Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, so goes the famous Dickens quotation and truly this is how I feel about the 2014 Mitsubishi Pajero.
Here is a vehicle that is a familiar sight on Australian roads and is a vehicle that offers, on paper at least, just about everything that many Australian family car buyers are searching for.
Gone is that thirsty V6 petrol engine that featured so prominently in the Pajero line-up for so long, in its place is an economical diesel engine that delivers plenty of power and torque – 147kW and 441Nm to be exact.
You also get seven seats, genuinely very good off-road ability, generous warranty, five-star safety and a three tonne (braked) towing capacity.
Sounds pretty good right? Well, unfortunately the Mitsubishi Pajero is starting to feel like a vehicle that is well overdue for a significant refresh.
The current fourth generation Pajero is almost exactly the same as the third generation model it replaced back in 2006, a model that had been around since 1999!
I’m not saying the Pajero is unattractive; it’s just starting to look like it was designed in the 1990’s. A completely new Mitsubishi Pajero is on the way and, frankly, it can’t come soon enough.
But, does that mean what’s in Mitsubishi dealerships right now should be ignored? Well, there are some good points to take into account.
The diesel engine is a bit noisy and agricultural and while you might be more willing to accept this in a lower grade model, in the top-of-the-range luxury-orientated Exceed the agricultural feel and sound is a letdown.
At least it’s efficient – expect to use around 9.0L/100kms.
The diesel engine suffers from a lack of power; this means it’s fairly slow and disinterested in stop-start driving. It is however more suited to long distance touring where the generous amounts of torque help out enormously.
I was also a little disappointed in the five-speed automatic transmission. I felt it could be more responsive when tackling hills (especially at lower suburban speeds) and when moving downhill, especially given the Pajero weighs in at over 2.3 tonnes, it should be more willing to downshift to provide some engine braking assistance to the brakes.
I found myself pushing the transmission selector over to the ‘manual’ mode to downshift on hills in attempt to take some of the load off the brakes.
The steering in the Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed is also heavier than you might expect and fairly vague too, the ride though is pretty good.
Inside the cabin, well this really is the proverbial ‘mixed bag’. The good bits include a high seating position, generous legroom for occupants in the front two rows, generously sized and quite clever storage areas, and plenty of air-vents and climate control adjustments for the rear seat occupants.
The third row offers accommodation for two very small people, keep in mind though that when those rear seats are in use baggage space is almost non-existent. The third-row of seats does however fold neatly into the floor and this means when not in use you have a very generously sized cargo area.
As you would expect in the flagship Exceed there are plenty of standard features, including; cruise control, Bluetooth with voice commands, sat-nav, reversing camera, power adjustable front seats, large sunroof, 12 speaker stereo and auto headlights and wipers.
Disappointingly though, the Pajero doesn’t offer push-button ignition and steering column adjustment is tilt-only. The metallic paint, as featured on my test vehicle, is a $495 option and the bull-bar is a Mitsubishi genuine accessory.
The entire 2014 Mitsubishi Pajero range offers a full five-star safety rating.
Summing it up; I used to be a big Pajero fan, I even owned one of the old V6 models! The current model though, as stated, is feeling old and tired and that much-promised new model really can’t come fast enough.
There are some good points though and if the styling and feel isn’t a turn-off then give it a test drive – the value offering looks to be the GLX grade, this one starts from $53,990.
Seven-seat, genuine 4×4 competitors to the Mitsubishi Pajero include the Isuzu MU-X, Holden Colorado 7, Toyota LandCruiser and Toyota Prado. While SUV offerings including Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Kluger, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW and 441Nm
Transmission: Five-speed auto, five-speed manual (GLX grade only)
Safety: Five stars
Price: Exceed from $65,990