HARARE – After missing in action for quite a considerable time, the Mitsubishi Pajero has made a dramatic entry into the Zimbabwean market.
This was after a leading luxury vehicle distributor, Zimoco, recently clinched a lucrative deal to distribute and service Mitsubishi vehicles in the country.
The marriage between Zimoco and Mitsubishi, which was consummated nearly two months ago, has already seen the 2016 Mitsubishi Pajero Exceed, GLX and GSL models making an impact on the Zimbabwean market.
With a market price ranging from $58 000 to $62 000, the latest model not only still manages to achieve its primary goal — be an off-road-capable family hauler, but also operates primarily as a rear-wheel drive vehicle and can be transitioned to a four-wheel drive high-range mode at the push of a lever.
Unlike some of its competitors, activating the Pajero’s high-range four-wheel drive leaves the differential open so that the car can be driven on all surfaces. Many other vehicles in this segment that don’t operate as full-time four-wheel drives will lock the centre differential on four-wheel drive activation.
Powering the entire Pajero range is a 3,2 litre turbocharged four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that produces 147kW of power and 441Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox that can be manually shifted on the fly. Mitsubishi claims that it consumes 9,3 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.
A short test-drive on a Monday morning on the open road revealed that while the Pajero might not have the air suspension of a Discovery but it certainly has competitive abilities in most conditions thanks to short overhangs and a more compact size (length is 4 900mm).
The vehicle’s rally-proven all-wheel independent suspension gives drivers confident, predictable handling in even the most unpredictable conditions.
The independent front wishbone-type suspension and rear multi-link double wishbone independent suspension provide quick and natural responses, especially when cornering.
Weight is also an advantage, with the Pajero having a gross combination mass of 2,335kg in Exceed model grade. Maximum payload is 775kg and towing capacity with trailer brakes is 3,000kg (750 without). Ground clearance unladen is 235mm and fording depth is 700mm.
Being tall, top-heavy and not too wide, the Pajero is never going to be in the same league for handling and roadholding as the likes of the BMW X5. But compared to the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, it can certainly be considered as a serious alternative.
These vehicles tend to be bought by people trading in an older example – each has a solid reputation for bulletproof durability and brand loyalty tends to be very strong. Coming with a three-year or 100 000km warranty, that fact alone explains why the big Mitsubishi still sells as well as it does the world over.
Till next week, drive safely!!!
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