Long-term intro: Vivek's 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero

Long-term intro: Vivek’s 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero

Owning a four-wheel-drive is a dream for the majority of the population in the Middle East, particularly due to the excessive feeling of safety, the commanding view and availability of cheap gasoline. Sadly enough, barely a few realise the true potential of these vehicles, the result being these unfortunate four-wheel-drives living the life of a budget sedan. One such commonly-seen family SUV is the Mitsubishi Pajero, which also happens to be our new long-term hauler.

The 2010-model-year vehicle we bought for around Dhs 93,000 is a 3.5-litre medium-line variant, which positions itself right below the top-spec model. Mated to an ancient-yet-smooth 4-speed tiptronic transmission, the engine is a pre-historic non-MIVEC unit churning out a measly 189 hp at 4,750 rpm and a reasonable 306 Nm of torque at 3,750 rpm. Although it takes a leisurely 12.2 seconds for the Pajero to cross 100 kph, a vast chunk of torque available in the lower power band helps the truck to leap from standstill and hit 40 kph in a mere 2.9 seconds, making it a great off-roader too. The unrefined and gruff-sounding engine has been hushed up well through good use of sound-deadening materials, and only a non-intrusive wheeze is audible under hard throttle. Fuel efficiency is average as expected from the antique motor, with readings varying between an appalling 26.2 litres/100 km in slow-moving city traffic, a surprising 13.7 litres/100 km on highways and an average 15.3 l/100 km in combined conditions.

Standard features in the Pajero include power windows, electric-folding power mirrors, automatic a/c, separately-controlled rear a/c for second and third-row passengers, footwell lighting, 6-CD in-dash MP3 player, front driver and passenger airbags, and front fog lamps. Features including puddle lamps, roof-rails, rear spoiler, cruise control, steering wheel controls, cooler box, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a couple of extra speakers, differentiates it from the lower-mid and basic models. Finding a good driving position may be a hassle for some tall folks as the 8-way manually-adjustable driver’s seat does not offer much flexibility and there is no lumbar support, add to it a steering that is non-telescopic. Things are better in the top-spec model with a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and lumbar support. Sporting seats for seven, the Pajero has fully reclining and folding second-row seats, while the third row bench-type seats, which are adequate for a couple of frail not-very-tall pre-teens, are foldable and removable too.

Interior quality and fit-and-finish seems good even though hard plastics have been used everywhere except the top dash and upper door panels, which receives soft-touch materials. There is faux wood lining on the centre dash, extending all the way to the doors. Seats are fabric while the steering wheel, gearshift lever, transfer-case lever and the hand-brake lever are all leather-stitched.

The air-conditioner is a typical Japanese unit which freezes down the interior in no time, but suffers from frequent compressor cut-offs while idling in uncompromising outside heat. There are two 12-volt power outlets, one in the lower center-dash and the other in the boot. Cup-holders are present in the centre console, rear-seat centre armrests and even for third-row seat occupants. The cabin is generally silent with only wind noise creeping in after 110 kph. There is no hint of road noise until 140 kph.

The Pajero, sporting a monocoque design and independent suspension setup, behaves well on the tarmac with good road grip and mild-to-moderate body roll. Pulling off some quick moves, such as sharp lane changing and taking bends faster, does not unsettle the vehicle. However, it does tend to oversteer when taken beyond limits, and those limits are fairly high for an SUV anyway. The top-spec model features Active Stability Control to keep an eye on bad luck, though sensible drivers would not miss it. The power-assisted steering has mild feedback and the ride quality is slightly on the firmer side though road imperfections are soaked up well without affecting comfort. The automatic gearshifts are seamless and manual shifts are spot-on with no noticeable delay.

The sophisticated part-time four-wheel-drive transfer case in the Pajero come with four drive modes, namely two-wheel-drive, full-time all-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive with centre differential locked, and finally, four-wheel-drive with centre differential locked and low-range gearing. A rear differential lock is reserved only for the top-spec variant. While barely managing to keep up with economy sub-compacts on the streets, the Pajero keeps up with most big players when it comes to off-tarmac entertainment, largely helped by vast amounts of low-end power. During our preliminary off-road tests in the desert, the Pajero surprised us by performing significantly better than the previous-generation Ford Explorer, while fiercely keeping up with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner V6. We’ll talk more on its off-road capabilities in the coming months.

The Mitsubishi Pajero has always been a favourite alternative to the ruling Japanese four-wheel-drives in the region. In UAE, awful dealer service-centre experiences and ridiculously-expensive spare parts afflicts its image; yet, the Pajero is very common on the streets solely due to lower buying costs and the trust the brand receives from the consumers for their rock-solid reliability. Coincidentally, this happens to be our second Mitsubishi as a long-term vehicle, alongside the Mitsubishi Galant. Our journey with the Pajero is going to be a roller-coaster one as it is destined to bash the dunes and wadis in the region besides wading through the morning traffic every weekday. To keep track of the excitement, watch out for our long-term updates on this one.

What do you think?



  1. Is that a special numberplate ??? :/

  2. Is the bull bar you installed still legal on the road? Have you had any problems with re-registration with it?

    • it was there when I bought it. Did not faced any issues due to it..

    • Small ones are legal. And those big ones which come with the vehicle. Like in G55 AMG.

      My dad’s old Isuzu Trooper had a big one and was asked to remove when selling but the new owner re-installed it and did registration renewal twice without any problem.

  3. i have pajero 3door 3.8 liter engine with 250 hp and i got better fuel economy numbers my lowest was 9 l/100km highest 20 l/100 my average was 14 l/100. omg next time plz dont compare crappy fortuner to pajero in offroading, the pajero completely obliterates it in offroading.

    • you said the reason for better fuel economy yourself..hehe :D..

      as for fortuner, i would not call it’s off-road performance crappy unless you are referring to the 2.7-litre variant.

    • Good review Vivek. Rana, However, Fortuner can be crap on road. It’s too good offroad, if someone has really tested it, already has superb ground clearance. Yes the 2.7 is sluggish, but thats what is used by most of the families as family hauler in UAE but even that one can easily pull itself out of trouble, if required. Something which is a glorified pickup truck cannot be or should not be written off or underestimated easily.

    • ^^ i agree..and off-roading is all about skill anyway..

    • actually how can i get better fuel economy than you with a bigger engine and more horses??
      v6turbo: the 4wheel drive system of the fortuner is not as advanced as the pajeros thats what i meant 🙂

    • ^^ because your vehicle is smaller and lighter..there is no stress on the engine whatsoever…mine is much bigger, heavier and yet runs with a 3.5-litre engine, which will result in the engine consuming more fuel to get the thing moving..

    • 2.7ltr in the Fortuner is good. But the automatic transmission kills all the power. Try the same in manual transmission. You will be amazed.

    • but still its not that light you know its 2 tons maybe the 5door is 100 kilos more 🙂

    • rana i am a offroad enthusiast for a long time and my fortuner will bring shame on your pajero anytime mate :-)design wise your pajero sucks in the steepest part of the dunes got many experiences on it it always cries for help believe me 🙂

    • tassadar all i have to say to you is DREAM ON 😛

  4. 4 wheel drive system alone doesn’t qualify for good 4×4, its combination of Power, Transmission, Space, Off Road modifications available in market, Maintainence & finally driver skills. Thats why, we have so many good 4×4’s from Wranglers,to FJ’s to Xterra’s and Rover’s but still a Lancrusier easily rules the dunes. Don’t you guys think desert safari guys must have checked all these parameters and tested these vehicles, thats what they choose, the best, a good comformatble family hauler , that can be called for offroad duty anytime, and bang Landcrusier wins.

    • the landcrusier wins cause its easier to fix and has off road modifications in the middle east but all the other things you said the pajero has it has power transmission space and the best 4wheel drive system of them all. and while you didnt include the pajero with the wrangler and the fj and the rover which the pajero runs circles around in offroading that mean you dont think it can keep up with them.
      frankly i think pajero is just as good as lancruiser in offroading.
      as for comfort i admit that my 3door is on the firmer side but i like it that way its not bouncy, but maybe the longer wheel base 5 door is more on the comfort side.

    • Ya. Its the availability of aftermarket parts that made Land Cruiser their best choice. And if anything goes wrong most mechanics are familiar with it. And if you notice there is no other SUVs in the market which has these good option and finally in a manual tranny (except the Patrol Y62 which is too big).

      Pajero is good vehicle too. Off roading with family and friends its great.

    • Power nope, I too have a 2 door Pajero. I won’t put it in league of Nissan and Toyota (though, now all the japanese engine need new versions, Koreans are making too good engines, may of them are in wards best engine list, also Ford), in papers it may look good the real life pull is lethargic. And Space, Pajero is mid sizer, the other two Prado and Pathfinder also have cramped rear sitting, Pajero’s rear sitting is the biggest joke among the trio, the Pilot has best 3rd in midsizers but Honda’s 4×4 system, is not that popular. I am not saying its a bad vehicle, its best bang for buck, just that many 4×4’s fail in one or other parameters, Landcrsuier ticks almosts all the boxes.

    • Well..lets not have an argument here..I have driven all the vehicles mentioned here both on and off-road..All the vehicles are good off-roaders; but if you compare them side-by-side in terms of power, i’m afraid that the Pajero is not really up-to-the-mark..off the tarmac, its a different ball-game altogether, where more than power, it is the driver skill that matters..A 3.5-litre Pajero will definitely keep up with an LC if the driver is good enough..And a Suzuki Jimny will easily keep up with both if the driver has enough skills despite the lack of power..But things change on the road..If you compare the Pajero 3.5 or 3.8 (both V6) with a V6 Fortuner, Prado, LC etc, on the road, Pajero will most likely end up the last. Because the 3.8 Pajero lacks the low-end grunt of the Toyotas, Nissans and Hondas, while the 3.5-litre Pajero might keep up until 50 kph, before it loses out in horsepower! As for Honda’s 4×4 system, it lacks low-range gearing..so its only good as long as you manage to get stuck. Toyota’s systems are old-school, but simple in nature and ofcourse, proven capable..The Pajero has it all right too; a sophisticated 4×4 system whch can provide both 2wd mode and an all-time 4×4 mode at the same time, optional rear diff lock, tip-tronic gears with almost instant shifts, good chassis and suspension tuning (not bouncy like the Prado and not as firm as the Fortuner, good manners both on and off-road) and in the case of 3.5l V6, lots of low-end power too..LC is famous coz it is the best all-rounder one can find..lots of space, good comfort, fuel efficiency, great engine, mechanically simple to maintain and repair, spacious, and cheaper to maintain due to dirt cheap parts..

    • you might have the old one cause my cause i have raced with a v6 fortuner and a v6 prado and landcruiser and fj and i didnt end up last the fortuner was last then the prado and then the landcruiser and my pajero and fj tied while the fj has more power and torque and is lighter than my pajero and one last thing nissan patrol is a joke the older version and usually v8 suv like tahoe and yukon have a hard time beating me but remember i have the 3door 3.8 litre 250 hp.
      and about the rear space in the pajero i have fat friends ok and my car is 3door and i can fit
      3 people in the back comfortably and this is the three door version so i highly doubt the five door has less room in the back then the three door and i have heard some people say that the new prado is less spacy than the older one and they said that the pajero had more space cause they went to both dealers and say the pajero was bigger so they got it instead of prado.

    • Ok Rana, now i didn’t take about 2nd row, its the third row, which i compared. 2nd row is spacious, and i never talked about Patrol, its Pathfinder i talked about. When i compared the instant pickup, i compared the 5 door versions of Pajero , Prado and Pathfinder. Patrol is in different league, old one an offroad legend, though like wrangler it had a prehistoric engine. By the way heard new Wrangler has had a heart transplant recently and very good reviews everywhere. So somebody who bought it recently may be able to comment on it. I bought a 3 door, because with reduced vehicle weight i will get better milegae and power to weight ratio, offcourse its in firmer side compared to its bigger brother, 2 row is very good and the boot has enough space as compared to sedan. So i choose 2 door over 5 door with useless 3rd row, plus its very agile and easy to park than 7 seaters, which most of people drive with 2-3 persons.

    • and the 3door is much nicer too 🙂
      what people dont get and what im trying to prove is that the pajero isnt a bad car its far from that but ofcourse it comes with a few shortcoming but not what people accuse it to be they say its painfully slow which i havent experienced that i find that its power is adequate for most people ofcourse i would like maybe 20 or 30 horses more with a bit more torque.
      what i think is that people bash the pajero cause of its image that its for cheap people.
      dont know bout uae but here in kuwait thats how they think.
      cause when i bought the pajero they called me an idiot for buying it. i liked the 3door version its so nice in my opinion but they were like why didnt you get prado or toureg or fj.
      the prado three door version in kuwait only comes in v4 and the pajero in my opinion looks much nicer than the prado looks bland even the interior looks much cooler. i feel the prado is more for older people.

  5. Does Pajeros have rear fog lights? I have seen a few Pajeros with light lit on the spare tire cover.

  6. I’ve got the 2008 3.8l version and i am satisfied with the car. Its gone 128k kms and is still smooth. The prado top of the line is more comfortable but for 30k less I am getting all that i need.

    ive taken it offroad twice and both the times i was not dissappointed. I agree with Vivek as they have the worst service and support teams in the region. The 3.8 version in not gr8 on the mileage but it is powerful enough.

  7. The car havent changed over a decade if not more & it is a really successful one.. The fact it is built on old fashioned standards makes it quite solid & hopefully it should remain like that for a long time..

  8. I have a 93 Nissan patrol 5 door and it kills fortuner and pajero and also Landcruiser it got plenty of power 4.2 carbureted 😉 Not just power Mashallah it has a Solid Body and Good Ground clearance

    • Good to know you have one. Could you tell about the fuel economy of that engine? Full tank cost and distance you can cover? I have been searching for the TB42 fuel economy.

  9. Tb42 is Better than The Tb48 alot i think TB42 is 13L/100km

  10. Full tank is 130dhs its 75 loter tank 1 tank i went from dubai Jafliya till shj in 10dhs and also it had till shj snayiya Its a great Suv for Desert safari

  11. I had a Nissan Xterra Off Road version. I loved it because it was jumping like a tiger. But the front design was totally vulnerable. Low radiator, low bumper always breaking. After 3 inches lift, it was acceptable, but a bit heavy on the dunes. The body was deforming sometimes I almost could not open the rear door. We had a Pajero 3.0 SWB, but I tought it would break in the sand, I did not try it until the X was available. Later I tied it and realized, it is at least in pait with the mod X. SWB is the king. I have purchased one for myself with 3.8 SWB. Lifted 4 cm, cut the corners of the bumper. I have put the Jeeps to shame on the Pink Rock. It is a killer for any competitor. (Careful, its IFS not SA) Nothing to break on the front. Nothing! Excellent 4×4!!!Good on the road, too.

  12. Hello there Mr.Twister, I am just curious to how and where you did the 4cm (Did you mean Inches) lift. I was told that the Pajero can not be lifted as it has individual suspension. Would appreciate if you can share some pics of the mods you’ve done.

  13. on road which would be better? pajero or gmc terrain…

  14. Does the Pajero 3.8l consume a lot of fuel on a normal Sharjah 2 Dubai and vice-versa trip everyday.

    According to the info provided, it consumes 13/100 km. Is that specific or varies according to the driver? Also in how much does the tank get full with ‘Special’ petrol and what range does it give?

    • depends on the traffic conditions on the road besides driving style. In heavy traffic, 13L/100km is near to impossible no matter how much care you take; on open roads though, you can get even lower figures provided you treat the accelerator with some love.

      A full tank would cost you upto 130 dhs, if you empty it beyond reserve levels. On a 3.8L, that means well over 500 kms of highway drive and about 420-450 kms of highway-city drive.

    • i own a 2012 3.8 myself and the tank size in relatio to the consumption is absolute rediculous. in the city (during reasonable drives), consumption goes up to 16-18l/100km (same goes for a mate, who also has a 2012 3.8)..

      dxb-auh highways are manageable with 13-15l/100km..

      great car, fully loaded, very cheap and reliable, but some things are reall y frustrating: tank size, elect windows, interior noise, etc

    • well…my 3.5L gets me about 19-24l/100km during reasonable-to-choked-up city drives. beat that! 😛

  15. lol, vivek. i think even a leopard2 would have trouble matching that 😉

  16. Any suggestions on the Honda Pilot 2013. I heard it is the best Mid size SUV in terms of comfort and Engine refinement (I admit that it is not that great for offroading). The 2nd version comes at 150k while the base starts at 130k. Was planning on buying one.

    • heard good things about it from friends. very solid city commuter with plenty of space especially given the low price point.

    • Pilot has better comfort and engine refinement than the Pajero. But the price and equipment advantage remains the Pajeros plus.

  17. Thanks vivek, any recommendations as confused between Pajero and Honda CRV as to which is comfortable for 5 adults along with good stereo, A/C and features and of course with reasonable servicing,maintenance and fuel consumption.


  18. Comparatively with the GMC Terrain, how does the CRV fare in power, smoothness and features?

    • Not sure abt the new GMC Terrain; there is a review of the V6 Terrain by Mash, check it out. CR-V has decent power, is one of the smoothest CUV’s, and has decent specs n features.

  19. Hello
    I’v juste arrived to abu dhabi.
    Pagero, pathfinder or the too expensiv prado?

  20. HI Vivek, Great review. I am looking for a SUV for commuting Shj-Dubai. SO emphasis on mileage, cheap maintenance and good resale value. Not much of off-roading except occasional trips to AlKhan beach where my Civic got stuck twice :).I am confused between Pajero, CRV, XTrail and Rav 4. How is the Escape or Edge from Ford ? I also love the Hyndai Tucson but have heard it doesn’t resell well in this region.

    • Contrary to what you heard, Tucson is one of Hyundai’s best-selling model in the region, and does hold it’s value to a fair extent.

      Of all those you have mentioned, CR-V sounds good; you may keep the Ford Edge as a second option, its good value for money as you are getting a mid-size SUV with V6 engine vs. Honda’s compact SUV with a 4-cyl motor, for roughly the same price range. Pajero is a fuel-hog when it comes to traffic, X-Trail is dead I believe; they are selling leftover stock if I am not wrong, and Rav-4 might change its shape soon. Ford Escape will change shape soon, and will depreciate even before it has left the showroom.

      Test drive the vehicles before you make a decision.

  21. hi, vivek i want to buy 7 seater just tell me pajero which one is good 3.0 or 3.8 thanks

    • Depends on your use and criteria. You want better on-road power and very good off-road prowess, then 3.8 is the way to go. If you mostly do city driving and want some off-road gear, then 3.0L is fine. If you do not care about off-road at all, or does only mild off-roading, then there are better vehicles, like the Hyundai Santa-Fe.


  23. …chasing some expertise here. Is it better to get a paj 3.8 rather than the ubiquitous 3.5? does it accelerate much faster? and which is more fuel efficient?

    In other words… is it worthy the extra cash?


    • I would say, test drive both the vehicles. In terms of overall acceleration, the 3.8L variant is faster. On the road, it has better power in the mid and upper speed ranges. Both vehicles are equally bad when it comes to urban fuel efficiency. On the highways though, I would prefer to lean towards the 3.8L version, since it has an extra transmission gear (5 spd vs. 4spd in 3.5), and would rev lesser at higher highway speeds.

  24. Hi Vivek

    i see lot of information abt the pajero and CRV ……..we very confused between CRV and Pajero – given the fact Pajero is giving a better deal ( VFM ) vis a vis CRV. We are not into offroading……but looking for a SUV that is strong, stylish. honestly never tried off roading, dont know if buying a 4X4 might make me try………but overall if you compare CRV / Pajero – more for city and long drives like fujairah / salalah….what do u recommend ………keeping in mind the maintenance cost too
    also is ford really tuff to resell in the ME region?

    • Pajero is not so smooth especially for highway. If you are planning to go off road you don’t have think for another choice. Pajero is it.

      CRV is a good vehicle. You can go for light off roading with it.

    • When it comes to smoothness and NVH levels, it is CR-V hands down. Unless you go off-road, or would love to try it out at some point, there is no point in getting the Pajero.

      I am a Ford owner three times over. Yes, it does not sell as fast as a Toyota, or even a Honda. But it does sell, and models like the Edge, Focus & Explorer, all have fair resale values.

  25. hi vivek

    is there any major improvement (other than outer looks) between this model and the previous? am talking about the previous design (2000 to 2006) and to be more specific am comparing the 3.8 versions,

    i want a second, off-road car but not interested in investing much money, so am looking for something like 3.8 2006 or 3.8 2007-2008

    if there is no difference in off road capabilities between the different models ill go for the 2006

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