Would you like chrome with your Pajero sir? That will be the Exceed then. The current model Mitsubishi Pajero has been with us for yonks but still has a way to go in its model cycle. Mitsubishi is stretching it out with special editions and upgrades making the popular "real" 4x4 an enticing package for people who want or need a fourbie for towing or off roading.
Pajero's monocoque chassis flies in the face of accepted fourbie thinking but the big Mitsubishi is tough as they come and will go pretty much anywhere. We got hold of the top-of-the-whizzer Exceed 3.2 CDi turbodiesel priced at a sobering $76,790 but you get a lot for your money and even get to contribute to the government's Luxury Car Tax.
Plenty of kick comes from the 3.2-litre, twin-cam, four-pot, turbodiesel though compared with the current crop of smaller capacity engines from Europe, this is a lazy bugger with 147kW/441Nm output. You are definitely aware there's a large capacity diesel up front pushing this weighty 2350kg vehicle with some purpose when needed.
Push the throttle and away she goes-no problem. It consumes around 10.0 litres/100km in mixed driving meaning a useable 900km range from a full tank. Drive goes to the rear or all four wheels via a five speed auto transmission offering sports shift and super select 4WD in a number of modes including a crawler range with everything locked up.
We first saw this generation Paj' in clay a long while ago in Japan. It was a looker then and still stacks up with the tweaks that have been progressively implemented. Exceed model has plenty of chrome and looks the better for it. The design is practical offering heaps of space, seven seats and a large load space down the back. We love the tailgate-mounted full-size spare and tie-down lugs in the boot. Third row of seats is easy to operate and the interior as a whole is simple and well laid out. Looks good too. Multi media controls can be trying.
Exceed score plenty of kit - leather, huge audio from Rockford, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, multi function wheel, cruise, climate control, heated electric front seats, reverse camera, satnav, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, bixenons and 18 inch alloys. Not much left out.
Scores six air bags, stability control for a four star safety rating.
Practically unstoppable in the dirt with Super Select 4WD system that can be used on the move and offers everything right down to 4WD low range with centre and rear differentials locked. Paj' has 225mm ground clearance and will wade up to about 700mm deep with steep departure and approach angles thanks to the limited body overhangs. Coil suspension articulates nicely over rough going and the all terrain technology Mitsu recently installed in Pajero networks up to six systems for optimum traction and drive control.
Though not as sophisticated as some, Pajero has its own appeal-the way it looks, the sound of the engine, the way it rides and handles on the road which is good for such a big, tall bus. It will tow up to 3.0 tonnes. Wafting along the freeway is a breeze, turn straight off onto the rough stuff and the Paj' barely skips a beat. Impressive.
We'd go for one of the limited editions like the Pajero RX or Platinum models before Exceed.
MITSUBISHI PAJERO EXCEED 3.2 CDi
Warranty: 10years/160, 000km
Engine: 302L Turbodiesel
Transmission: 5 Speed manual, 5 speed sports-mode automatic
Safety: Reversing camera (included in MMCS), six airbags and stability control
Crah rating: 4 out of 5
Body: 5 door, 7 seater
Tyre: 18inch Alloy