‘You buy a Pa­jero be­cause you want one. End of ar­gu­ment’

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Shakedown -

In light to mod­er­ate city traf­fic, the SUV re­turned around 8km/L. On the high­way, it yielded 12.5-13km/L. Th­ese fig­ures are in fact lower than those in­di­cated on the trip com­puter. With about 603km cov­ered dur­ing my long-term stint, I only had to fuel up once, with half a tank to spare when I handed the car back. Cou­pled to the en­gine is the INVECS-II five-speed au­to­matic, which is smooth and con­trib­utes to ef­fi­ciency, thanks to Op­ti­mum Shift Con­trol that pro­vides the ideal bal­ance be­tween power and ef­fi­ciency.

While the Pa­jero is usu­ally chauf­feur­driven, it’s def­i­nitely fun be­hind the wheel, too, given its rally her­itage. The hy­draulic steer­ing of­fers very good feel, with the right amount of firm­ness. Han­dling is sharp, thanks to the mono­coque body and the coil springs via a front dou­ble-wish­bone and rear multi-link sus­pen­sion setup. Equally im­por­tant is the ride—soft but not too pil­lowy. If you want to take the road less trav­eled, Su­per Select 4WD-II is one of the most ca­pa­ble four-wheel-drive sys­tems in the busi­ness.

As an owner, I can at­test to the Pa­jero’s pos­i­tive own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence and bul­let­proof re­li­a­bil­ity. With re­gard to this lat­est model, there’s no rea­son to think it would be oth­er­wise. The Pa­jero com­mu­nity is fairly large, and parts can be sourced from Mit­subishi-spe­cific shops and online por­tals.

Here’s some­thing to con­sider: The cur­rent chas­sis is now 16 years old, and the name­plate will even­tu­ally be killed. Will it make a come­back? No one knows for sure. In­stead of de­vel­op­ing a nextgen­er­a­tion model, Mit­subishi Mo­tors Cor­po­ra­tion will con­cen­trate on the US mar­ket. On top of that, com­pany CEO Osamu Ma­suko pointed out that they’re ax­ing the model be­cause de­vel­op­ing a new chas­sis along with new en­gines and trans­mis­sions will be very ex­pen­sive.

So, the ques­tion is: Why would you pick the Pa­jero over the lat­est crop of SUVs, par­tic­u­larly its ‘smaller’ Mon­tero Sport sib­ling? The Pa­jero costs P2.770 mil­lion com­pared with the top-spec Mon­tero Sport 4x4 GT at P2 mil­lion. The Monty fea­tures bet­ter tech: small­erdis­place­ment and more ef­fi­cient MIVEC en­gine, eight-speed au­to­matic, and push-start ig­ni­tion, just to name a few, and per­haps bet­ter in­te­rior space, ver­sus the Pa­jero’s ag­ing en­gine, five gears, and a cramped third row.

There’s noth­ing the Mon­tero Sport can’t do that the Pa­jero can. It has in­her­ited its elder sib­ling’s off- and on­road ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and it clearly makes more sense—cheaper, newer tech, more space. But the Pa­jero isn’t for those who want the lat­est tech­nol­ogy. It’s for those who un­der­stand the iconic SUV, and ap­pre­ci­ate the sig­nif­i­cance of the name­plate. You buy one be­cause you want one. That last line alone sums up the ar­gu­ment.

Still un­mis­tak­ably a Pa­jero, even with mod­ern bits

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