With a 10 year presence on our roads, it might be tempting to write the respected Pajero off as a has-been when we compare it with some of today’s ultra refined 4x4s, but I think this is a hasty judgement.
It won’t take long behind the wheel to see that this time-proven 4WD still has what it takes to be a really useful city and country vehicle with ample comfort.
While a new model is believed to coming soon (rumoured to be released in 2014), Mitsubishi has continued the Pajero branding by treating buyers of the 2012 model to changes or upgrades to styling, safety components and appointments. There’s a revised front bumper and radiator grille, and new look 18’ alloys under the VRX and top of range Exceed models.
The VRX Pajero reviewed was a five-speed auto with 3.2L diesel engine; tipping the selector to the left allows you to manually run through the gears. As with other Pajero models the driver can also shift between 2WD and 4WD on the fly at speeds up to 100km/h.
The luxury feel in the VRX starts as soon as you sit on the leather and cloth interior where heated front seats are well shaped and very well bolstered for all day travel. The driver’s seat also has an eight-way electronic adjustment system, and the second row of seats in this seven seater can be split folded for extra rear cargo area. The rear seats fold down under the floor while they aren’t needed.
Other features include climate control air conditioning, central locking, and power mirrors with fold control for those ultra tight spots. The rear-view mirror also doubles as a very effective reversing camera. There’s also puddle lights on the side steps, a twelve speaker 860watt Rockford Fosgate sound system, rear DVD player for the youngsters, rain sensing wipers and dusk sensing HID head lights with auto levelling. If only all modern vehicles could have headlights as good as these!
Storage was well catered for within the Pajero with six cup and bottle holders, centre console bin, passenger seat back pockets, door pockets plus an under floor compartment.
Alloy sports style pedals add a little purpose to the interior, with the high driving and seating positions giving all a great view of the outside world.
The basic dash layout has not changed much over the years, and it still has a quality feel and look about it. The multi-function information display offers a host of information including important fuel consumption data, while the vehicle’s Multi Communication Centre Sat Nav screen – an option within the test vehicle – was directly underneath.
Steering wheel mounted controls for many functions certainly bring the Pajero up to speed in the highly competitive 4WD market.
Rear seat travellers have adequate leg room with plenty of head room within the interior as well. The large rear side opening door (mounted with full sized spare) opens up into a large boot space that can easily carry plenty of camping gear.
Compared to some of today’s modern Europe sourced diesel engines, the Pajero’s oil burner is somewhat chuggy. At start up the engine bursts into life with a flourish, chatters at idle, but still manages to hum along quietly enough at highway or other work speeds. The 3.2L four cylinder direct injection intercooled turbo diesel delivers a strong 147kW of power, and 441Nm of torque. In the auto there was no turbo lag; as the right foot depressed the pedal the car moved off very smartly.
The Pajero’s ride is a big selling feature. Independent double wishbone coil springs with stabilizer bar up front are matched by independent multi link coil springs and stabilizer at the rear to offer an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride over virtually any surface, albeit with a little hum from the tyres on less than smooth bitumen surfaces.
Off road travel is a treat; there’s a reasonably firm ride with just a touch of body roll in tight corners. Low range adds a whole new dimension to the Pajero’s off road capability, which is bolstered by 225mm of ground clearance and a wading depth of 700mm. The Super Select 4WD II system comes into it’s own here with the ability to change from 2WD to 4WD at virtually any speed a great asset.
Mitsubishi have touted the Pajero as having a car like ride for nearly a decade, however it’s off road where the vehicle really shines. A run along the beach or travelling along rough or rocky tracks in search of the right place to fish in the fresh water will be easily achieved in this large and very capable 4WD.
With a 3 tonne tow capacity (braked trailer) or 750kg unbraked capability, the Pajero will certainly tow a lot of boats, campers or caravans. I towed my Trek Kudu camper trailer and was virtually unaware it was on the tow bar even heading up Cunninghams Gap. Fuel consumption is claimed to be 9-12L/100km with an 88L tank. I achieved just on 12 litres per 100km when towing.
This is a neat car that will perform the many tasks that may be asked of it and is not too bad on the juice. Drop into Nundah Mitsubishi to organise a test drive or to get more information on the Mitsubishi Pajero.
Safety equipment includes: 6 air bags, ABS, EBD, stability and traction control.
5 years, 130,000 km Warranty.
Price for the VRX Pajero from Nundah Mitsubishi is $70,890.