Late in 2013 we took some of SA’s most popular SUVs to Botswana for a vehicle safari through the Khwai Conservancy. We’ll be posting reviews of all the vehicles that accompanied us over the next couple of weeks. You can read our travel article about the trip here, and you can find all the other vehicle articles under the “Driving Impressions” category.
The short-wheel base Mitsubishi Pajero occupies an unusual position in its market segment. While other manufacturers have sold (and still sell, in some parts of the world) SWB versions of their large SUVs, Mitsubishi is the only company to do so in SA. And it is in the process of making its special offering even more tempting
There is something to be said for SWB versions of large SUVs. A short-wheel base makes an SUV look sporty and nimble. Get into a SWB 4×4, and it’s pretty easy to imagine that you’re taking part in the Dakar Rally.
But, while a SWB SUV may be aesthetically pleasing and encourage spirited driving, some people are quick to point out that it isn’t very practical. There is some truth in this, of course. A SWB vehicle doesn’t have as much packing space, and clambering into one of the second-row seats can be tiresome, but it could also be argued that in some respects it is more practical than long-wheel base vehicles.
Firstly, a SWB version of a luxury SUV combines the benefits of a full-size SUV with those of a compact model. It has the plush interior, gadgets and high ride height of a luxury SUV, but is as easy to handle on busy city streets and in tight parking areas as a compact SUV.
Secondly, SWB 4x4s tend to be good on off-road trails because they have small turning circles and impressive break-over angles.
So, if you’re looking for a luxury SUV that is easy to handle in traffic and capable of tackling 4×4 tracks over weekends, a SWB vehicle is a good option.
Thanks to extras such as an air compressor, dual-battery system, heavy-duty seat covers, tyre pressure monitors, rock-sliders, under-body protection plates and a fridge, the Pajero we took on this trip was even more capable than most. Also, it had a rear diff lock — something that SWB Pajeros have been lacking for the last couple of years.
Well, the good news is that a rear diff lock is becoming a standard feature in the SWB model once again. And what about all those extras? Mitsubishi SA will be offering special SWB models boasting many of them, similar to those in the LWB Pajero Legend that was launched a while ago.
The SWB Pajero already occupied a unique position in its segment. Now the deal has been sweetened even more…