MITSUBISHI PAJERO GLS
The current Pajero has been around for what seems like decades but the brand keeps sweetening the deal on price and features. The GLS, one step down from the Exceed flagship, earns its popularity on overall spec and price. The 3.2-litre turbo diesel (147kW/441Nm) is a bit of a growler in operation, returning 9.3L/100km in mixed driving, not bad for a 2255kg vehicle. Service is capped at $2600 over 4 years/60,000km at 15,000km intervals.
It’s on a monocoque chassis, like a passenger car, and the suspension is independent all around — good for refinement but tested when out in the boonies. The dash is mostly hard plastic with all the infotainment run through a seven-inch touchscreen. The cabin has an airy feel and you sit in high-mounted seats, a plus most of the time. Seats in rows two and three are easy to stow. Storage compartments dot the cabin and the rear aircon is appreciated. But there’s no reach adjust on the steering wheel.
The engine is not a new design but does a good job. The five-speed auto is out of the ark but has myriad drive options — possibly too many — as well as a rear diff lock. It’s easy to despise the Integrated Smart Phone function, which streams stuff by app through your phone. How much data would that use on a trip up to Darwin?
A monocoque chassis has crash protection benefits over a ladder chassis because it, not you, takes the impact. Airbags, trailer sway control, rollover protection ... there’s the full inventory to earn five stars but little in way of driver assistance apart from reversing camera, auto headlights and wipers.
The Pajero is noisier and has more vibrations but it has the performance advantage over the Prado. Off-road it’s pretty handy, if hamstrung in tough going by the independent rear suspension. Controls are easy to use and the audio is impressive. It’s set up for the long haul. Ground clearance is good and it will tow 3000kg.