Mitsubishi Pajero& Road Test

30 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Mitsubishi Pajero& Road Test отключены
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid

Mitsubishi Pajero: Road Test

Mitsubishi’s top-spec Pajero has lost a little shine against the new Toyota Prado, but it’s still a dependable offroad performer

Mitsubishi NT Pajero Exceed

Road Test

Price Guide (recommended price before statutory and delivery charges): $76,790

Options fitted (not included in above price): Pearlescent paint $495, Diff lock and 17-inch alloy wheels $750 (diesel only)

Crash rating: Four-star (ANCAP)

Claimed fuel economy (L/100km): 9.0

CO2 emissions (g/km): 239

Mitsubishi’s Pajero has never lacked for offroad credibility, even when it moved from full-frame chassis to a monocoque with the NM platform, back in 2000.

In recent years though, the Pajero has steadily lost ground in sales volume to the Toyota Prado. With its NT model Pajero, Mitsubishi has attempted to whittle down the Prado’s lead by offering more variants in the range, but the Prado remains well ahead in year-to-date sales.

Part of the problem for the Pajero is that the Prado is newer, slightly cheaper and offers Hill Descent Control — something the Pajero doesn’t, although it does have satellite navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system, in mitigation.

There’s a lot of competition in the medium SUV segment these days and some of the luxury segment vehicles have headed downmarket to make life difficult for vehicles like the Pajero. Land Rover’s Discovery 4 is a good example of what your money will buy in the current market — and in SE form it’s little dearer than the Pajero Exceed, although a lot of the Pajero’s standard features are options for the Discovery.

If you can do without the Pajero’s seven-seat capacity, Jeep’s Grand Cherokee and Volkswagen’s Touareg are both mighty capable vehicles offroad and they’re in the same ballpark as the Pajero for price.

Despite that, the Pajero remains a dependable and capable vehicle. Out in the forest, for instance, it’s a highly competent performer. Even where the Pajero will lift a wheel (and the Prado won’t) the Mitsubishi pushes itself forward on three wheels anyway, thanks to the optional rear diff lock and the Super Select 4WD II system.

One possibly unintended benefit of the Pajero’s lack of wheel articulation, curiously, is that its underbody is likely to remain clear of obstructions. On the same tracks the Prado looked pretty close to the deck at times, while keeping all four wheels in contact with the ground.

But the Pajero seemed much better placed to safely straddle the logs, stumps and rocks. With little in the way of front or rear overhang, the Pajero didn’t graze anything on the way up, down or over, other than the tow bar fitted at the rear.

With a towing capacity of 3000kg, the Pajero is also likely to remain a popular choice among grey nomads and others who tow stuff for lifestyle reasons.

The Pajero was very taut over tracks that would readily test the torsional rigidity of other monocoque SUVs. There were no squeaks at all, either, although some of the interior fixtures did rattle a bit.

The 3.2-litre direct-injection engine has been Euro4-compliant for a while now, and is certainly more refined than it was in the days of the NP Pajero. Combined with the Aisin five-speed automatic it’s more agreeable, but owners must take the Pajero offroad to experience the engine in its best light.

Offroad, the diesel excels; holding speeds on hills without any extra juice being fed to it and there’s no turbo lag to speak of. It delivers more grunt than the Prado’s diesel, although the Land Rover Discovery’s 3.0-litre engine offers more than 30kW extra power and in excess of 100Nm over the Pajero’s torque peak.

Combining some country touring with urban commuting, the Pajero’s trip computer recorded average fuel consumption figures ranging from 11.2L/100km up to about 15.

Unlike the early days when the direct-injection engine was first matched to the Pajero, the engine in the latest model doesn’t cause the whole vehicle to roll back and forth on its springs during start-up, but it’s still definitely a diesel from its soundtrack. Even at highway speeds the drivetrain rumble is present and practically swamps the wind noise.

There’s no discernible sound from the Yokohama Geolander A/T-S tyres, proving that they’re a good choice for the Pajero — offering reasonable grip offroad considering their on-road demeanour.

Fitted to the optional 17-inch alloy wheels, the Yokies took some of the curse off the Pajero’s firm ride on the road, soaking up some of the smaller niggles in the road surface. The standard wheels measure 18 inches and the ride might very well be firmer again, but then the Pajero’s on-road behaviour might be slightly better too.

While the Pajero is a safe but determined understeerer, as reported in our last launch review written about two years ago. it stepped out at the rear on a section of wet bitumen, entering a corner on a trailing throttle — and the stability control was a little late getting involved.

Still, the Mitsubishi remains a fairly safe handling machine for its size and offroad-focused temperament. Steering lacks feel and turn-in is on the slow side, but this is to be expected with a vehicle that copes better offroad than the majority of its rivals in the medium SUV segment. It also felt a little more wieldy than the Prado did.

Keeping the Pajero and its torquey engine in check, the brakes seem highly assisted through the pedal, but they need to be, given the vehicle’s towing capacity of 3000kg.

Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid

Inside the Pajero, more than one staff member from commented on the lack of knee room in the front seats, but the second row is much better at accommodating kids and adults alike.

We tried out the third row and found it lacked something. It takes a while to set up, for a start and getting there can be a struggle — but not because the access is stingy. As a matter of fact, it’s easier getting to the third-row seat than in the Prado.

The Pajero’s main problem is getting the third-row seat raised out of the floorwell and the second-row seat tipped forward in the first instance. There’s a fairly convoluted process to achieve this result and it’s made more complex still with the cargo blind to remove.

Naturally the blind is too wide to stow in the vestige of luggage space after the rear kiddies’ seat is raised into position. There’s a two-part, hinged floor section that conceals the seat and this too must be left behind in the garage if you’re transporting more than five. Then it’s a matter of lifting the heavy seat out of its well — a two-handed job for most users — and pushed forward until the base locks in place.

Lifting the backrest into place requires both hands free, one to push the side lever up to release the lock and then the other to haul the backrest up from its folded position. At the halfway raised point, you must then switch from holding one lever in the unlocked position to another up on the side of the backrest to haul it back further.

Getting in through the ’40 per cent’ seat on the passenger side is not straightforward either; another two levers to fold the backrest forward and then raise and tip forward the squab against the rear of the front passenger seat. Once again, it’s moderately heavy and the process can’t be done with just the one hand.

Our recollection of the Discovery 4 was that while it was similarly convoluted to set up for seven-seat capacity, at least it was intuitive and could be configured faster and easier than in the Pajero.

Despite the degree of difficulty with the Pajero, it’s ultimately more accommodating than the Prado once all the heavy lifting is done — but the Disco remains the outstanding example of the ergonomic art.

Up front, Pajero’s seats were not overly supportive and quite flat in the squab. While the layout of controls and instruments passes the test, the Rockford Fosgate audio system really needs a volume knob — it would be much faster to use than the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons at the side of the touchscreen interface in the centre fascia, and also on the steering wheel.

Although a subjective view, I also found the steering wheel rim, finished in a combination of leather and polished woodgrain, unappealing. And there’s no reach adjustment. The steering column can be raised and lowered, but that’s it.

For most people that won’t pose a problem, since the Pajero’s driving position is upright and allows the driver to adjust the seat height and relationship with the pedals (and the wheel) to suit. All the same, it seems like an oversight in an SUV flagship selling for close to $80,000.

And it’s the price that places the Pajero in the Exceed grade up against some compelling rivals. At its core, the Pajero is a capable vehicle, but the Prado can be had for less money. And while it might be more expensive and offer less kit, the Discovery 4 is not really at a disadvantage, especially if towing capacity is all important.

However, despite its shortcomings, it’s a bit too early to write off the top-spec Pajero. It can still tow 3000kg, and has that back-seat fixture much loved by families — the all-important kids’ multimedia system.

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Published. Monday, 22 August 2011

Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid
Mitsubishi Pajero Hybrid

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