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11 Oct 2019

BY DR CLIVE FRASER  

In 1983, Mitsubishi released in Australia its yet-to-be-iconic Pajero.

Named after a South American Pampas cat, there were unfortunate Spanish translations of the word Pajero which did lead to it being known as a Montero in Spanish speaking markets, including the US.

The first version was powered by the same 2.6 litre four-cylinder motor found in my 1980 GH Chrysler Sigma and there was also a 2.3 litre turbo charged diesel.

Initially all Pajeros had only a 5-speed manual transmission.

The durability of the Pajero was highlighted by its competitiveness in the Paris to Dakar Rally with a first place in 1985 and 11 more first places thereafter.

Incremental improvements over the next three generations have produced a vehicle with exceptional reliability.

I’ve heard of Pajeros with 400,000 kilometres on the clock with original running gear which are still going strong.

The current Fourth Generation Pajero has been around since 2006 which does leave it looking a little long in the tooth.

That doesn’t seem to bother fans who see its unchanging nature as a positive.

Mitsubishi developed its Super-Select four-wheel drive system with four modes selectable by a lever next to the gear shift.

Firstly there’s 2H which disconnects drive from the front axle essentially making the vehicle rear-wheel drive.

Drive train noise is reduced and fuel economy is improved in this mode.

Next there is 4H which connects the front axle via a viscous-coupled centre differential.

Traction improves in this mode which can be selected on-the-fly if needed.

Then there is 4HLc which locks the centre differential and 4LLc which offers low-range for traditional four-wheel drive capability.

My 1990s experience of Super-Select did leave me with that binding feeling which isn’t detectable in the current model.

Whilst smaller than a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Nissan Patrol the Mitsubishi Pajero is still rated to tow up to 3,000kg which is exactly why my colleague bought it.

You see he has a tinny that weighs 1,500kg and the Pajero is perfectly suited to pulling that sort of weight up a slippery boat ramp.

When towing Mitsubishi does recommend fourth gear and 4H.

I did notice things went better if I manually down-shifted into third on steep inclines and I do wonder how things would fare with double the load.

That all reminds me that when choosing a towing vehicle it is much better to avoid being at the vehicle’s limit particularly as fuel and other gear invariably increases the weight of the load.

Mitsubishi was caught out in 2016 falsifying fuel economy figures.

They admitted they’d be doing this for 25 years.

The Pajero is rated at 9 L/100km on the combined cycle, but I can produce a verified fuel economy figure of 19.3 L/100km with the aforementioned boat under tow on the highway from Hervey Bay to the Sunshine Coast.

Whilst I’d like the rear parking sensors on the GLS I feel that I can manage without the automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, sub-woofer, chrome door handles, and electric heated front seats which add $7,000 to its price.

At $49,990 the 2019 Pajero GLX is well-priced, robust and competent.

If you shop around you can expect to take at least another $7,000 off that price by buying a demo with very few kilometres.

I think the Pajero will be around for a while.

Safe Motoring,
Doctor Clive Fraser


Published: 11 Oct 2019