The iconic Mitsubishi Pajero has had a face lift. The Japanese car maker made some subtle, yet striking tweaks to the UAE's bestselling SUV. Joanna Andrews takes it for a test drive and gets the low down from Karl Hamer, Managing Director of Al Habtoor Motors.
The Mitsubishi Pajero has long been a favourite vehicle on the roads of the United Arab Emirates and wider region. Al Habtoor Motors, the sole distributor for Mitsubishi in the emirates, boasts being the number one car dealer in the world for Mitsubishi vehicles - and not just for the Pajero.
“In the GCC alone, Al Habtoor Motors has around 65 per cent of the market share for Mitsubishi vehicle sales,” says Karl Hamer, Managing Director of Al Habtoor Motors. “It is a perfect car for this terrain. But is it is more than that. The Pajero’s appearance matches the excellent performance it offers.”
So what’s new about the 2015 model compared to its predecessor? Mitsubishi has made some cosmetic changes both inside and out while maintaining the DNA of the vehicle. “There’s a new front and rear bumper, front guards, side step, rear deflector, chrome radiator grill, new style doors, handles and mirrors, and a glamorous looking wheel cover - plus privacy glass,” Hamer adds.
The new Pajero flaunts high intensity discharge headlamps and front LED daytime running lights now come as standard to help improve visibility. The exterior features include alloy wheels, black front skid plate, chrome outer door handles, chrome power door mirrors, silver rear lower bumper and the tailgate has a more streamlined look. The cabin has a few upgrades as well, including a leather wrapped steering wheel, gearshift and parking break; chrome inner door handles, glossed wood-print accent panels, illuminated vanity mirrors, and an electronic chromic rearview mirror.
But it is not just about its looks. The aesthetic improvements complement the mechanical features the Pajero already has. This reliable off-roader comes in either a 3.5-litre V6 mated to a 4-speed automatic, which churns out 186 horsepower. The larger 3.8-litre V6 engine, with 246 horsepower, mated to a 5-speed auto - capable of handling high speed. The long-wheelbase model has seven seats, with a third row seat that can be folded into a well. Also as standard are a CD player with six speakers, automatic air conditioning, front dual airbags, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Safety features include seat belt reminders, IsoFix child restraints and a reversing camera.
Off-road, the Pajero is impressive, thanks to Mitsubishi’s All Terrain Technology (MATT) which delivers a high level of off-road accessibility and outstanding on-road safety and handling.
And what’s more, Mitsubishi has also tweaked the price for the better. The 5-door GLS, available in the UAE, starts at AED 86,000. For those that want to spend a bit more, can go for the Elite model. “The top end model is fitted with premium hand-stitched leather in claret or pearl to complement the exterior colours available,” Hamer says. “In addition, it has exclusive accessories like a multimedia entertainment system, wood-look interior trim, sunroof, front and rear automatic A/C, traction control, ABS with EBD, cruise control, cool box, leather seats and 17-inch wheels, satellite navigation, DVD headrest, and blue side step lights.”
To conclude, Hamer says, “The Pajero is the best value Japanese SUV in the market, and it has an excellent resale value. It is a reliable choice with a proven history in the UAE.”
As soon as you slip into the new Pajero and buckle up, it is clear that comfort was an important factor in the design. This well-priced, true off roader looks likely to dominate the roads in the UAE for a lot longer.