Back in the early 2000’s Mitsubishi revolutionised the 4WD market with a large 4WD that actually had road manners. The issue is that apart from improvements along the way the Pajero you buy today is essentially at the core the same as that first vehicle. It still has excellent on road handling for its size and more than competent off road ability, but the market segment is heading for a shakeup that will test buyer loyalty for the Pajero. This includes the core value of excellent value.
The Pajero GLS we are testing here retains the stylish external shape and has some features that enhance that style such as 12 spoke 18-inch alloys, front fog lamps, roof rails, high intensity dusk sensing headlights etc.
Step inside the GLS and the first thing you notice is that the interior is quite spacious. This has always been a feature of the monocoque design. The electrically adjustable heated sports cloth driver’s seat is comfortable and its relatively easy to find that perfect driving position. There is enough seat travel even for my lanky frame and the overall visibility is excellent.
In front of the driver is the illuminated sports dash with dual dials and multi information display in-between. The leather steering wheel houses the usual controls and the thick rim feels great in your hands. The dash is very easy to read.
The redesigned centre console houses the 7 inch Mitsubishi’s Multi Communication System (MMCS) with Navigation Voice Command Steering Wheel Controls, a 6 speaker Premium Audio System and reversing camera with reversing sensors. There is what has now become the obligatory USB and iPod inputs as well.
Rear seat passengers are spoilt with plenty of leg, head and shoulder room. The Pajero probably has the most rear room in this segment and even the taller passengers are comfortable. They also have controls for their air conditioning.
The third row of seats folds neatly into its own hub to give a large luggage area but are definitely in the small child short trip category though. There is no leg room or knee room for anything but the smallest passengers. One particular design advantage is the fact that the rear seats can be totally removed and in their place is a handy large storage well. This is great for extended touring holidays etc when the rear seats aren’t needed.
The Pajero GLS Edition offers first-class occupant and driver safety with 5 star ANCAP safety rating. Features include front, side and curtain airbags, ASC, ATC, EBAC, Super Select 4WD II, Multi-mode, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX child restraints, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, Mitsubishi Body Optimised Suspension (MBOS) and MATT (Mitsubishi’s All Terrain Technology).
MATT incorporates a number of systems including Active Stability and Traction Control, ABS braking system with EBD and Super Select II 4WD. Super Select let’s you alternate between 2WD and 4WD modes changing between modes at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour on any surface. The Pajero also now comes with a very handy rear diff lock for superior off road performance.
Powered by a 3.2 litre Common Rail turbo-charged diesel the Pajero pumps out 147kW of power at 3,800rpm and 441Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. At 110kmh on the freeway the Pajero will be turning oer a relatively lazy 2100rpm. The engine is mated to the INVE CS II ‘Smart Logic’ 5-speed automatic transmission with Sports mode. This combination works well but the engine is noisy by today’s standards and is outclassed by the Sante Fe and Sorento however is still better than the Prado. While not a rocket it has enough power for all driving situations and sips fuel at a rate of 9.0L/100Km.
The GLS Pajero remains one of the better handling 4WD’s in its class. On highways and back roads the Pajero drives like any sedan. When the road turns to dirt and corrugations the Pajero remains composed providing an engaging drive. Off road the Pajero s an excellent performer. The MATT system combined with the rear diff lock means that you can go almost anywhere you want with some reason. As a standard 4WD it will provide endless kilometres of comfortable outback touring.
The GLS Pajero will tow 3000kg with a tow ball weight of up to 250kg and makes a pretty dam good tow vehicle. Over the years I have towed caravans, off road caravans, bike trailers, off road camper trailers, boats etc with the Pajero. It handled everything I towed with ease. Personally I would keep it to 2500kg with the balance on the tow ball of 250kg, especially if you are venturing into the rough stuff. Fuel usage will increase while towing as the motor does work a little harder.
To date the main competitor in this segment has been the Prado which was basically copied from the Pajero. But dark clouds are arriving for the Pajero with strong competition coming from Ford Isuzu Holden and Toyota and even Mitsubishi itself with the Challenger. These are 7 seat value packed 4WD vehicles that will challenge the GLS. The Pajero has the benefit of space and car like road manners rather than ute like handling but nevertheless the competition is strong. However a new model can’t be far away and hopefully it will be as advanced as the original was a decade ago. The good thing is that there are a plethora of aftermarket accessories to upgrade the Pajero for an even better off road tourer.
As I mentioned before the current Pajero is long in its design cycle and there are areas where the market has caught up and passed it. It’s strength isn’t in doing anything exceptionally well but rather everything competently however it remains a value plus, roomy, very competent 4WD vehicle that will transport the family and all their gear to wherever you may wish to go. As a family 4WD that provides something for all drivers the Pajero is easy to live with.
• Internal space
• 4WD Stability system
• Rear diff lock
• Third row seats leg room
• Tow ball rating
• Engine power
Model Mitsubishi Pajero GLS 3.2 DiD
Model Price $64,223 RDAP
Engine 3.2L 4 CYL DiD
Drivetrain 4WD 5 speed auto
Power 147 Kw @ 3,800 rpm
Torque 441 Nm @ 2,000 rpm
Safety 5 Star
CO2 Emissions 239 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating2½ Star
Economy (ADR comb) 9.0 L/100km
Tow Capacity Max 3000 kg
Tow Ball Rating 250 kg
Servicing $2,040 – 3yrs/60,000km
Warranty 5yr/130,000 km with full roadside assist
Overall AnyAuto Rating 86/100
Behind the Wheel 8
Ride & Handling 10
Fit for Purpose 9
Towing Ability 8
Off Road Ability 9
Value for Money 9