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After recent reports from Japan heralded the long-awaited return of Mitsubishi's Pajero badge, more information obtained from insiders points to the model going in a very different, more upmarket direction than its predecessor.
Japanese magazine Best Car, which initially broke news of the Pajero’s return based on information it had gained from Mitsubishi, reports it has been given details of the Toyota LandCruiser rival going premium and plug-in hybrid.
Rather than being a 4x4 first as with the likes of the LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol, the Mitsubishi Pajero (not to be confused with the Triton ute-based Pajero Sport) is set to be based on the platform used by the Outlander PHEV and be ‘luxury first, but 4x4 capable’.
The formula Mitsubishi is reportedly chasing with the next Pajero is reminiscent of the Range Rover’s approach to rugged luxury, although whether Mitsubishi can really target the likes of super-premium brands is yet to be seen.
The next Pajero will reportedly use the CMF-C/D platform which is the basis for not only the Outlander PHEV, but also the Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai, and the Renault Koleos thanks to the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance.
The fact this platform primarily underpins small-to-medium SUVs means using it for a proper off-road large SUV is a challenge, though some tweaks will reportedly be made using the brand’s CMF-EV platform knowledge to incorporate a PHEV system similar to that in the Outlander.
Best Car reports the next Pajero isn’t due to land until about 2027, and given the CMF platform is already more than a decade old, chances are some major work is expected between now and then.
For the moment, the drivetrain in the Outlander could be used as the basis for the next Pajero, although with three years until its expected launch its 2.4-litre hybrid-assisted four-cylinder may no longer be the best option at the time.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) President and CEO Shaun Westcott told CarsGuide in late 2023 he “believes there is a space in the Australian market for” a large SUV to sit about the Pajero Sport.
“Australia is a country that likes their big SUVs,” he said.
“What Australians show us and demonstrate to us through where they walk and where they talk and what they do, is that there is a large aspirational desire to have large SUVs and large pick-ups in this country. That’s people voting with their feet.”
It was initially thought a new Pajero could be based on the Nissan Patrol’s platform to save cost and go with a proven 4x4 base, but hints that Mitsubishi would want to keep the Pajero’s “Mitsubishi-ness” from its global CEO could have been alluding to the idea a new generation of the model would indeed remain based on a more Mitsubishi-specific platform.
“So, when you (ask about a Pajero based on Patrol), I can’t comment on that, but other than to say that if we do… we will aim to keep the Mitsubishi-ness, as said by our CEO,” said Westcott
“But there will be another vehicle… and we had all the shrouded vehicles put out, and not every single car in that line-up will come to Australia, but there are some significant models or vehicles that are shrouded that will come to Australia.”