For trips and tow­ing

Roomy, ro­bust yet re­fined, the Pa­jero swal­lows gear and rel­ishes pulling vans or boats

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - USED CAR -

NEW

The Mit­subishi Pa­jero has long been a favourite with those want­ing a ca­pa­ble off-roader but not the bulk of the Toy­ota LandCruiser or Nis­san Pa­trol.

Launched in the 1980s, the Pa­jero evolved into a more re­fined and com­fort­able wagon with­out los­ing any of its renowned off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The NW se­ries that ar­rived in 2011 was very ca­pa­ble of­froad while its size meant it wasn’t as cum­ber­some around town, as the big Toy­ota and Nis­san wag­ons could be.

In long wheel­base only, the wagon came in a range of spec, from GL to Plat­inum, adding equip­ment on the way up.

Its high driv­ing po­si­tion trans­lated into good all-round vi­sion and ease of driv­ing. The roomy cabin could to ac­com­mo­date up to seven with good head­room and de­cent legroom, al­though the third row was a squeeze for adults and more suited to chil­dren.

The sec­ond and third row seats could be folded to swal­low more gear if needed, though fold­ing them was awk­ward.

Diesels ac­counted for the ma­jor­ity of sales. By 2011, Mit­subishi had al­most phased out the petrol V6 — the 3.8-litre ver­sion was avail­able in the Ex­ceed but even that was dropped in 2014.

The 3.2-litre four-cylin­der turbo diesel (147kW/441Nm) did the job ad­mirably, whether in town or the bush or on the high­way. There was plenty of grunt for tow­ing up to 3000kg (braked), as many own­ers did.

There was a five-speed man­ual gear­box but most own­ers opted for the five-speed auto with sports mode. Part­time 4WD al­lowed the driver to change to and from rear-drive on the move, at up to 100km/h.

In­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion gave the Pa­jero greater agility than some 4WDs but the ride was firmer than in an SUV.

NOW

Own­ers re­gard the Pa­jero as well built and re­li­able and few re­ported is­sues. Many use their 4WD for tow­ing a car­a­van or boat around the coun­try, many go off-road with them and all say the Pa­jeros do the tasks well.

For any­one think­ing of buy­ing a sec­ond-hand ex­am­ple it’s im­por­tant to check for signs of off-road use. Nor­mal, light off-road use isn’t a prob­lem — it’s when the ve­hi­cle is used in heavy four-wheel driv­ing and pushed to the limit that it can be an is­sue.

Look for dings in the body, scratches and scrapes in the paint and a bashed or sand­blasted un­der­body.

If you find signs that a Pa­jero has been pun­ished, look for an­other that has been well cared for. The best buys will be among the bulk of ex­am­ples that have had city use.

Check for a cred­i­ble ser­vice his­tory show­ing reg­u­lar main­te­nance — Mit­subishi rec­om­mended ser­vic­ing at 12 months or 15,000km in­ter­vals.

OWN­ERS SAY

Chris O’Con­nor I wanted a car that was stylish, eco­nom­i­cal, com­fort­able, fam­ily friendly, easy to ser­vice and great of­froad. I set­tled on a 2013 GLX-R. My only com­plaint is that the rear­most seat isn’t a split-fold type, and it’s re­ally only suit­able for kids. Apart from that it’s been great. Alan Jack­son I can’t say enough about the Pa­jero. I’ve owned three of them over the past 20 years. My cur­rent one is a 2011 VR-X and it’s right up there with the oth­ers. The en­gine is more pow­er­ful than the pre­vi­ous one and it’s rea­son­ably eco­nom­i­cal. My one crit­i­cism is that the brake disc ro­tors warp eas­ily. Har­vey Siede My 2013 VR-X is per­fect for the pur­pose I bought it for, which was to tow a 2.5-tonne car­a­van. The diesel en­gine has more than enough torque and tows the car­a­van with ease. I couldn’t be hap­pier. Peter Bowen I bought my 2013 GLX-R new. I wanted a large wagon to tow a car­a­van and do a bit of off-road­ing, and it’s been great. I’m very happy with it.

SMITHY SAYS

A ca­pa­ble, com­fort­able fam­ily wagon that suits tow­ing du­ties or the dream off-road trip.

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