I never would have considered a Mitsubishi Pajero but was told that was to be my company car, so I had no choice.
I have had Colorados, Toyotas and Fords in recent years but my initial apprehension at having a Pajero disappeared after the first week. I was stunned.
After picking it up with a lift kit, tow bar and long range fuel tank fitted, my first long trip was with a mixed-age and 4x4 assortment into the Victorian high country. There were Land Rover Discos, Suzuki, Nissan and LandCruiser wagons. Everyone was waiting for the Pajero to fail.
On the contrary – it was the only vehicle not to have any problems in two weeks of four-wheel drive travelling.
After that trip, it went back to being a company car on highway and in paddocks all over rural Australia and never once letting me down.
It provided comfort, being able to drive up to 1000km a day easily, excellent fuel consumption averaging just over 9 litres per 100km at an average speed of around 105 to 110km/h and excellent reliability.
After taking a redundancy from work, the Pajero had around 160,000km on the clock and I could not part with it so I purchased from the lease company. That was four years ago and today it has just ticked over 400,000kms. And I still can't fault the vehicle!
It has had regular servicing at 10,000km intervals and I use full synthetic oil. It does not use any oil between services. On a trip, it still averages around 9l/100km and just over 10 litres towing a camper trailer.
The only mechanical work was fitting a new rear wheel bearing at 360,000km and a new heavy duty clutch and pressure plate at 395,000km and while the gearbox was out, I decided to pull it down and fit a new bearing kit.
My wife and I regularly tow a horse float or camper trailer and I never cease to be amazed at the power of the 3.2-litre diesel. It shocks a lot of people.
For the amount of off-road work it does, I would have expected plastic rattles but that is simply not the case. It has a few small squeaks but none that worry a pedantic noise seeker like me. The noisiest part of the car are the mud tyres it is currently running.
I attribute the longevity of the Pajero to regular servicing with good quality oil – 5W-40 Valvoline Full Synthetic, 12-monthly change of diff and gearbox oil and only using good quality diesel – the car has only ever had BP diesel run through it.
Most people are shocked to learn it has 400,000km on the clock, as it still looks and drives like new.
Three people have purchased Pajeros on the strength of our vehicle and all have said they would not go back – one was a Nissan Patrol owner, another a LandCruiser owner and the other a first time 4x4 buyer.
In my life I have owned or had 32 company cars with 14 being 4x4s and I can honestly say the Pajero is the best I have ever owned.
Because of my love affair with this particular vehicle I will drive it until it goes no more – I would not hesitate to take off around Australia in it tomorrow.
I am a mechanic by trade but then went into doing motoring reviews for a leading Australian rural newspaper so I believe I am well qualified to review my car. From a non-believer to a true believer.
Note: stock image used for illustration purposes