The long haul
Staffer Deon van der Walt used the Mitsubshi Pajero to head home to Port Elizabeth for the December break. He reckons it certainly is better at long distance touring than his normal ride, a Suzuki Jimny. Our three-door Pajero is a pukka off-roader. We’ve added a Tough Dog suspension, Front Runner engine protection plates, rock sliders and roof rack, and it is regularly used for tough 4×4 assignments. So, considering the short wheelbase, and its more 4×4- oriented credentials, I wasn’t sure how it would handle a long-distance drive. We made some changes to improve the aerodynamic drag at higher speeds. We removed both the jerry cans and the water tank atop the roof rack and inflated the tyres to 2.5 bar (from the standard 2 bar) for less rolling resistance.
The Pajero is powered by Mitsubishi’s 3.2-litre Di-D four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces 140kW at 3 800r/min and 441Nm of torque at 2 000r/min. It’s not the most modern engine on the block anymore and, we thought, it may be less fuel efficient than the latest generation of oil burners. Hence our alterations to the aerodynamics and tyre pressure. On the open road it proved to be comfortable and practical thanks to its split and folding rear seats and plenty of little storage spaces scattered across the cabin for all those odd items. And the old-school 3.2-litre engine proved to be the star of the show.
With all that torque on tap, and the five-speed automatic gearbox keeping the engine ticking over in the right places, progress was swift, effortless and surprisingly frugal. Driving at the national speed limit, we averaged 10 litres/100km. It eventually got us to PE and later back to Johannesburg without any hassles, and in a surprisingly comfortable manner too. The Pajero, which has proven so capable off the beaten track, is also the consummate long-distance tourer.
Distance received/now 30 291km/46 372km
Distance completed 10 936km
Average fuel consumption 11,1 litres/100km
Selling price new R769 900
Service/maintenance plan Five-year/100 000km service plan
Driven by Deon van der Walt
It’s pretty comfortable
Great Tough Dog suspension
It’s very good at long-distance driving
Not so good
Showing its age