The Mitsubishi Pajero has been around for ages, and yes, this is a new model, well rather an updated model of an update. It still looks the same way it did over 10 years ago, but has anything changed under the skin to improve the tried and tested off roader? We took to the streets and a special offroad course to test it out.
What’s NewWell it’s mostly cosmetic changes and nothing to really shout about. There’s a set of LED daytime running lights built in now and the bumper has had a slight remodelling that improves approach and departure angles. The rear end now has a sturdier spare-wheel cover that covers the entire wheel in a more modern design. From a tech point of view new additions include a rear view camera and auto dimming headlights.
One EngineMitsubishi offers just one engine derivative and it’s a big diesel. A 3.2-litre turbodiesel with 140 kW and 440 Nm of torque. It feels like a pretty old-school diesel engine, connected to a five-speed automatic gearbox and from the outside it’s quite rough to listen to. Inside however, it’s much quieter, a testament to the build quality and soundproofing.
The engine feels strong though, in town and on the freeway it’s more than capable of holding its own. In the proper rough stuff the engine’s abundance of torque pulls it over or through even the softest beach sand and up sheer climbs. Fuel economy is a bit on the high side, we were averaging around 11L/100km over the week with the Pajero, claimed is supposedly closer to 9L/100km.
InsideThe Pajero is a big vehicle and in this long wheelbase version you get a seven-seater where the back row of seats can be removed entirely. The middle row of seats fold forwards and then tumble to give more loading room but I’m more of a fan of seats that fold flat than this setup. Up front the whole instrument cluster is looking quite dated as does most of the interior.
It does what it’s designed to though and you get decent equipment in the form of cruise control, a USB port, electric windows all round and touch screen radio unit with a rear view camera built-in. The dot-matrix display screen above the radio interface shows the age of the Pajero but it does read out some interesting figures such as a compass, barometer and an altimeter.
Driving DirtyThe Pajero is built for off-road adventure so we took it to a 4x4 course in the Cape and set it some challenges. The course was extremely sandy and a few dunes made things exciting, there were also plenty of steep inclines to test its grappling skills. We didn’t even need to use the low-range gearbox on the Pajero and just left it in high-range and played around with the individually locking centre and rear differentials.
They really help when combined with the traction control system on the Pajero as it sends power to the wheels that need it, making sure you get the grip where you need it. The Pajero cleared every obstacle we tossed its way with relative ease and comfort. The steering though is particularly slow so there is plenty of work to do spinning the wheel back and forth whilst trying to keep forward momentum and not crash into any embankments. The one thing missing that could be of use is hill-descent control, the added security it gives on steep descents is well worth it.
Mitsubishi Pajero Offroad Ability
VerdictThe Mitsubishi Pajero may have been around for ages, but as an offroad vehicle there’s still not much that can compete with it. Mitsubishi still harps on about its Dakar heritage and winning streak it had at the event and the skills have translated into its road variant. Times are changing though and the Pajero has been caught and passed by the competition in terms of design, interior advancement and engine refinement. Mitsubishi SA has made up for much of this by pricing the Pajero extremely keenly, the top spec Exceed model as we have here comes in nearly R50k less than equally specced competition.
Second OpinionMy first impressions of the Mitsubishi Pajero come from the back seats as we tackled the offroad course. Despite feeling quite old-school, this is still a very comfortable and capable vehicle. There's plenty of grunt and the 4x4 systems make light work of obstacles.-David Taylor
Pricing - The long wheelbase Mitsubishi Pajero starts at R639 900, this Exceed model costs R659 900.
We like: . Offroad skills . Plenty of power and torque . Good soundproofing
We Don't Like: . Thirsty on fuel . No hill descent control . Feels dated
Compare the Pajero against the Prado and Discovery here
Mitsubishi Pajero LWB Quick Specs
|Fuel Tank||88 L|