Mitsubishi Pajero VRX Diesel: Superb All Rounder
  |  First Published: November 2011

With a basic yet sophisticated design that has been around for almost a decade, few 4WD vehicles are as easily recognizable as the Mitsubishi Pajero.

There have been changes to the current style of the Pajero, however they haven’t been radical ones. You don’t have to look for a badge to recognise it’s a Pajero, which has been the case with some other contemporaries. Why change a good thing?

Interior trim upgrades and some tweaking of external features have been noted over the years but possibly the most important upgrade has been under the bonnet.

Under the hood

While the 3.8L six cylinder petrol engine remains unchanged, the 3.2L intercooled turbo diesel underwent a change a while back to offer an 18% overall performance boost, and a claimed reduction in fuel consumption.

With figures of 147kW of power and 441Nm of torque, it’s easy to picture the Pajero’s four cylinder direct injection engine powering the solid 2.3t seven seater wagon off the mark very briskly, making easy work of towing boat trailers or campers.

Unlike some of the second generation diesel engines in late model passenger vehicles, which these days offer unprecedented levels of quietness in operation, the Pajero’s oil burner tends to clatter somewhat at idle and even into the upper rev range. This gives a strange impression that it’s working hard when it isn’t really; the tachometer will quickly indicate. In fact a cruise speed of 100km/h will see a bit less than 2000rpm on the tacho.

The diesel engine is quite reasonable on fuel; a mix of city and country driving returned consumption figures of 11.8L/100km, which isn’t bad given it’s fuel tank size of around 90L.

On and off the road

Offroad work is a strong point of the Pajero. Attributes are especially noticeable during a run up the beach, where the vehicle’s wide stance, fat tyres and very aggressive power to weight ratio make it a formidable performer. Bush tracks and cross country work are also a piece of cake for the Pajero, which has earned a great reputation since virtually day one of their release in this country.

Topping these features is a robust high or low range 4WD capability, excellent all round ground clearance of around 225mm, decent under body protection and ample wheel articulation. Fording depth is around 700mm as well so wet feet won’t worry the car at all.

The Pajero, in particular the VRX model reviewed, is the sort of vehicle that offers as much comfort on the road as off thanks to independent coil spring suspension and a car like monocoque frame. Levels of overall comfort has seen it billed as a 4WD with car like handling and ride.

Most drivers seldom take their four wheel drives off the bitumen yet the Pajero’s performance and capability are there when needed.

Five speed auto VRX

The VRX model boasts a five speed auto shifter, making life easy for the driver. It does offer sequential shifts should one snick the gear selector to the side to change up or gears manually, but why bother? The five speed auto unit quickly adapts to the driver’s particular driving style and I saw no need to fight against the transmission during a recent test drive where nimbleness, easy relaxed driving and a superb ride reminded me of those things that made the big Mitsubishi popular years back.

interior Features

Passenger comfort is paramount within these vehicles. There’s fully electric adjustable leather trimmed seats for passenger and driver. Seats are comfortable and high, offering all a great view while under way. There’s ample head room for all so folk that like to drive with a hat on will certainly love the Pajero.

Air conditioning is climate controlled with a couple of outlets and controls for rear seat passengers.

Virtually every major function has an electric control, with stereo, blue tooth and cruise control items linked to the steering wheel where familiarity soon lends itself to easy use.

Of particular use to the driver and front passenger is the Mitsubishi Multi Media Communication system that provides an ongoing appraisal of things like current fuel consumption, remaining available travel range, height above sea level and a host of other items. Below is a large Sat/Nav screen, which also doubles as a very clear reversing camera.

Rear seat passengers enjoy ample leg room, their own air conditioning controls and a grand view of their surrounds.

The seven seater Pajero also offers ample rear luggage space. A whopping 1050L of storage is available so long as the rearmost seats are left under the floor. If these quick set up seats are required for a couple of children, space is naturally considerably reduced.

For boat or camper owners the rated towing capacity is 3000kg braked and 750kg unbraked, which is pretty useful in anyone’s books.

Today’s motor car market is highly competitive so Mitsubishi back their Pajero with some of the best warranties available. Standard is a 10yr/160,000km power train warranty and a 5yr/130000km new vehicle warranty is also in place. There’s also a capped price service for the first four years of ownership.

The top of the range all bells and whistles VRX comes with a lot of features and commands a retail price of around $74,500 which reflects the value in the vehicle.

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