For Mitsubishi Pajero, it’s simple – a massive three-tonne towing capacity, go-anywhere off-road toughness and multiple ‘4WD Of The Year’ awards all add up to a mid-size SUV with an enviable reputation.
Amongst the top six best-selling mid-size SUVs in Australia, only the Pajero and the Toyota Prado deliverS that hard-as-nails off-road ability and towing capacity demanded by many buyers.
And it’s a mixed market segment with buyers as diverse as families with young children to retirees heading off (often with a caravan) for outback holidays…so if you want to compete for sales, you’re vehicle needs to be versatile. Sales success for the Mitsubishi Pajero over the decades confirms its credentials.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed Overview
Car Showroom has just spent a week in the luxurious range-topping Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed turbo-diesel. The Exceed combines Pajero’s award-winning toughness and towing ability with nice leather seats, wood grain trim and comprehensive specifications.
Stickered at $76,790, the Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed enjoys a significant price advantage over the Toyota Prado Kakadu.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed Engine
Mitsubishi Pajero scores the latest 3.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with 147kW of power at 3,800rpm and peak torque of 441Nm from as low as 2,000rpm. To compare: Toyota’s Prado is powered by a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel with 127kW/410Nm.
For the current model Mitsubishi Pajero, engineers concentrated on reducing engine noise and fuel consumption – now down to 9.2l/100kms. Amongst the changes were revised ports and a larger variable geometry turbocharger.
Drive is via a five-speed automatic transmission and a dual-range 4WD transfer case.
While still not the quietest turbo-diesel engine on the market, behind the wheel, you immediately get the impression the Mitsubishi Pajero could attach some ropes to Tasmania and tow it back to the mainland. For the statistically minded, Mitsubishi Pajero has a rated towing capacity of three-tonnes and a maximum tow ball load of 180kgs (or 250kgs when towing 2500kgs or less – the usual combination in Australia).
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed The Interior
Mitsubishi Pajero ramps-up the luxury kit big-time for the Exceed model. The smell of the leather seats (‘leather look’ for the third row) sets-up the luxury ambience as soon as you open the door.
For the driver, Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed delivers 8-way electric adjustment for the seat (4-way for the front passenger) and the nice leather/wood grain steering wheel and sporty alloy pedals further the luxury feel. The wood grain trim throughout is stylish.
Instruments are conventional but we must commend Mitsubishi for modern, colourful graphics for the secondary information displayed on a screen between the two gauges.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed scores the excellent Rockford Acoustic Design 860 Watt audio system with 12 speakers. Centre dash is the Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System, which includes the satellite navigation screen.
Second row passengers get reclining adjustment for their seats and the large fold-down center armrest with cup holders got the approval of the Car Showroom juniors on our road trip. For load carrying, the second row seat splits 60:40 and tumble-folds away to max the cargo area.
The third row bench seat is really best for youngsters (a bit short on legroom) but folds nicely flat for cargo-carrying when not in use.
With the second and third rows folded away, the Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed provides a massive 1,758 litres of cargo space.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed Exterior & Styling
The current Mitsubishi Pajero has been around for a while and the current NT range still looks good – highlighted by its purposeful on-road stance and broad, flared front wheel arches.
At the front, Mitsubishi Pajero highlights a large grille and modern headlights (Exceed gains a chrome grille) while the side is dominated by the curves around the wheel arches and a large glasshouse.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed runs 18-inch alloy wheels.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed On The Road
Our week in the Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed coincided with Melbourne’s record-breaking spring rains, which disrupted many sporting events but didn’t challenge the Pajero at all. In fact we had the perfect vehicle to cross flooded intersections (maximum rated fording depth is 700mm).
The 3.2-litre turbo-diesel doesn’t match the latest Europeans for quiet operation, but it’s as strong as an ox with good pulling power from low revs and (helped by the nicely-spaced ratios of the five-speed automatic) handy responsiveness for freeway merging.
Unlike some rivals, the Mitsubishi Pajero is uncomplicated – the easy-to-use cruise control buttons are on the right spoke of the steering wheel and the satellite navigation system was intuitive.
Without the Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed’s standard reversing camera, parking in our ridiculously tight CBD car park would have been challenging, as rear three-quarter visibility is a tad restricted. Those parking maneuvers were aided by the impressively small 11.4-metre turning circle (a feature also appreciated off-road and when towing).
Over our high-speed mountain roads loop, the Mitsubishi Pajero performed on par with rival mid-size SUVS – a bit more body roll than the Europeans but still nicely balanced and predictable.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed Challenges
The Europeans in particular have raised the bar when it comes to quiet, refined turbo-diesel engines and the 3.2-litre fitted to the Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed doesn’t match the best in that department.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed Verdict
Mitsubishi Pajero leads the field for towing prowess and off-road ability. The Exceed model tosses-in plenty of kit to deliver an undeniable luxury twist to an impressive package.
Load-up the family, hitch-up the van and the Pajero won’t disappoint.
Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed The Competition
Toyota’s Prado is the most obvious Mitsubishi Pajero rival and while Toyota’s turbo-diesel lags in performance compared to the Pajero, the top-selling Prado is an impressive all-round package (albeit in Kakudu specification some $12,000 more expensive than the Pajero Exceed).
You should also look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee.