and faulty glow plugs. Post 2003 engines have the dreaded Zexel injector pump which fails hard and expensive. So I wouldn’t gamble on a 4M40 and would go for a proper engine.
- 3.2 TD 4M41 of 177 horsepower – Like the 4M41 that followed. Apart from the injector pump and timing chain that will fail, this engine will keep on rolling baby. You know what time it is.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport K80 Common Issues
- The brakes aren’t the most cooperative and can lock up, but at least you have size on your side, so you’re safe. The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport K80 is the kind of SUV that’s very bad at avoiding accidents but is very good dealing with them when they happen.
- Excessive alcohol consumption is a serious hazard to your boredom. And in the case of the Pajero Sport, you need to replace alcohol with diesel/petrol. Although why would you replace alcohol? Alcohol is life, and life is alcohol, from dawn till dusk, we live in danger. Seriously though, the fuel economy is nothing to write home about.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport K80 Verdict
It’s a tank on wheels that keeps on going. It chuggs down fuel like a tank, steers like a tank, goes through places where you’d expect to see only tanks. It’s big, ugly, square, and inefficient. It rolls over in the beds as if it were a Matiz. And for all these reasons, it’s a legendary car. If it were whiskey, it would be an Lagavulin.
Which engines do I recommend? For petrol power the 3.0 V6 and it’s 177 horsepower was the main choice everywhere in Europe, where the pedestrian 2.5 TD with 115 horsepower was king.