Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed

3 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed
Mitsubishi Pajero

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The Pajero cut its teeth during testing in the Australian outback and performs with appreciable off-road manners, using its independent suspension and solid feeling to push it towards the head of the field in this respect. In dry creek crossings and higher-speed washouts, the Pajero settles quickly and doesn’t deviate from its course, something reassuring when traversing thousands of kilometres of unfamiliar dirt.

Outback Australia has had plenty of rain in recent months, leaving roads muddied and littered with standing water. As well as tempering the dusty expanse – which was uncharacteristically green, breaking up the gibber plains with splashes of green – the water creates plenty of splashes and testing muddy tracks.

The roads that are open (working out which ones are allowed to be driven on is something of an art, especially as corner country traverses NSW, Queensland and South Australia) are often slushy and challenging. When it was drier, though, the Pajero managed to inhale more dust in its cabin; the dark, plush carpets didn’t do a very good job of hiding the contrasting outback landscape carried inside, either.

The Pajero also threw mud and water over the bonnet and windscreen, even at lower speeds. It was the only vehicle that warranted remembering to get the windscreen wipers sweeping before hitting the puddles.

On-road, though, the Pajero is less convincing and its inclusion here now shows the field has moved on, especially when it comes to comfort. The Pajero’s tyres generated more roar at 100km/h – hardly excessive but more noticeable. Its steering could do with a better on-centre feel, rather than the lazier response.

The 3.2-litre turbo diesel is honest but uninspiring, despite having the largest capacity of our contenders. Its 441Nm of torque is easily accessible but it’s delivered gruffly. Engine noise is a constant companion and acceleration was only adequate, although you get the impression more weight on board won’t slow progress much.

Fortunately it made up some marks by being relatively frugal, using just 11.9 litres per 100 kilometres during the journey.

The front seats feel a bit flat, and getting comfortable in the driver’s seat is not helped by a steering wheel that only adjusts for height and not reach. The driver sits tall, too, giving a more commanding view than others here. Storage for items such as mobile phones, wallets and drink bottles is limited by front door pockets that are too small and deep for anything other than maps.

It’s worse for rear-seat passengers, who have no door pockets and even fewer stashing options.

In many ways it comes down to age; Pajero’s boxy design dates to 2006 (and the basic underpinnings to 2000) with the introduction of this, its fourth generation. Even then it was not all-new, although every panel except for the roof and doors differed from the model it replaced.

Side by side with the other vehicles here, the Pajero looks big. Its horizontally swinging rear door carries a fair bit of weight from the rear-mounted spare wheel and, because it has no locking mechanism, can be a bit troublesome to keep open when parked on a slope.

In Exceed specification, though, the Pajero is well equipped, albeit at a price. At more than $75,000 its pricing is on par with the Toyota but it didn’t feel as special as you’d expect for that money.

It has one of the more interesting trip computers, showing moving graphs of things ranging from barometric pressure to altitude and fuel range, as well as satellite navigation and a premium sound system. All handy items out here.

Where other car makers have gone for the more modern dial selection for off-road modes, Mitsubishi has persisted with a selection lever. It’s comforting in some respects as it gives more of a mechanical connection to the gearbox but in all others it makes the Pajero feel aged.

Mitsubishi Pajero

How much? From $76,790 plus on-road and dealer costs

As tested: $78,844 (metallic paint $495; tow bar $750; cargo barrier $809.05)

Engine: 3.2-litre turbo diesel 4-cylinder; 147kW/441Nm

Transmission: 5-speed auto, selectable 4WD

Length/width/height: 4900/1875/1900mm

Kerb weight: 2347kg

Fuel tank: 88 litres

Claimed fuel use and CO2 emissions: 9.2L/100km and 243g/km CO2

Mitsubishi Pajero
Mitsubishi Pajero
Mitsubishi Pajero
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