September 10, 2011

When newest isn't always best

Have you noticed how new models often don’t look as good – or function as well off-road – as their predecessor? For example, the second-generation Prado (ie the first to come to NZ, replacing the 4Runner) compared to the current one; or a second-generation Pajero versus its successors. Or an original Jeep Cherokee compared to today's oddity. I took the photo above in 1994 of a then-new short wheelbase 3.0 V6 manual Pajero; doesn’t it look good and fit for purpose? In those days, it had a separate chassis, decent clearances, a solid rear axle … and few of today’s safety features. Fit a decent front bumper, proper tyres and it would be ready for some fairly serious off-road adventures. Below is a current-shape 3.2 litre diesel Exceed about to get friendly with some rocks during its 2007 launch at Waiouru. Okay, it’s a four-door, but ignoring that it’s still fat, too close to the ground, and it’s too easy for that front bumper assembly to take a wallet-punishing hit. On top of that, its styling has gone strange. This isn’t an anti-Pajero tirade; I’m just using it as an example of how, as designs evolve, they become less suitable for us off-roaders as well as looking, well, silly.

Incidentally, both Pajeros are still going strong. The ’94 has amassed some 228,000km and the Exceed, getting on for 70,000.


  1. You dont know what your talking about, modrn 4x4s are way better offroad because of their eelctronic systems

  2. Ah, so that would explain why VW Touaregs and Mercedes M-Classes dominate winch competitions, then.

  3. Electronics are good, diff locks are better!