In the early 1980s, large family SUVs were becoming the norm in many markets across the globe. And while several of its main rivals such as Toyota and Nissan already had models ready to serve these buyers, Mitsubishi didn’t have the right vehicle for the job. That’s why the carmaker, one of the largest Japanese marques, decided to begin work on a new, full-size family SUV of its own. Making its world debut in late 1981, the Mitsubishi Pajero was finally here. It was so named after a wild cat that’s native to South America, called the Leopardus Pajeros. With having said that, the Pajero also goes by the Shogun nameplate in markets such as the United Kingdom. But at the end of the day, the Pajero and Shogun are essentially the same.
The first-generation Mitsubishi Pajero/Shogun remained in active production right up until 1991. Interestingly enough, it was this first-gen avatar of the Pajero (with some modifications, of course) that entered the infamous and grueling Dakar Rally in 1983. Just two years later, it had already taken its first victory. This winning streak repeated itself over the next several years, and made the Mitsubishi Pajero the most-successful entrant to have ever taken part in the Dakar Rally – a title it holds to this very day. It was finally replaced by the more advanced and powerful second generation model, which also became the first Pajero to be equipped with Mitsubishi’s famous Super Select 4WD system. And from this model onwards, Mitsubishi also switched from a complete body-on-frame platform to a unibody setup. However, unlike modern crossovers, the Pajero still has a heavy-duty steel frame which is now directly integrated into the finished chassis.
The outgoing fourth-generation of the Mitsubishi Pajero/Shogun has now been with us since 2006. It hasn’t really changed by that much over these years, except for the occasional facelift and extra features that have been added here and there. In the UAE, the 2019 Mitsubishi Pajero is available in five different flavors – including short-wheelbase (3-door) and long-wheelbase (5-door) variants. Prices start at AED 96,900 for the base 3.5L (5-door) Pajero, while the fully-loaded 3.8L (5-door) comes in at AED 130,000. One of the most iconic SUVs around, the Mitsubishi Pajero’s exterior styling is almost as old as the car itself. Despite its age, the long, wide and boxy silhouette really goes hand-in-hand with the SUV’s designated purpose – to excel off the road, and be fairly decent on it. Up front, the Mitsubishi Pajero gets a long, sweeping hood, wide chrome-garnished grille, chunky headlights with xenon projectors, and a deep-chin bumper with an integrated skid plate, halogen foglights and LED daytime-running lights. Along the side, there are 18-inch alloy rims with enlarged wheel arches, muscular-looking flared fenders, fixed side steps, and large windows. The rear wears a tailgate-mounted spare wheel, bumper-integrated skid plate arrangement, and vertically-aligned clear lens taillights.
The spacious and well-built interior of the Pajero isn’t particularly beautiful, but it gets the job done and is both practical and ergonomically unchallenged. The large sunroof and windows opens up loads of space, while the seats offer good support and cushioning. There’s also dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, cruise control, power-adjustable front seats, a cool box, keyless-entry, and a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium sound system. Other equipment includes 6 airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, vehicle stability & traction control systems, and all-around parking sensors with rear camera. The Mitsubishi Pajero houses a 3.8-liter naturally-aspirated V6 which develops 250 hp and 330 Nm of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission handles the changing of cogs, while a selectable 4WD system directs torque to the rear or all four tires. If pushed, the Pajero can clock 200 km/h and hit 100 km/h in under 11 seconds.
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