Road Test

Road Test: 2012 Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 DiD

February 27, 2012

Mitsubishi Pajero 2012_01When almost every carmaker in these days have a SUV in their line-up, it’s nice to know that there still are also some real off-roaders available. Mitsubishi Pajero stays loyal to its heritance and keeps on providing a real off-roading capability. Eventhough the styling has been updated a few times during the three decades of the car’s history, Mitsubishi Pajero is easily recognizable. Its off-road attitude is still clearly expressed in its design. The short bonnet, tall upright windscreen, low waistline, huge wheelarches, short front overhang and side-hinged tailgate with externally mounted spare wheel are all part of the Pajero’s traditional styling. The upright windscreen, huge side windows, large wing mirrors and high seating position are designed to give the driver a good all-round visibility.

The basis of this off-roader is a robust monocoque chassis with built-in ladder frame. At the front Mitsubishi Pajero has double wishbone suspension and at the rear there is a multi-link configuration. As the car have been designed to perform on the off-road as well, the on-road driving performance isn’t as comfortable as what you might have get used to in a SUV. On the road there is a bit more body roll than what you get in a SUV and when driving on an uneven road, the small bumps are passed on to the cabin. Another thing that is a bit different than in a SUV is the steering. Pajero has a power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering setup that has been designed to work on- and off-road. The steering is quite slow and at first it feels loose and inaccurate, until you get used to it. The test drive car was equipped with 17-inch wheels with and wide studdles winter tyres, which had their own effect on the bit strange steering feel.

Mitsubishi Pajero is powered by a four-cylinder, 3.2-litre turbo diesel engine. It produces 200 horsepower and 441 Newton metres of torque. As the Pajero is pretty heavy car, the 200 horsepower doesn’t provide very sporty performance, but that’s not really the main thing in a car like this. More important is the engine’s ability to provide a lot of torque on low revs, which is needed when driving up the hill or pulling a trailer. The 441 Newton metres top torque is available at 2000rpm. However, the on-road performance of the Pajero is fairly good, eventhough the acceleration time 11,1 seconds from zero to hundred km/h sounds quite slow.

Thanks to the huge torque, Pajero provides surprisingly good overtaking performance. And thanks to the excellent four-wheel drive system, Pajero can always provide it’s best performance, even on a slippery winter roads. The CO2 emissions are 224 g/km and the average EU fuel consumption is 8,5 litres, which makes the Pajero a quite economical 4×4. However, the consumption is naturally a bit bigger in winter time, when driving with the four-wheel drive. Mitsubishi Pajero’s 5-speed automatic transmission seems a good partner for this engine, but an extra gear would provide a better performance and even smaller consumption.

To make sure that the engine’s power is always used efficiently, Mitsubishi Pajero is equipped with an excellent four-wheel drive system. The system incorporates a centre differential lock and auxiliary transmission. Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4 II system offers four driving modes; 2H rear-wheel drive, 4H four-wheel drive, 4HLc that locks up the centre differential and 4LLC low ratio drive. The driving mode is chosen by using a leather-topped lever next to the gearlever. The 2H rear wheel drive mode is best for on-road driving in good road conditions. The 2H drive mode is supposed to improve the fuel economy by 3%. The 4H full-time all-wheel drive mode is the standard operating mode for the Super Select 4 II. The standard torque split is 33% front and 67% rear. The planetary gear type centre differential uses a viscous coupling to continuously balance torque split. On wet or low friction surfaces the viscous coupling can send up to half the torque to the front axle for enhanced traction.

The 4HLc mode locks up the centre differential to deliver steady traction when driving in soft snow, sand or dirt. The final choice is the 4LLc mode with low gear and centre differential lockup, which is designed for real off-road driving. When driving with the 4HLc or 4LLc mode, the rear differential lock can be engaged by a push of a button. This is not intended fro a continuous drive, but to help to get through a really bad spot. So as the on- or off-road conditions gets more challenging you just move that leather-topped lever to the next mode. If you still get stucked with the Pajero, it is most probably because of the car’s 220mm ground clearance, or the fact that your car’s street tyres run out of traction.



  • Diesel
  • 4-cylinder
  • 3200cc
  • Turbo


  • 147 kW (200 hp) / 3800rpm


  • 441 Nm / 2000rpm


  • 5-speed automatic
  • AWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 11.1 seconds

Top speed

  • 180 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 8.5 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 224 g/km

Mitsubishi Pajero 2012_06