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Rating 7 7

Mitsubishi Pajero SFX

9th Dec 2009 8:00 am

 The Pajero has the best ride and handling, its off-road ability can put a mountain goat to shame and it’s got a rugged charm about it

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  • Make : Mitsubishi
  • Model : Pajero

There’s something timeless about the Pajero and it has dated rather well, still managing to look rugged in a Clint Eastwood kind of way. Its design is very familiar having been around since 1991. The design is well proportioned and the car has a tough stance. The wheel arches have huge gaps (for massive wheel articulation when off-roading), lots of chrome highlighting and an almost-flat glass area. Two years ago Mitsubishi updated the Pajero with bulging fenders, wider wheels and a garish paint job and called it the SFX but that hasn’t been enough to mask its 1990s shape. It is built on a body-on-ladder design and has a four wheel drive system. It uses double wishbones, torsion bar front suspension and three-link, coil spring at the rear and the centre differential is lockable.

 Stepping into the Pajero is like stepping back in time. It’s like nothing has changed from the 1990s when this dashboard was designed. The brown beige interiors and faux-wood interiors feel tacky and the fonts on the dials look like they’ve been lifted straight from the Maruti 800. Ergonomics are also from the ’90s – the music system is placed too low on the dashboard, the seat adjusters are in the tight space between the door and the seat and the steering wheel adjustment is limited. Still, everything feels tough and the switches work with a nice chunky feel and the Pajero trademark altimeter/roll-pitch meter/temperature cluster on the dashboard reminds us of where this car feels most at home – the great outdoors.

The front seats are quite soft but the bolstering in the lower back area is a bit too much and there’s no height adjust either. However, visibility is pretty good thanks to the upright, slim A-pillars. It has a narrow cabin so three up in the middle is quite a squeeze. However, for two people or less, the Pajero seats with their high ‘H-point’ and soft cushioning feel the best. The low window line and the big glasses let in a lot of light too. The third row is very short on legroom.

The Pajero is the most successful Paris-Dakar rally car ever. All that rally-bred experience can be seen in the Pajero’s mastery of our roads. Sure, it’s no Merc S-class but the ride is level, the suspension dispatches bumps with muted thumps and it rarely gets unsettled. There is a bit of lumpiness at lower speeds, but it’s inevitable on cars with ladder frames. For a chassis with a non-independent suspension, this is probably as good as it gets. It simply outclasses the competition, no matter what surface you are driving on. 

The steering is nicely weighted, direct and sends the car just where you want to go. Through fast corners, it settles down after the initial 15 degrees of body roll (according to the on-dash roll meter) and feels completely stable. The Pajero’s four-wheel disc brakes are fantastic and add to driver confidence.While off-roading the low gearing, long-travel suspension and low overhangs help it wade through slippery tracts with ease.

 

Mitsubishi Pajero SFX
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