Mitsubishi’s NP Pajero has always been a very agreeable 4WD, but with the release of some additional features it’s suddenly gotten a whole lot better.
An upgrade to the top-shelf Exceed model has seen a satellite navigation system in the dash included as standard, and it doubles as a television screen. To top it all off, there’s a DVD system, with a fold-out screen installed in the roof, to keep rear seat passengers occupied. If only DVDs were in cars when my kids were young! On a trip to the Snowy Mountains after trout I’d simply say, “We’ll be there in eight hours, how are the DVDs going?” instead of “If you kids don’t cut that out I’m going to stop the car and give you a hiding!”
The new Pajero has one of the best rides available in a 4WD, thanks to coil springs all round mated to a quite rigid monocoque body which sees the chassis integrated throughout the entire structural frame of the vehicle.
The Pajero’s ride is similar to that of a sedan – there’s no body roll, no impact from bumps and no sensation of roughness when travelling on less than perfect road surfaces or gravel. Interestingly, though, the tyres on the test vehicle were somewhat noisy, generating a bit of noise when humming down the M1 motorway at 110km/h.
The test vehicle was the top-of-range 3.2-litre diesel Exceed, which has all bells and whistles. Auto transmission is standard in the Exceed but it’s an automatic unit with a big difference: you can activate gear changes by simply slipping the gear selector lever across the gate and bumping it back or forward to drop down or go up a gear. In a nutshell, the Pajero Exceed’s Sports Mode gear shift virtually transforms the car to a sporty clutch-less manual on the bitumen and, of course, allows you to hold selected gears at an instant when you’re off road or in sand.
The 3.2-litre direct injection DOH diesel inter-cooled turbo diesel engine was powerful, and quite silent at highway speed. It just seemed to be loafing, and that 150kW of power saw the engine ticking over at just on 2.000rpm for 100km/h. I noted, too, that on 110kph sections the tachometer indicated only around another 100rpm for that extra 10kp/h. Obviously, the Pajero’s diesel engine is a very under-stressed unit.
Driving was easy; the auto unit changed virtually unnoticed, with the only real sense of change coming from the tachometer.
The gentle Pajero ride is enhanced by high levels of overall roominess and comfort. The driver is pampered with the luxury of being able to choose just which driving position suits best, due to the electronic adjustments available. The front passenger is also treated to power seating and, just to make sure things are really top-shelf, both seats offer warming for those cold winter mornings. With leather seats, power application for virtually everything and some tasteful wood veneer around the console, dash and steering wheel, those aboard are really pampered.
The folk in the rear also travel in comfort. Leg and head room are exceptional and there are separate controls for air-conditioning plus the DVD unit with its own head phones. All these features really add to the feeling of luxury Mitsubishi has created with the Exceed. Luckily, the DVD screen is also visible to passengers seated in the rear luggage compartment as well. Two can sit on this seat, which stores below the floor in a neat take-down arrangement when you need more luggage room.
The central screen in the dash can be used either as a television or for satellite navigation, which now brings us to an important question: how good is the navigation system, and how user friendly is it for someone who has never used a satellite navigation system before?
For a start, I would regard the set-up as entirely user friendly. We did a bit of navigating around the local suburbs and the system was excellent, issuing prompts and comments at the right time to ensure that we arrived at our destination with ease. The small control buttons around the screen were a little difficult for me to see, but I can’t send MSN messages get the best out of my hand-held GPS either without wearing glasses. My son Scott had no difficulties in setting up things, and he got the navigation system up and running in no time. I noted there was a very large range of maps for various cities on hand, with others readily available.
So if you can use the MSN messaging system and operate a boat-based GPS unit, the satellite navigation unit in the Pajero Exceed will hold no terrors for you, and neither will the DVD player. Mitsubishi supplied excellent manuals and remote control units in the glovebox.
In all, the new Pajero Exceed is a genuine luxury vehicle. It fairly oozes class in the level of appointments that come standard, and driving doesn’t come much easier.
It’s not a cheap vehicle by any means, retailing at around $70,000, but the buyer would be more than satisfied with what they get for their money.
1. The N.P Pajero Exceed has plenty of comfort and towing ability, making it ideal for boat owners.
2. With the rear seats folded below the floor, there’s plenty of room for luggage.
3. The Pajero’s satellite navigation system is easy to operate, the instructions quite clear and concise.
4. That DVD/ T.V screen for rear seat passengers is a great Pajero feature.Reads: 2938