First- and second-generation Mitsubishi Pajeros have a strong following among off-road enthusiasts. You see them everywhere from winch challenges to easy tag-alongs. I've never thought they were all that good off-road, but really liked driving them on the road. Off the highway, their independent front suspension put them at an immediate disadvantage to their beam-axled Nissan, Toyota, Land Rover and Jeep rivals. Still, lots of people obviously like them for the tracks and trails. Not so of the third and fourth generations, though. I rarely seem them on the track. The Gen 3s were pretty useless off-road, what with their all-independent suspension, until the factory fitted electronic traction control. Since then, they've been good, as long as the vehicle has enough ground clearance.
The trouble with the Pajero now, I've decided after a week with the top Exceed model, is that it’s become a bit tired. That’s no fault of the vehicle itself; blame the march of technology. It’s falling behind in such areas as NVH, ride and handling. The 3.2 litre 150kW and 448Nm engine is too noisy, rough and power-strapped for the 2012 market. I guess you could get the V6 petrol but you’d be swapping 9.2 litres of diesel per 100km for 13.5. Update: NZ4WD magazine has rated this Pajero as unbeatable by its rivals off-road. No, it wasn't the April Fool's issue either, but in November 2012. You go figure!