The Pajero SWB is a bit of an enigma. Who’s it for and why does it exist? Surely it makes more sense to spend less money on a Pajero Sport with just as much off-road ability.
That’s under the assumption that you want a Mitsubishi. There are a lot of competitors out there costing just as much, or even less than the SWB Pajero, but more on that later…
The current Pajero has been with us in some form or other since 2004. That’s 10 years it’s been in production, which is a long time considering the average life span of a car is closer to seven years.
Still, the end is not in sight. The SWB Pajero has been given a few subtle upgrades to make it more appealing to a modern audience.
You now get a rear-view camera, privacy glass, colour-coded door handles and exterior rear view mirrors as well as a USB port. For an additional R30 000, you can specify the Legend pack, which includes a number of off-road accessories, which would cost closer to R80 000 if you had to fit them afterwards. Anyone’s who’s a proper overlanding enthusiast would definitely benefit from this package. Only 30 will ever be built, so better hurry if you want one.
The SWB is powered by the well-known 3,2-litre turbodiesel, which develops 140kW and 441Nm of torque. It drives the wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox.
Mitsubishi’s Super-Select system is still a standard feature. It allows the driver to switch between 2WD, 4WD with the standard gear ratio and 4HL with a low gear ration. For the first time on the Pajero SWB, a rear diff-lock is included as standard. All of this should ensure that it’s as capable off-road as you’d expect from something wearing the legendary Pajero nomenclature.
Most of my time in the car was spent commuting between my home and the office. As an on-road companion, it’s not half bad. Its on-road capabilities are better, for example, than the Toyota Prado we drove last week.
Unfortunately, the Pajero struggles to hide its age. It feels like an old car modern luxuries were added to, rather than a car than was designed to be luxurious from the start. Having said that, the interior feels robust enough to withstand almost anything and there is enough legroom in the rear for fully-grown adults.
I don’t have any real complaints, except that I the time has come for an all-new Pajero. The current model is still very good, but it falls a bit flat on its face when you compare it to other models in Mitsubishi’s line up. The Pajero Sport has a new engine, just as much off-road ability and it can seat five people with space left over for luggage.
The SWB Pajero, I suspect, is one of those cult cars. You either want one, in which case nothing else will do, or you buy something else that makes more sense.
I quite like the Pajero SWB, but it’s old now. I’d rather spend my money on something new.