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OFF-ROAD TEST

Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2Di-D





7 February 2017


mitz-paj

Hasta la vista, baby!
Mitsubishi’s Pajero is no longer the new kid on the block. In fact, it’s beginning to show its age. Still, its reputation speaks for itself, and it is as tough as nails. The Pajero is one of last true 4×4 action heroes.

arnold

TOUGH GUY
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Claim to fame: Where do we start? Mr Universe, Conan the Barbarian, action hero galore, Governor of California… Arnie has done it all. One of his most familiar roles is as a futuristic robot in the popular The Terminator movies. He is the quintessential action here of his genre. Period.
Great quote: “You hit like a vegetarian!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger has seen some action. From fighting aliens in Predator, to being a nasty robot assassin in The Terminator movies, to Total Recall, End of Days, True Lies… and, and, and. The list is simply too long to publish.

Nowadays though, with Arnie almost 70 years old, he has mostly retired from the skop-skiet-and-donner movies he is so famous for. But the fact is, the man is an action hero legend, with a pedigree that stretches over decades. Okay, so his private life is maybe not quite as rosy (Arnie’s affair with his children’s nanny was not received so well by his former wife), but overall, Arnie remains a legend.

Ditto with the Mitsubishi Pajero, which is also beginning to show its, well, experience. The legendary Pajero has been around for some time – the fourth generation Pajero was launched in 2006. With that upgrade came a move to common-rail injection technology for the well-proven 3.2-litre four-cylinder mill, which nowadays produce a handy 140kW and 441Nm of torque. Drive is transferred via a five-speed automatic gearbox.

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One of the Pajero’s biggest assets is the Super Select II 4WD system. Unlike other part-time 4×4 systems that offer a choice between 2 (rear-wheel drive), 4H (4×4 high range with 50/50 lock between axles) and 4Low (low range with 50/50 lock), this system adds the option of 4WD high range with an open centre differential. So you can drive it in this mode on tar or gravel for added traction without possible damage to the drivetrain thanks to axle wind-up. In the Pajero you can therefor select between 2H, 4H (open centre diff), 4H Lock (locked centre diff with 50/50 split between axles), and 4Low.

The monocoque design, the 3.2DiD engine, the Super Select II 4WD system that also has a rear differential lock on the reserve bench, and very competitive ground clearance and approach and departure angles ensure that the Pajero remains one of the most capable stock 4x4s you can buy today.

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Similarly, the cabin, while certainly no modern work of art, is highly functional and simplistic. All the luxuries are there, too, including leather and fancy infotainment system and climate control, to highlight a few amenities. Like Uncle Arnie though, there are a few proverbial wrinkles showing. Like the fake wooden inserts in the cabin, which went out of fashion some time ago.

Nissan recently acquired the controlling stake of Mitsubishi Motors. Prior to this move, Mitsubishi had said that there would definitely not be a new Pajero forthcoming. However, with the cash injection from the mighty Nissan, we’d be very surprised if an all-new Pajero is not on the drawing board already. (“I’ll be back” springs to mind).

In the meantime, the current Pajero continues as is, offering an old-school kind of luxury and practical 4×4 experience that is quite appealing. Yes, it does have traction control, but you still have to drive the Pajero through an obstacle, think about lines and so on.

Just like Arnie will always be legend in the action hero genus, the Mitsubishi Pajero remains a legend among 4x4s.

Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2Di-D five-door GLS
Engine: 3.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power: 140kW
Torque: 141Nm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
4WD System: Super Select II (2H, 4H, 4H Lock and 4Low)
Traction Aids: Rear differential lock, traction control
Ground Clearance: 235mm
Price: R739 900