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2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review

2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed review

Recommended Retail Price: $68,590

Options Fitted: Metallic Paint: $400

Model tested: 2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed Wagon 7 seat 4-door 5-speed auto 4×4 3.8-V6

Great looking and practical 4WD, smooth, quiet, capable offroad

2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review

Still underpowered, cheap fit and finish, how long will it last?

CarAdvice rating:

By: Karl Peskett
What a difference spark plugs make. I’m a fan of diesels, I really am. But sometimes a car just gets let down by a drivetrain to the point of indignity. The Pajero suffers from a loud, rough diesel, that would really benefit from a major upgrade, to bring it into line with the new generation we see from Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW and others.


So your other option is to go with a Petrol model. Why? Well, just read what Alborz had to say about the diesel. And you won’t hear me disagreeing with him, either. See, if the compression ignition clatter was reduced, and that was the only change, this particular four-wheel-drive would be bearable. But it’s just not. Petrol it is then.

So what’s the petrol motor like? In a word, smooth. If you check the spec sheet of this motor, and the engine found in the (soon to be dead) 380, you’ll find surprising similarities. It’s not really much of a surprise; it’s the same family. They sound identical. So, even though we’re talking SOHC, it’s still a decent motor.

Next page…

2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review

However, it needs more torque. The Pajero Exceed weighs 2250kgs, and with all aboard, it’s closer to three tonnes. Thus, overcoming inertia is a challenge that the 3.8-litre motor has to confront every time you stop. Power is adequate at 184kW, but the 329Nm needs to be up around the 400Nm to be worthwhile.

Setting off from a set of lights, in a hurry, is a matter of waiting for first gear to spool right up. Only once the revs get anywhere near 3-4000rpm will it upchange. On paper the useable powerband is from 2750-6000rpm, but in practise, it’s much higher than that. So it’s not exactly a quick car, but again it is smooth.

Which also describes the gearbox. The five-speed auto is quite competent at slurring changes. It can be made to clunk when shifting from neutral to drive, but on the move it works well. However it does dull the excellent throttle response of the motor, by responding to downshifts in its own good time. Thankfully off-road it sharpens up.

And the Pajero is quite capable of scaling rock-faces, and sandhills quite well. The high/low selector is handily packaged into the gearshift surround, the whole presentation is fairly slick. Switch off the ASC in sand, as the weight bogs you down, and the stability control kills the overrun wheelspin you need in soft-stuff. But get it onto grass, gravel, and hilly terrain, and the Pajero does very well. The Powerline track in Perth, for instance, is constantly conquered by Pajeros. Get into the rough stuff, and it does well. No question.

2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review
2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed (petrol) review

Here’s where there’s a little concern, though. On the road, the Pajero is smooth and quiet, with decent sound absorbtion, and a solid fit to the entire car. However, off-road, rattles and wobbles start to rear their ugly heads. The door trims seem to shake and vacillate, and the roof-mounted DVD player almost wants to unscrew itself. Of most concern is the body flex that comes when the wheels pound up and down on potholes. It makes me wonder how long everything would stay quiet for.

Just pushing on the door trim gives the game away. The padding behind the leather and plastic seems more fibrous than foamy, which seems like cost-cutting to me. Mitsubishi has done a good job in making the whole interior look good, at least. When you hop in, the presentation is actually very nice. You don’t really notice how hard the plastics are just looking at them, and the stereo and colour LCD display screen has enough sci-fi to maintain the surprise-and-delight feel for a short time. But is that enough?

Get behind the wheel, and the Pajero redeems itself. The overall drive is pretty good, with a good feel from the controls. The steering for instance has good feedback, and even weighting. Despite the size of the Pajero, it’s pretty easy to park, unlike some of its competitors. The only letdown is the wheel which tends to be a little slippery.

Braking is also decent, eclipsing the Patrol easily, but is still not quite as good as a Discovery, or a LandCruiser. At least the pedal gives you plenty of feel, even off road. And the ride is better on the road than off, too. It tends to be a little sharp especially on rutted gravel roads, when everything is clanging and banging about. But on the road it maintains its composure, and controls hard bumps quite well. It also rolls a bit, but there’s a limit to it, and you can feel it coming, so you don’t need to push too hard.

And you really wouldn’t want to, as it’s more people carrier than sports car. Indeed, the interior room is extremely good. The front seats have plenty of room, and adjustment, but the leather is a little slippery. The second row seats are good for room, but floor pan is high, and seats are mounted low, so your knees end up elevated. Thankfully, the backrest can be angled backwards. The third row is also supplied, but the sixth and seventh seats are only suitable for kids, and chew up boot space. They do lay flat when not being used, however.

The Pajero Exceed is a quandary. It’s a fantastic looking car, it’s presented well, and it is practical. It even comes with a bassy stereo (with subwoofer), and a class leading warranty. The petrol is definitely the better car, too, when compared with the diesel. It’s smoother, quieter, and responds well to your inputs. But of course, there’s the fuel consumption issue.

The thing is, the Pajero is average. By that, I mean, it sits in the middle of the road, and covers most bases. It does its job fairly well, but there’s a few drawbacks too. You just have to ask yourself, “Can I live with them?”

CarAdvice overall rating:

How does it drive:

How does it look:

How does it go:

Engine: 3.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power
: 184kW
Torque: 329Nm
Top speed: N/A
Safety: ABS with EBD and Active Stability Control – dual airbags, side and curtain airbags are an option on entry models.
0-100km/h: N/A
NCAP rating: N/A
Turning circle: 11.4 metres 5-door model
Fuel tank: 88-litres 5-door model
Fuel consumption : 13.5L/100km
Fuel type: 91RON

  • rocket_v6

    i still wont buy it……new subaru tribeca is the best now with the new shape

  • Richo

    Pajero owners and Tribeca owners are a completely different breed and both cars are aimed at completely different markets.

    As for how long will it hold together, well ask anyone over the past 10-15 years who have bought a pajero and they will tell you that they will hold together for a bloody long time! My pathfinder does the groans and the rattles off road too, its not as if its unusual for off-roaders to do this

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Karl Peskett

    Richo, go and ask any Toyota owner how their Cruisers, or Prados are built.

    Mitsu has to step up its game if it wants to play in this league.

  • Reckless1

    So I gather that if I asked you should I buy a V6 Diesel Touareg rather than a diesel or petrol Pajero, you would sway in favour of the Touareg, even though it’s a little dearer than the diesel Exceed :)

    Having lived with and loved my V6 petrol Jackaroo for 10 years, I would not again buy any car or 4wd that does not have heaps of low down grunt. 10 years ago, petrol was cheap and the best diesels (other than the new Jackaroo)
    were making 80kw and 270nm, so the obvious choice was a V6 petrol. Now, that’s all changed, except some vehicles still come with a half-hearted attempt at a civilised oil burner (read Pajero, and the new Cruiser engines are pretty lame as well)

  • Realcars

    I owned an 80 Series GXL with the 4.5 twin cam I6 and it was a tank.
    Had 100klms on it when I got rid of it. It was a manual and u should have heard the thumps and bangs in that thing thru the gears. Was like driving a B double!

  • o

    would rather a tribeca or kluger grande

  • Steve

    The characters on the dials are not a good contrasting colour. Good to see Mitsu still hasn’t fixed their “quality” issues.

    Shame, but you can’t help but blame them for their own demise. Built a better car, if you can’t, don’t. Build something else.

  • Richo

    its funny how specialist 4WD magazines in australia, 4WD action and 4X4 Australia both say the pajero is the best mid size 4wd you can buy, better then prado and better then pathfinder. They test the cars pretty hard and have not found the same “quality issues” and having ridden in an 06 pajero while offroad i can’t say i noticed any “quality issues” either, infact i found it MUCH better then my 06 pathfinder… but anyway what would i know, i’ve just driven them.. you internet warriors are just taking the word of other people

  • Richo

    Mitsubishi’s own demise steve? other then the 380 mitsubishi have only been going up, yeah they have shut up their manufacturing plant in australia, but as an importer they are the fastest growing importer in australia, with their growth FAR ahead of market growth. Some people need to learn a thing or two about perspective!

  • Richo

    if you compare the pajero to it’s competition, the prado is over rated and as a current model pathfinder owner i am quite happy to say that the pathfinder is a complete heap of shit and i wish i never bought it

  • Tom

    The latest Turbo Diesel, 3.0L, common rail, direct injection engine in the Toyota Prado is far from lame. It has a slick 5-speed box, too. It has massive amounts of low-rpm torque, and the smooth-shifting gearbox keeps it on the boil.

    It is a solid, well-built car and goes really well for a 4WD.

    That’s how it should be.

    I can’t say I noticed the usual horrible diesel clatter in the Prado. Perhaps at very high revs you can hear the diesel, but you gotta expect that.

  • Iamthestig

    Just a old chunky clunky 4WD. People who buy these could have spent their money much smarter elsewhere. It is now only the uneducated school mums piloting these as the smarter ones are in Prados, X5′s, Q7′s and the like.

    Dated ’90′s interior and those instrument graphics ? – whatever happened to designing things like that so you can actually READ them ? So many different styles of buttons and then there is no sign of a proper knob to adjust the stereo volume.

    There is probably much more open to criticism but I have lost interest already…

  • Richo

    Iamthestig – the prado is very much in the same league as the pajero, as for the X5′s and Q7′s, mate not everyone is made of money for a start, and secondly some people actually buy 4WD’s to take offroad! Seriously if you buy a “luxury 4WD” with no intention of ever even going on the sand then your a twat, you should have bought a sedan

  • Spitfire

    The Pajero suffers from a loud, rough diesel, that would really benefit from a major upgrade, to bring it into line with the new generation we see from Volkswagen, Peugeot, BMW and others.

    Well said Car Advice. The diesel engine is the deal breaker for me, and the petrol engine is too much of a guzzler for me. As for waiting for Mitsubishi (or Toyota with the Prado for that matter) to follow the Euro’s or Jeep with V6 diesels, I am not holding my breath.

    One final point with regards the Pajero Exceed, 68K and no hard spare wheel cover but an exposed spare wheel. You are kidding Mitsubishi.

  • http://antilag.com Joe

    It costs the same as a brand new 200 series V8 petrol Cruiser.

    I’d say fuel economy wouldn’t be far off either, so if I was in the market for a thirsty petrol 4wd, I know what I’d choose…definitely not the Pajero!

  • Iamthestig

    \”Iamthestig – the prado is very much in the same league as the pajero, as for the X5’s and Q7’s, mate not everyone is made of money for a start, and secondly some people actually buy 4WD’s to take offroad! Seriously if you buy a “luxury 4WD” with no intention of ever even going on the sand then your a twat, you should have bought a sedan\”

    Richo – if you are directing this at me you are sadly mistaken. You can pick up a used X5 for well under $50k and status conscious school mums would rather be in one of those than a Pajero. As a investment they are better off anyway !

    Me, I have ordered a new XC70 which is Pajero money and more suited for my needs…

  • Reckless1

    Tom, the latest Prado is much quieter than the Mitsubishi 3.2l, but it is hardly earth shattering in its output – 125kw and 410nm. That would have been good 10 years ago, but VW makes 125kw and 350nm from 2.0 litres. From 3.0l, VW is making FAR more, try 175kw and 550nm. Toyota can only squeeze 195kw and 650nm out of a 4.5l V8, pretty poor effort there.

    Anyone contemplating the base model 200 series at 70,000 for the V8 petrol is asking for a massive fuel bill, and a massive depreciation – in a few years no-one in their right mind will be buying used petrol V8 cruisers, unless the lazy V8 diesel proves to be a shocker for some reason.

    Maybe the saving grace of the Pajero petrol is its ability to run on LPG, and you can hide a tank in the rear cavity, without having to have dog balls hanging underneath the back.

  • Richo

    Iamthestig, if you aren’t going to go offroad, then why buy a 4WD? its just flat out stupidity that you would buy a vehicle that is inherintly dynamically flawed if you aren’t going to take advantage of the REASON it is inherently flawed, ie its offroad ability. Ofcourse with an XC70 thats even more flawed because not only does it have the dynamic disadvantage but without the offroad ability, can’t even take it on the beach without risking damaging it. And don’t say you need a car like that for space and practicality either, because no well meaning parent would put a child in the 3rd row of seating and if you are after the space of a wagon, you’d be much better off with an audi A6 wagon, or indeed a volvo wagon!

  • Dlr1

    Reckless1, you seem to be missing the point with outputs of the Prado.

    Sure on face value 410Nm looks a little “low” from 3.0L but peak torque is achieved at only 1600 rpm. Exactly what you want when crawling off road in Low Range. The 2.0 VW that you seem to set as the benchmark for diesels doesnt come within 50Nm of this, let alone at 1600rpm.

    Even the Touareg peak torque figures are all achieved at around 2250-2500 rpm. But I suppose thats more suited to a car that is somewhat more on-road baised.

  • No Name

    Aaah Reckless. I’ve been watching the comments above, whilst I agree with you over the crappy Mitsu diesel be carefull quoting outputs from the Euro engines. Its common for the off roaders/SUV’s to have a different tuning spec than the road cars. I believe LR detune the 2.7 diesel for the Discovery.
    Yep the Mitsubishi diesel is by all account awfull, there is no excuse for mitsu ploughing on with old technology. I’m guessing they still use indirect injection rather than common rail. A common rail uses piezo injection with multiple nozzles which spray fuel over a longer period of injection to soften the compression explosion and reduce the diesel knock noise. The latest VW’s from late 2007 onwards are using common rail now, I believe purely to reduce ommisions in order to meet Euro 2005.

    Like Karl says if you can handle the cost of fuel then buy the petrol for now.

  • Iamthestig

    “Iamthestig, if you aren’t going to go offroad, then why buy a 4WD? its just flat out stupidity that you would buy a vehicle that is inherintly dynamically flawed if you aren’t going to take advantage of the REASON it is inherently flawed, ie its offroad ability. Ofcourse with an XC70 thats even more flawed because not only does it have the dynamic disadvantage but without the offroad ability, can’t even take it on the beach without risking damaging it. And don’t say you need a car like that for space and practicality either, because no well meaning parent would put a child in the 3rd row of seating and if you are after the space of a wagon, you’d be much better off with an audi A6 wagon, or indeed a volvo wagon!”

    Um, Richo, do you know what a XC70 even is ? (it isn’t a XC90)

    It is the Volvo version of a Holden Adventra (that you can get with a good diesel). It doesn’t have three rows of seats at all ? Do your research…

    I do a lot of driving on road but do some gravel, bush tracks and to farms. I would be happy with a car with some AWD capability and a button to get a extra 150mm ground clearance when I want but you can’t get that…

  • No Name

    I agree with you Stiggy..sounds like you have the perfect sensible car. Besides that 4WD has better road holding.
    I’m looking round for either the xc70 or an Allroad. Loads of space, 4wd for towing the boat up slippery ramps and slightly more ecomonical than a full blown 4wd. Makes sense alround, why have a big 4wd if you don’t go off road into heavily rutted paths.

  • Richo

    Stig, i appologise for my mistake, however why are we even talking about a high riding station wagon in a discussion about real 4WD’s? just makes no sense at all

    no name, exactly my point mate, why buy a 4WD or even an SUV if you aren’t ever going to use it! just madness

  • Iamthestig

    Richo,

    From the way you incorrectly reacted to my comments, I was forced to explain myself…

    No name,

    I would love a AllRoad (more than a XC70 !) but the price is just way above what I would like to pay. My cousin just bought a V8 Q7 and it is loaded with options, all for a lot less than a AllRoad.

  • No Name

    Ah theres the rub Stiggy. I’m looking second hand. The residual values of cars here (UK) is less than Australia. The Q7 is too new and in demand to be cheap enough for me. A 5yr old Allroad/XC70 is about $30K here.

  • Iamthestig

    No name,

    Yes, SH is different but here a new AllRoad starts at $106k but the XC70 starts at under $60k…

  • Tomas79

    # Iamthestig Says:
    February 18th, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Just a old chunky clunky 4WD. People who buy these could have spent their money much smarter elsewhere. It is now only the uneducated school mums piloting these as the smarter ones are in Prados, X5’s, Q7’s and the like.

    Iamthestig I guess you must be one of those uneducated school mums that would group a Prado with soft-roaders such as the X5 and the q7!!

    “Dated ’90’s interior and those instrument graphics ? – whatever happened to designing things like that so you can actually READ them ?”

    Are you somehow mentally or Physically challenged?? Or bit of Both??

    ” So many different styles of buttons and then there is no sign of a proper knob to adjust the stereo volume.”

    You know Most 4wd are made to be practical, not tard proof!!

  • Iamthestig

    Tomas,

    No idea what you are on…

    1. I was simply saying that the schoolrun mothers car of choice is not a Pajero, they now prefer others – that is all !

    2. Surely you don’t think the interior is good looking and those instruments are actually easy to read ?

    3. And your point is…???

  • Spitfire

    Whilst I will never defend the Pajero’s diesel engine, I will defend its dashboard. It is light years ahead of the Prado. In fact Robert Pepper in Overlander magazine January 2006 said the Prado dashboard reminded him of a 1985 Corolla. I concur.

  • Seif

    Gentlemen

    I am on the verge of buying either 3.0L Pajero or 3.0L Paradot. All available models are petrol. I need 4WD but don’t know which one to buy.

    Any one who can give advise..

  • Ekow

    I was going to buy one but it seem you guys are pretty much against. Pricing was what attracted me but I guess I will have to wait and save a little more to buy something else.

  • Regger

    With having first hand knowledge of trading my Pajero in on a V6 Diesel Touareg I can confirm that that Mits has heaps of work to do to come close to the VW donk. And I mean heaps and That goes for build quality and style aswell. So if the few degrees approach & ramp over angle advantage is all you are looking at then the Paj is it…………What the?

  • http://facebook.com range freak

    have u eva noticd the way pajero diesels are always unusually smoking unlike prados and landcruiser vx. i have a frend who had to change his pajero engine evry 2 years. the car to buy here is da 200series landcruiser. forget the pajero

  • Bryan

    I have test driven several diesel Pajeros over the last ten years or so and have always been put off by the amount of engine noise that enters the cabin; my Dad has tractors that are quieter! I have never really considered a petrol because of the perception that diesels are cheaper to run but when you (or you have your accountant) crunch the numbers, they are much of a muchness. Personally, I would prefer to buy a bit more petrol and in return have a quieter, smoother and more responsive drive.

    All that said, the diesel that Toyota put in the Prado is pretty good as far as noise goes, inside the cabin I was hard pressed to tell it apart from the petrol…

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