They say legends are made, and that is the case with the Pajero. The Pajero 4 has been with us for the last 10 years and over then, they have had multiple opportunities to not replace it, but to improve it and this means the Pajero is now a premium choice for overlanders and travelers alike.
The Pajero when directly compared to newer vehicles (only in model shape) like the Discovery or the Prado, might seem a little dated, at least in the clothes is wearing. Mitsubishi has over the years introduced small subtle facelifts, which means a small redesigned bumper and daylight running lamps, making their way on to the front.
At the heart of the Paj, is still the trusty as ever 140kw and 441nm 3.2 oil burner and while it’s on par with the market, you have to take into consideration that its one of the few premium Suv’s that will run on 500ppm diesel, meaning you can travel Africa in areas where 50ppm is a problem. And while the 3.2 is still mated to an auto box, it’s well suited to towing too, with gears spaced well apart. Hunting for gears won’t be a problem here, especially not with a light load, like a couple of dirtbikes.
The interior has not changed much either and its proof that simplistic works. The seats are covered in leather and there is ample space, even for a 2 meter giant in the back. The front multimedia unit has been replaced and now features a touch screen unit which lacks navigation, but you do get an external unit which works better than any factory fitted unit anyway. The Garmin LM also has the ever popular tracks4africa mapset and features an integrated dashcam, which will automatically record events. You just leave it running in the background and it will do the rest. From a comfort point of view, you have climate control with rear climate controls and then heated seats for those Sani pass moments in winter.
The Pajero is as capable as they come with a lockable center differential, a lockable rear differential and then also a switchable on the fly to 4 wheel drive, with open diffs, meaning you can travel on gravel roads with added safety. Though the Pajero has been one of a very few Suv’s which did not once make me engage 4 wheel drive while hitting the dirt roads and I did a few hundred kilometers of it. I believe this could be related to the Geolandar ATS tires fitted on 18inch rims, standard on the legend 2 model. For added protection, they also fitted underbody protection covering the engine, diffs and also rock sliders on the side. It also has a 700mm wading depth rating, so it’s definitely up there with the big boys.
The fuel tank is a generous 88l and will see combined range of about 800km or so. Out on the road we easily managed a rather frugal 10 liters to the 100km, but with a mix of accents and descents and with a lot of gravel thrown in the mix, it slowly made its way to the 11l/100km, which is still very frugal for a vehicle of this size and keep in mind that it’s fitted with all terrain tires. Speaking of the tires, the Yokohama ATS tires is a superb choice and are immensely popular in countries like Australia, where they get used almost exclusively in the outback. They offer good grip on dry gravel and road noise is acceptable too.
I like to listen to music while I drive and listening to a banging sound system is always on the top of my list when purchasing a vehicle. The Pajero GLS comes standard with a 12 speaker Rockford Fosgate system, which even includes a very healthy 10” subwoofer located in a small box in the boot. There is also one USB located in the cubby.
The 7 seating option is obviously a bonus and its even better that it does not intrude on cabin space, like the Fortuner for instance. The last row of seats is stowed away in the floor compartment of the vehicle, extending the loading capacity to a large 1050liters.
The Pajero GLS Exceed retails at R759 000. It offers good value when compared to Prado 3.0VX auto which jumps ahead in price by nearly R160 000. The Pajero also has more power and will tow a greater load of up to 3300 kg, braked.
It’s easy to see where my money will go.