Hardy hauler

Pa­jero com­bines off–road tough­ness with the com­fort of a car

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Reviews - GRAHAM SMITH smithgr@cars­guide.com.au

MIT­SUBISHI’S Pa­jero has long been a favourite of the of­froad set, and the NS model main­tained its tra­di­tional ap­peal. Not quite as big as the ac­knowl­edged heavy­weights in the class, it de­liv­ered tough­ness and re­li­a­bil­ity in a value-for-money 4WD pack­age.

MODELWATCH

Mit­subishi of­fered three mod­els in the NS range when launched. The line-up opened with the GLX, and moved up through the VR-X to the range-top­ping Ex­ceed.

The five-door wagon body had seat­ing for seven in a foldaway ar­range­ment that made it suit­able for most uses.

It was par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar with the grey no­mad set who ap­pre­ci­ated its 2.5-tonne tow­ing ca­pac­ity. With its mono­coque con­struc­tion, the Pa­jero was taut and proved quite car-like to drive. It han­dled well on sealed and un­sealed roads, was smooth and quiet, and rode com­fort­ably on all road sur­faces.

Two en­gines were avail­able. The petrol op­tion was a 3.8-litre dou­ble over­head camshaft V6 that put out 184kW at 6000rpm and 329Nm at 2750rpm; the al­ter­na­tive op­tion was a 3.2-litre di­rect in­jec­tion tur­bod­iesel four that pro­duced 118kW at 3800rpm and 381Nm at 2000rpm.

Both ver­sions could be had with a five-speed man­ual gear­box or a five-speed auto, which had a man­ual shift­ing op­tion. Fi­nal drive was through all four wheels.

With high and low range four-wheel drive with diff-lock, and hill-start as­sis­tance on the man­ual, the Pa­jero was a com­pe­tent of­froader.

All mod­els were well equipped: the base GLX came with auto air, cruise, CD sound, roof racks, alarm and 17-inch al­loy wheels; the range­top­per Ex­ceed gained leather trim, heated power front seats, fog lamps and 18-inch al­loys.

IN THESHOP

The big Pa­jero is gen­er­ally a well-built and re­li­able wagon with few prob­lems. Left-side ex­haust man­i­folds are known to crack, and oil con­sump­tion climbs with kays. Me­chan­ics say worn valve stem oil seals are gen­er­ally the cause of the high oil con­sump­tion.

Pa­jeros are of­ten bought for their tow­ing ca­pac­ity, which means hard work haul­ing heavy loads, so look for a ser­vice record to show that main­te­nance has been kept up. Also look for signs of be­ing used in heavy off-road work.

Check for dam­age to un­der­body, fit­tings and sus­pen­sion, and scratched or dented body pan­els.

INACRASH

The Pa­jero has a four-star ANCAP rat­ing, thanks dual front, head and side airbags, ABS brakes, elec­tronic brake force op­ti­mi­sa­tion and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

UNDERTHEPUMP

Be­ing a big, heavy four-wheel drive wagon, the Pa­jero is no fuel miser. Mit­subishi claimed the V6 petrol would av­er­age 13.7L/100 km, the turbo-diesel four 9.5–10.5L/100 km.

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