Long-term wrap-up: Vivek's Mitsubishi Pajero says goodbye

Long-term wrap-up: Vivek’s Mitsubishi Pajero says goodbye

This is old news for those in the know, but our 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero has bid us goodbye, going back to the same used car dealership we bought it from.

Its life was indeed a roller-coaster one, with a hell of a lot of drives covering most kinds of off-road terrain in the UAE, and even the muddy slippery green mountains of Salalah in Oman. Within a year and quarter of our ownership, we had racked up about 50,000 km on the odometer, most of it owing to our frequent highway cruising on the way to adventure.

Barring the minor cosmetic damage arising from our sort-of-extreme off-road excursions, the Pajero never gave us any serious trouble, minor or major, thanks to the simplistic Japanese mechanical setup. Having owned several American and European cars in the past, we really came to understand the peace-of-mind factor that our Japanese-built Pajero offered. It boasts arguably the same ride quality and handling levels as the Toyota Prado at a cheaper price tag, but falls way behind the segment leader in terms of cabin noise insulation and fuel efficiency, the latter being horrendous for a 3.5-litre engine, with consumption levels rivalling even the fleet Range Rover at times.

As an off-roader, the Mitsubishi Pajero borders on being very capable, although it may require a couple of inches of lift and a rear tow-bar to avoid cosmetic damage. The 3.5-litre engine has good low-end power, and if you have the right skill, it can go many places. The 3.8-litre variant is a better overall package though, simply because it has more power on the road, an extra gear, and comparable fuel efficiency to the 3.5-litre motor, if not better. It is also one of the few SUVs to have a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, offering both two-wheel-drive and the useful automatic all-wheel-drive modes.

The maintenance and spare parts costs for the Mistubishi Pajero were never too high for an SUV, in contrast to what many believe about Mitsubishi vehicles due to the greedy local dealers. All the maintenance work was carried out from a reputed garage in Dubai, and our vehicle always remained in top shape. Upon hitting the 50,000 km mark, we had carried out the service for Dhs 465 using Mobil synthetic oil.

We had bought our Pajero for about Dhs 93,000 from Dynatrade, and after 16 months, we sold it to the same dealer for Dhs 64,000. The resale value was a bit poor largely because our vehicle was not dealer-maintained. And our decision to not advertise it in the classifieds, to avoid the hassle of welcoming a hundred silly visits and subsequent bargaining sessions, saw the value dip further.

Despite the compromises the Mitsubishi Pajero makes in terms of fuel efficiency and noise levels, it is still a good SUV to own. It becomes almost the only choice if fuel efficiency is not a concern, but affordability and reliability are. The Pajero is one car that we miss a lot; nevertheless, it had to go. We may not buy a Pajero again, but the ownership experience we had is nothing short of commendable, and memories of this car will stay in our minds for a long time, if not forever.

Original Mileage When Bought: 8,880 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 58,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 16.1 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 465

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 4,135

Read all 2010 Mitsubishi Pajero long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. vivek, so what is next?

  2. well coconuts, pepsi and mondeo sounds fair enough..

    looking forward to further stories of whatever kind!


  3. well
    now i am in dubai
    after being long tym in saudi
    driving fortuner & pathfinder
    now here in dubai
    i am looking for a comfortable car
    (not much cost)
    for daily use home to office
    up & down 100kms per day
    in my view is Altima 2014 or 2010
    plz advice

  4. Vivek,

    I am a little confused, are you saying the cabin noise is worse or better than the Prado? I own a Honda Accord 2008 and I really hate the Road Noise.


  5. does Fuel efficiency sucks on all mitsubishi cars I get 11.6 / 100kms on 2.4 galant

    • Nope. We have got superb efficiency numbers from 1.5 Lancer EX and 3.8 V6 Galant. Mash’s V6 Galant returns about 9.3 L / 100 kms on highways!

  6. Hello Vivek
    I am a frequest vistor to Drive Arabia and I am based in Oman.

    I am planning to buy a 4×4. Can u pls advise a good one. Max budget is RO.20,000/-. I am great fan of Pajero, but is it worth buying especially the existing model is some 10 year old and all new model is coming in 2015.

    I have a 2010 Tiguan. THe new car planned to buy is intentded for long trips, bit off roading. I want a safe, high sitting, good visibility, comfortable driving..especiall in corners and indeed not an expensive one.

    Can u pls advise.

    • Well, your requirements do not seem to translate into a need for an SUV with true off-road capabilities. If you are not intending to do much of off-roading, then you should be looking at awd crossovers, such as the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Fe, VW Touareg and the likes. However, if you do want the option for true off-road capability, the only good vehicle (in all aspects), that I can think of in that budget is the Toyota LC Prado. The top-spec Pajero 3.8 is a good option as well, but when you have a large enough budget, you might as well go for a well-specc’d Prado, which is also more fuel efficient, a relativel better off-roader, more comfier, and less noisier inside. If resale is not a concern, you may have a look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee as well, which offers you the option of a V8 engine. The larger Chevy Tahoe and Dodge Durango may be considered too.

      And mind you, off-road capable SUVs are never known for high-speed cornering, due to their higher center of gravity. The Crossovers will do a better job here. Among the ones that I know, the Ford Explorer, Volvo XC90 and VW Touareg handle pretty well, with moderate body roll at most.

    • @ Harish
      Agree to Vivek’s comments. You may consider Acadia if no off-road is required. I drove an Acadia for 2 years and am pretty happy with it. For off-road, you may consider FJ Cruiser too. All the best.

  7. Recent experience with a one month old Mits Pajero 2013(3.5l) was unbelievable. She got stuck in sand and we tried to revv up to come out. Got her out with a giant, just found out that the transmission got burned inside and car wont work. Neither the agency nor the insurance comp, helped as they consider it as a misuse of vehicle (holy shit) – then why do you call it an offroader – 4×4.
    Anyway all i want to say is my fortuner had been in the same situations and never got wasted like the pajero did.

    • Actually, you should never over-rev it. The revs should be within the torque curve range, which is not beyond 4500 rpm in most 4×4’s, and not beyond 3800 rpm in the 3.5L Pajero. Revving it to red-line is near useless. If nothing helps, you should shift to 4-low, and try rocking the vehicle forward and backward, very very gently, in a bid to gain traction. If that also doesn’t work, then somebody should pull you out!

      And yes, I can show you Prados screwed transfer cases, the same which is used in the Fortuner as well. It is just a matter of luck, and ofcourse, use. I have been to such beaten desert tracks which only the modded 4×4’s dare to take, and my Pajero has always been in one piece – ofcourse, thanks to the guidance and support from the pro drivers.

  8. hi vivek, i’m a frequent visitor to Drive Arabia but know little about cars. i’m planning to buy my own this year (2014) but I can’t really make up my mind whether to have a toyota fortuner or mitsubishi pajero sports. can you kindly enlighten me as to the pros and cons between these two in terms of the following:
    – reliability/safety
    – style/interior
    – resale value
    – cost of maintenance
    – availability of support and parts in the UAE
    – etc.

    Further, do you have any idea whether a new model for the Fortuner will be coming out this year?

    Thank you so much for your help! Much appreciated!

  9. Hi Vivek,

    You mentioned that you got the Pajero serviced through a reputed local garage. Could you tell me which one


  10. Hi Vivek, thanks for the sharing the information. I have another question. I’m looking at buying the 2015 pajero. I have test driven it vs. The Prado. The latter has a floaty drive whereas the pajero sticks to the road abs provides better handling. Also there is a huge price gap of almost 45k between the pajero and the Prado. Im not sure if it really justifies the fuel economy. I would like your suggestion on which Suv should I look at. Purpose is off road mostly places like hatta and fujairah and for family outings

    • Fuel economy should not be a concern in this part of the world to be frank…Even if it gives 8 kms/litre, over a span of 60000kms, comparing with a vehicle which gives 12km/litre(most fuel efficient on similiar road), assuming a rate of 1.75 Dhs/litre, you end up saving roughly 4200Dhs over 60000kms… which is 100 odd Dhs / month…Don’t think it should be a cause for worry …This part of the world isn’t the place to worry about fuel efficiency. Off course Green energy/Conservation…yes…otherwise…go for the one irrespective of fuel efficiency…

    • Which Pajero are you talking about? The 3.5 or 3.8?

    • Even if the Pajero features a better 4×4 system, the Prado is still a better off-roader, with the truckish origins, suspension articulation, fording depth, and engine torque, all playing in its favour. By the way, if you intend to venture into wadi trails, the Prado will be more comfortable to be in, owing to its body-on-frame construction, vs. Pajero’s monocoque setup (lesser vibrations passed into the cabin). And the plastic bit in the Pajero’s rear bumper is prone to breaking while dune bashing.

      Fuel efficiency is very bad in the Pajero 3.5. The 3.8 is equally bad, although it should be okay on highways due to the 5-speed gearbox (vs. 4-speed in the 3.5 version). It is a fair bit noisier than the Prado, but has a more spacious 2nd row.

  11. continuation—-depends on how fast you would end up with a 60K mileage..if its in a year, you end up loosing 4200/year…if its a 3 year period at 20k/year,its a non-concern…assuming the other vehicle is a 50% better fuel efficient car….but Prado sells at a premium…& frankly its too pricey a vehicle with less than average interiors…

  12. Even if its a 3.5 Pajero with the fuel efficiency as you have quoted around 6.2 kms/litre …I’m comparing with a ‘car’ assuming it gives 12kms…and if Pajero does a mileage of 120,000 kms, you end up loosing AED 16,000 max…i.e., if you manage to do 120,000 in 3 years time or 2 years….not sure ..If you are doing 10k a month , up & down Abudhabi everyday..the fuel efficiency is not for you…talking in terms of stats…i’m not sure which other 4*4 can give that fuel efficiency every day.

  13. My thoughts were primarily based on the fuel efficiency .I’m not comparing the build or the features of pajero viz a viz any other car.My point is that since petrol is cheaper this part of the world, it wouldn’t make a significant dent in your pockets over the long term…Where else can you drive a 4*4 with petrol at this rate? is my point ..:)

  14. Hi Vivek, I own a 2007 3.8 pajero with more 200k kms on the clock. Can u pls recommend a good garage as I cannot seem to find one? I also own a 2006 407… Thanks a lot

  15. Dear Vivek,

    I’m looking to go for the 2015 Pajero… still debating on the 3.5 vs 3.8 top option…Is there any improvement in refinement(sound insulation) in the latest models vs the older ones… fuel consumption is not an issue for me.

    What other SUV option would you suggest with a top budget of AED 120K. I’m not into heavy sand duning, etc.

    • If u r getting a Pajero, get the 3.8L..if u r not much into off-roading, you may look at the crossovers as well, like the Ford Explorer, Hyundai Santa-Fe, Nissan Pathfinder etc. Another off-roader roughly in the same price-bracket would be Toyota Fortuner 4.0

    • Just got my 2015 3.5l pajero full op last week, the best thing is that this comes with 5 speed transmission and also i think cabin noise dropped compared to previous models.

  16. How much is your fuel consumption weekly? kilometer/ week

  17. Hi Vivek,

    Could you recommend if price is not the main factor to consider and knowing that Toyota Fortuner 4.0 V6 TRD 2015 comes without much options on the interior, how would you compare it with the 3.8 v6 Mitsubishi Pajero 2016. Would be greatful if you can give some advice. Cheers

  18. Hi Vivek/ Drive Arabia team,

    I have recently purchased a 3.5l full options 2011 Mitsubishi Pajero from a colleague, which clocked 86k km. As I did a complete check with Al Habtoor Motors there were minor faults of break pads, ball joints/unit and tires which needs to be replaced. Since Al Habtoor does not sell tires, they adviced to go for Bridgestone as currently its riding on those.

    1)I would like to know which tire size would be perfect for minimum road noise and which brand would also be preferable like Hankook or Pirelli. And if I install wider/off road tires will it affect its smoothness, handling and fuel efficiency?

    There is much road noise at present and hope the issue is solved on replacing them.

    2) Since the warranty has also expired, which would be the suitable place for its regular servicing?

    3) I would like to install a bull bar in front as you had installed in your 2010 Pajero. Will Al Habtoor install it or some other accessory shop will do it?

    Thanks & Regards

    • Hi Kamran,

      1) Go by the manufacturer spec for tyre size. It will be mentioned somewhere on the vehicle, usually somewhere around the driver-side door latch, or in the user manual. Usually you get a lot of road noise only when the tyre treads are almost worn out, or if you are running on all-terrain or off-road tyres. Regular ones from most known brands should be fine. Nevertheless, be aware of Pajero’s inferior levels of sound proofing, as although bearable, it still allows a fair bit of road, wind, engine, and biker-fart noises to be heard in the cabin.

      2) Check Al-Mirath auto repair garage in Umm Ramoul, Dubai. Log into the forums for contact info.

      3) Most car accessories shops will do it. Habtoor will do it too, at a significantly high price.

  19. Yes, have got their number from previous posts, will drop by for servicing.

    The bull bar at Al Habtoor costs AED 1500/-, will check at other accessory shops how much will it cost.

    Any idea as to how to put the ‘J’ of PAJERO on the spare tire behind which is not present?
    (Al Habtoor is charging AED 130/- for the entire letters to be removed and a new one will be stuck)


  20. Lovely write up Vivek.

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