Loading indicator
News & Reviews
Last 7 Days
  • Grunty engine, off-road ability, solid build, sound system
  • Overly noisy motor, no split in third row seats, ageing shape and interior

OUR RATING
5 / 10



Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
by Karl Peskett

Sounds like a truck, but it’s as tough as nails

Model Tested:

  • 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed; 3.2-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel; five-speed automatic; five-door SUV: $76,790*

Options:

  • Metallic Paint $495;

CarAdvice Rating:

Mention Mitsubishi Pajero to someone and guaranteed, the photo above is what will pop into their mind. Mention Commodore however and there could be a myriad of designs which they remember. Yes, the Pajero has been with us in a form like this for a very long time. Small tweaks along the way haven’t detracted from its attractiveness, however it hasn’t really changed much over the past decade.

It still sells, though, with Mitsubishi’s 5/10 Diamond Advantage warranty a keen deal maker. In 2009 it also receive a major power boost in the form of the 4M41 Common-Rail DI-D engine, which bumped power and torque by over 18 percent from the previous model. But as far as the interior goes, not a lot has changed. There’s still some faux-wood grain on the Exceed model (which we have on test), the same shaped dash as previous and basic interior dimensions remain the same.

While that’s not a bad thing, in that the interior is spacious and extremely comfortable, if you have a family like mine, there is a major drawback. The boot space is excellent, at 1050-litres when the third row is packed away. But if you’ve got a couple of young kids and then you have two more people, like the in-laws, who decide to come along with you, then you’ll need to utilise that third row.

Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test

Herein lies the problem: unlike most of its rivals, the Pajero’s sixth and seventh seats cannot be utilised independently. This means that with six people on board, you can’t bring a pram with you, as it won’t fit behind the third row. Toyota Prado and Land Rover Discovery 4, for example, allow the sixth seat to be used by itself, but a pram will fit alongside the seat, as well as having enough room for shopping and other sundry items behind the seat. This limits the Pajero’s ultimate practicality, however the rest of the interior has little to complain about.

There’s heaps of storage, good sized cup and bottle holders, grab handles for entry and egress, and decent quality leather covering the seats. Of course, the instrumentation and dash shape have been with us for some time now, but somehow it hasn’t dated too badly, the only exception being the screen at the top of the centre stack – a new LCD display would be good.

The Rockford Fosgate stereo is brilliant, and quite easy to set up using Mitsubishi’s Multi Communication System (MMCS), which is a touchscreen that controls radio, SatNav, DVD, reversing camera (which has a fantastically wide angle) and other functions. The boot mounted subwoofer adds to the punchiness on offer, too.

The carpets can be difficult to remove sand from, as it tends to lock into the fibres, however the seats are easy clean and very comfortable in all three rows. The Exceed specification tries to play the luxury part, however it would have been good to skip on the wood inserts at the top and bottom of the steering wheel – all they do is make things slippery, which can be dangerous.

Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test

The reason is you’ll be doing plenty of wheel twirling, as the Pajero, like its Triton stablemate, needs plenty of turns from lock to lock. Off road this isn’t really an issue and the reduced steering effort can sometimes be good, however on road it’s wearisome, especially in carparks where overcoming its slightly wide 11.4m turning circle can be an issue. Thankfully, you get a decent amount of feel through the steering. You also get good feel through the brakes, which work quite well, although when really tested, they will heat up and pedal travel increases ever so slightly.

Dynamically, the Pajero is fairly good for a large four-wheel-drive. Aside from the steering, it turns in without too much fuss, and handles quite well, exhibiting body roll as you would expect and keeping a predictable neutral-to-understeer balance the whole way through cornering. It rides firmly, and sharp ridges will cause it to jolt slightly, but it’s never jarring or too uncomfortable.

The biggest downfall of the Pajero, though, is the engine. Despite having plenty of grunt and accelerating quite well, there’s a constant reminder of its truck-like engine coming through the firewall, with the rattly diesel always letting you know what revs it’s at, not by looking at the tacho, but by its volume. Put it this way, a 2004 Toyota Prado diesel sounds more refined, and in 2010, this engine simply does not cut it. The only redeeming feature is it achieves reasonable fuel economy for such a heavy beast. On test this week, with our off road expedition included, it used 11.2-litres/100km.

Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test

On paper figures are actually quite good, with 147kW and 441Nm, and in practise, they help to move the 2350kg bulk of this car along fairly spritely. But having the droning, rattly sound always there doesn’t sit well in a $77,000 four-wheel-drive. But what this four-wheel-drive does do well is, erm, four-wheel-driving.

The suspension, which on road is merely average, has excellent travel, even with independent front and rear axles. Ground clearance of 225mm and a wading depth of 700mm means it’s up there with the big boys. Even when bouncing across rutted sand, the wheels quickly followed the surface, ensuring power was always getting to the ground. In some instances the ESC decided to cut in, but it never really hindered things, just kept the car straight and true. In rocky conditions it’s worth its weight in gold, as it clamps down wheels losing grip and as soon as it senses they’ve gripped again, it lets go, in split second timing.

Hill climbing in high-range on powder-soft sand wasn’t an issue as it has been with other diesels, and in low-range it is unstoppable. The optional rear diff lock would only make things better. Rather than upshifting and killling off power, the automatic holds onto the gears in manual mode, too.

If you’re buying a car that will comfortably go anywhere, but also haul people for the city trek, then the Pajero Exceed will suit your purpose. But if it’s refinement you want, then you’re best to look elsewhere. It has a better interior and drives better than Nissan’s Patrol, but it’s also a few thousand more, which puts it right into Prado VX territory. Land Rover’s Discover 4 can be had with all leather for a smidge over $71,000, and for that you’re getting a highly refined drive and off-road credentials which will match the Pajero.

Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test

Of course, Mitsubishi counters with a few more interior gagdets than both the Prado and Disco, as well as a far superior warranty, but its interior is nowhere near as flexible. It is a good looking machine, and off road it’s formidable, but we’ll be watching keenly for a complete redesign – it’s well overdue.

Ratings:

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:

*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.



  Submit an Owner Car Review

MITSUBISHI PAJERO BREAKDOWN

Mitsubishi Pajero Review & Road Test
  • 5
  • 5
  • 7
  • 6
  • 7
  Submit an Owner Car Review


SHARE THIS ARTICLE




Mitsubishi Pajero Specs

ACTIV : NT MY10 : 3.2L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTO SPORTS MODE - DIESEL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
MITSUBISHI
Model
PAJERO
Variant
ACTIV
Series
NT MY10
Year
2010
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
7
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$23,980 - $27,250
Dealer Retail
$24,880 - $29,590
Dealer Trade
$18,900 - $21,800
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
3.2L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
441Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
147kW @  3800rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
69.7W/kg
Bore & Stroke
98.5x105mm
Compression Ratio
16
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTO SPORTS MODE
Drive Type
FOUR WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.917
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
88Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.2L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2110
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1900mm
Length
4900mm
Width
1845mm
Ground Clearance
225mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:3000  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.4
Front Rim Size
7.5x17
Rear Rim Size
7.5x17
Front Tyres
265/65 R17
Rear Tyres
265/65 R17
Wheel Base
2780
Front Track
1570
Rear Track
1570
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Hill Holder, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Nudge Bar, Power Mirrors, Roof Racks, Side Steps
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Engine & Transmission
Diff Locks
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  130,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Eng Scuttle
Country of Origin
Japan