The Pajero is a so-called ?grey import?, which is imported directly from Japan without official sanction of Mitsubishi Motors. They are almost identical to the Mitsubishi Shogun sold in this country for a number of years (1980?s-onwards), what the mechanical/electrical differences are I?m not exactly sure and it seems that the majority of people that deal with them aren?t sure either. The majority of ?greys? speedometers are in kilometres per hour, however ours has been converted to Miles Per Hour. The major difference between the official and grey versions is the level of equipment with the Pajero being far superior to the Shogun, depending of course on the specification level. The most obvious difference between Pajero/Shogun is the ?greys? colour scheme, with Pajero?s usually having a different coloured centre section. The long wheel-base Pajero is available in petrol (3.0 V6, 3.5 V6) and two diesel variants 2.5 and 2.8 litre, a visual difference between the diesels is the air vent on the bonnet is usually only on 2.8litre version.
Spares and repairs
There have been many scare stories about the availability of spares and dealers refusing to work on them. This has allowed the specialist garages to pop-up to do this work and for any concerns that you have, I suggest you look at the World Wide Web and at the various owners clubs to highlight problems. Personally apart from oil, oil and air filters (and a headlight bulb) I have not had to obtain any spares but I?m confident that I will be able to get them either from the dealers, the specialist dealers or scrap yards. You may ask why am I confident, well, money is a powerful weapon and car spares generate lots of income for manufacturers.
There are a large number of insurance companies that will insure y
ou, I?m currently insured with Tesco and their rates are reasonable, but this would depend on your personal circumstances. Some major insurance companies will not insure the car - apparently because its imported - I reminded some insurance companies that I dealt with that all Japanese cars are IMPORTED! This shows how large companies support each other and some would say maybe corruptly, this is entirely acceptable and apparently they operate within the law, so much for freedom of choice.
Moving onto our vehicle, we have had our Pajero (long wheelbase- Exceed) for a year now and yes it does do the school run. My wife likes the feeling of the safety and the commanding driving position. The car is almost ten years old and is very well equipped. The following list shows the basic details
· Large 5-door 4x4 vehicle with seven seats
· 2.8 litre Turbo-diesel engine
· Automatic gearbox (three speed with overdrive) facilities for 2 wheel drive (Normal), 4 wheel drive (low & high gearing)
· Power steering
· Cat 1 Alarm (& immobiliser)
· Electric heated mirrors
· Electric windows x 4
· Digital Air Conditioning (Full climate control)
· Digital Compass
· Large electric sunroof
· Electric Aerial
· Outside/inside temperature gauge
· Electronically adjustable suspension (just operated by switch)
· Toolkit including torch
· Various holders throughout the car
· Hardwearing velour style seating material
· Sun visors with backlit mirrors
· Twin batteries (2 x 12 volts)
It has a very good ride for an ?off-road? vehicle and handles reasonably well for such a large car, The large mirrors assist with all round vision and the brakes are progre
ssive and able to stop this two-ton beast with great aplomb. The commanding driving position is another positive and adds to the overall feeling of safety of the vehicle as the more observant driver should be able to spot any dangers earlier. It is no dragster but is able to comfortably keep up with traffic both around town and on the motorways. The power steering is well weighted and is light enough for tight manoeuvring, however the turning circle is not small!
They are some down points to driving, although the vehicle is no longer or wider than other vehicles it can nevertheless feel a large vehicle (strange that!), because of this smaller gaps are avoided and reversing can be a bind, although the large mirrors are very useful. Parking the car accentuates previous comments. The indicator stalk is on the right hand side, so quite often I indicate with my wipers!
The seats are very comfortable and have multiple manual settings, it is roomy and still remains a good looking classically shaped car.
The car is not very economical and around town only achieves around 20mpg (28mpg on long runs), however to be fair it is a heavy vehicle and this sort of mileage return was expected. It does sound typically diesel and the automatic gearbox does not always seem perfectly matched to the turbo-diesel engine.
The most impressive feature for me is the digital air conditioning and I know that many people say that we don?t need air con in this country, how wrong I think you are. It is a godsend on any warm day and because it is available throughout the whole interior even the kids are aware of the benefits. The compass (seems very accurate) has a certain novelty factor and the children like it. The same can be said for the interior/exterior temperature gauge but once again the children like it and ?guess the temperature? game is often played. The car has neve
r been off-roading to my knowledge and is never likely too, so for us some of the features such as compass, altimeter will never be used, however for some that will go off-road they may well come in handy. The suspension has three settings, Soft, Normal and Hard. These again allow the suspension to be changed to suit different driving conditions. This can all be done with the flick of a switch.
In contrast to luxury feel of this car. The reception of the radio is very poor and this is not just our car, this is all ?greys? and means that some radio stations can?t be picked up.
This has been excellent, the only item that has required any attention is a replacement headlamp bulb (£5 and a couple of minutes of my time). The best thing is that when you turn the key it always starts first time providing of course you have deactivated the immobiliser.
With all things considered we are pleased with this car, it still remains in outstanding condition for the year both externally and internally, the engine (apart from the diesel engine noise) is first class and contrary to ?popular belief? it is well suited to the school run as the car is normally full of children and saves at least three other cars being used.