By Tom Oltoff
To emphasise the ‘go-anywhere’ qualities and features of the 2005 Pajero, Mitsubishi sought the help of Astronaut Charlie Duke, Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 16. Most have probably seen the advertisements in the media which compare the ability of the Lunar Module with that of the Pajero.
The headline states “Pajero has the technology and toughness to take you on your greatest adventure”.
How the Pajero would fare on the moon is obviously conjecture, but when it comes to earthly challenges there isn’t much this 4WD can’t handle. The Lunar Rover’s ability to transverse rough terrain was due to each of the module’s wheels being independently operated for greater traction.
The same principle applies to Mitsubishi’s All-Terrain Technology (MATT) used in the latest Pajero.
Standard on all models, MATT is an advanced system that includes Active Traction Control (ATC). ATC electronically monitors the four wheels for loss of traction and re-directs extra power to wheels that have maintained grip to keep the Pajero on the move.
Combine the ATC with Active Stability Control, Multi Mode Anti-Lock Braking with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Super Select II 4WD and you have a vehicle that offers drivers a lot of confidence when exploring offroad.
Anyone who enjoys driving a car with everything that modern technology can offer will be most impressed with the top-of-the-range Pajero Exceed.
The high-class in-dash multi media system incorporates an AM/FM/CD unit, MP3 player, DVD/VCD player, TV tuner, rear reversing camera and hard disc satellite navigation with offroad GPS guidance mode.
In addition to this front-mounted in-dash system there is also an optional overhead mounted DVD/CD/MP3 player with infra-red headphones. This allows the rear seat passengers to entertain themselves by watching TV or their favourite recorded programs while travelling.
For obvious reasons, the front screen is no longer a TV once on the move.
Power units for the 2005 Pajero are the same as the 2004 model.
There is the powerful 3.2 litre Intercooled turbodiesel as well as the lively 3.8 litre V6 petrol motor. There is a choice of five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
The latter has the ‘Sports Mode’ sequential shift.
With fully independent suspension and a monocoque body with integrated frame, the Pajero is, according to Mitsubishi, the most car-like large 4WD wagon available today. It delivers great on-road dexterity and comfort while still providing rally-winning offroad performance. Mitsubishi’s ability to win the gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally five years in a row, and 10 times in all, attests to this.
Having previously tested the Direct Injection Diesel Pajero, this time we scored a petrol version to try out, a top of the range luxurious Exceed.
The last time we drove a petrol Pajero the engine capacity was 3.5 litres. This has been increased to 3.8 litres and while there is no doubt that it has gained a significant increase in performance, economy wise it is a bit thirstier than the previous 3.5 litre engine. But then, everything comes at a price.
On the road
On-road performance is impressive. Whether it is climbing a hill or overtaking slower traffic there is always ample power when the accelerator is pressed down.
While you wouldn’t call the diesel Pajero noisy, the petrol version takes quietness to another level, adding to the ambience. In fact not so long ago this quietness would have been an outstanding feature on late model passenger cars.
Like many late model petrol engines, the one in the Pajero is much happier if it is revving faster than when labouring at a lower gear.
To get the most out of the engine, and in fact use less fuel, it is beneficial to use the gears. With the auto that means changing gears manually, something that is easy with the ‘Sports Mode’.
You could opt to simply put it in ‘D’ and let the transmission decide when to change up or down. While that may be fine for solo operation, when pulling a load, however, performance is enhanced if the engine can be operated between 2500 and 3000rpm.
As we said earlier, the 3.8 litre engine is not as frugal with fuel as the previous 3.5 litre power plant.
But generally more power can only come from burning more fuel. Solo consumption over 600km of highway operation at mostly 110km/h came out at a respectable 12.5 litres/100km (22.5mpg). With a 18ft (5.5m) tandem Regent caravan in tow and the cruise control set at 90km/h consumption increased to 20 litres/100km (14mpg).
With a total load of close to four tonnes (both car and van were loaded) I thought this was quite acceptable.
There is no denying that a vehicle with a petrol engine is more responsive and generally produces more power. But for long term towing and considering the increasing cost of fuel, the benefits of a diesel would have to be taken in to account when deciding on a suitable vehicle.
In the case of the Pajero, the 3.2 litre diesel not only offers more torque or pulling power, it gets from A to B much more cheaply; and when you are on a budget, that could prove important.
The bottom line
The 2005 Pajero is a car that is hard to fault. It is extremely comfortable, rides
and handles well, has an abundance of power and will cope with offroad conditions that are probably beyond the realm of the average motorist.
When it comes to towing a load, the 2500kg towing capacity is quite realistic, and you can have 250kg on the ball.
For more information on the entire Mitsubishi range and for your nearest dealer visit www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au or call 1300 131 211. The Regent caravan was borrowed from Cameron Caravans in Adelaide, (08) 8276 5444, web: www.cameroncaravanssa.com.au