Is the Mitsubishi Pajero a Good Car? A Comprehensive Analysis


The Mitsubishi Pajero, also known as the Montero or Shogun in some markets, has garnered significant attention as a versatile and capable SUV. With a history spanning several generations, the Pajero has established a strong fan base and has become a sought-after vehicle for both on-road and off-road enthusiasts. In this article, we delve into the various aspects of the Pajero to determine whether it lives up to its reputation as a reliable and capable car.

mitsubishi pajero instrument clusters
Instrument Clusters

Design and Features: The Pajero’s design, while aging, still holds its own. Its exterior exudes a sense of elegance and ruggedness, striking a balance between sophistication and toughness. The long-wheelbase five-door variant, in particular, offers generous space for passengers and cargo. The interior, although not luxurious, provides a functional and well-designed cabin. While the quality of materials may vary depending on trim levels and model years, the overall durability and wear resistance are commendable.

Mechanical Reliability: One of the key factors that contribute to the Pajero’s appeal is its mechanical reliability. Pajeros are known for their dependability, with owners reporting fewer issues compared to many other SUVs in its class. However, it is worth noting that timing chain failure has been reported in some models, particularly in the 4M41 diesel engines. This issue can be mitigated by replacing the top section of the timing chain guide at regular intervals, which is a relatively straightforward fix. Regular servicing and maintenance, including valve clearance checks, are essential for long-term reliability.

Off-Road Capability: The Pajero has built a reputation for its off-road prowess. Equipped with Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4WD system and independent suspension, it provides a capable and versatile driving experience both on and off the beaten path. The Super Select 4WD system allows drivers to switch between rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive high range, and four-wheel drive high range with locked center differential on the fly, offering excellent traction and control in various conditions. While it may not match the extreme off-road capabilities of some specialized vehicles, the Pajero’s off-road performance is more than satisfactory for most enthusiasts.

Safety: When it comes to safety, the Pajero’s features may not be as advanced as some modern SUVs. The earlier models received a four-star ANCAP safety rating, while the later NW and NX variants achieved a five-star rating. It’s important to note that the Pajero lacks modern safety technologies like autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist, which are increasingly common in newer vehicles. However, it does come with stability control, multiple airbags, and a strengthened body shell, providing a reasonable level of safety.

What Goes wrong with this car?

While the Mitsubishi Pajero is generally considered a reliable vehicle, there are some common issues that owners have reported. Here are a few problems to watch out for:

  1. Timing Chain Failure: This is a known issue with the 4M41 diesel engine used in some Pajero models. The timing chain guides can wear out over time, leading to timing chain failure. Regular maintenance and replacing the top section of the timing chain guide around 90,000 kilometers can help prevent this problem.
  2. EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) System Problems: Some Pajero models have experienced issues with the EGR system, which can lead to reduced performance and increased emissions. The EGR valve and associated components may require cleaning or replacement to resolve the problem.
  3. Injector Seal Leaks: Diesel Pajero models have been known to develop leaks in the injector seals. This can result in fuel leaks, poor fuel efficiency, and rough running. Replacing the injector seals should resolve the issue.
  4. DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) Problems: Pajeros equipped with a diesel engine and DPF can encounter issues related to the filter becoming clogged or failing. Regular maintenance, including proper servicing and the use of suitable engine oil, can help prevent DPF problems.
  5. Air Conditioning Failures: Some Pajero owners have reported air conditioning system failures. The air conditioning may stop working or blow hot air. Repairing the air conditioning system can be expensive, especially if the dashboard needs to be removed for access.
  6. Transmission Issues: While not as common, there have been reports of transmission failures, particularly in automatic models. Care should be taken to avoid shifting from drive to reverse while the vehicle is still in motion, as this can damage the transmission.
  7. Suspension Wear: Over time, the suspension components on the Pajero can experience wear and may require replacement. This can lead to a rougher ride and reduced handling.
  8. Rust: Like any older vehicle, the Pajero is susceptible to rust, especially in areas prone to salted roads or high humidity. Carefully inspect the body panels, door sills, and undercarriage for any signs of rust or corrosion.

These issues are not necessarily present in every Pajero, but they are known problems that have been reported by some owners. Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and proper servicing can help minimize the risk of encountering these problems.

What To Watch For With Used Mitsubishi Pajero

When considering a used Mitsubishi Pajero, there are a few key areas to watch out for:

  1. Timing Chain Failure: The 4M41 engine used in some Pajero models is known to experience timing chain failure. To avoid this issue, it is recommended to replace the top section of the timing chain guide at around 90,000 kilometers. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can prevent more severe engine damage.
  2. Air Conditioning Issues: Many Pajeros have reported air conditioning failures, which can be a costly repair. Ensure that the air conditioning system is in good working order during a test drive, as fixing this problem may require extensive work, including removing the dashboard.
  3. Driver’s Seat Bolster Wear: Some owners have reported issues with the driver’s seat bolster, particularly on leather models. The bolster may rip or deteriorate over time. While it is not a challenging fix, it is worth checking the condition of the driver’s seat during an inspection.
  4. Leather Interior Maintenance: If the Pajero you’re considering has a leather interior, check for signs of proper maintenance. Leather can become worn and deteriorate if not regularly conditioned and cared for. Ensure that the leather is in good condition and free from excessive wear or damage.
  5. Rust: Thoroughly inspect the Pajero for any signs of rust, both on the body panels and underneath the vehicle. Check under the rubber seals, around the doors, roof, and rear wheel arches. Pay particular attention to areas prone to rusting, especially if the vehicle has been exposed to salted roads.
  6. Accident Damage and Repair Work: Look for any signs of previous accident damage or subpar repair work. Check the panel gaps, paint consistency, and look for any signs of overspray. If possible, inspect the vehicle’s history report to ensure it has not been involved in any significant accidents.
  7. Mechanical Noises and Vibrations: During a test drive, listen for any unusual mechanical noises or vibrations. A smooth and quiet ride is indicative of a well-maintained vehicle. Any suspicious noises or vibrations should be investigated further to identify potential issues.
  8. Off-Road Abuse: If the Pajero has been used for off-roading, carefully inspect the exterior for signs of abuse or damage. Look for dents, scratches, or any evidence of impact on the bumpers, door skins, and undercarriage. Off-road driving can put additional stress on the vehicle, so ensure that it has been well cared for.

Running Costs:

The running costs of a Mitsubishi Pajero can vary depending on factors such as fuel type, engine size, mileage, maintenance, and local market conditions. Here are some aspects to consider when evaluating the running costs of a Pajero:

  1. Fuel Consumption: Pajeros are available with both petrol and diesel engines. Diesel engines typically offer better fuel efficiency, which can result in lower fuel costs over time. However, it’s important to note that larger engine sizes and older models may have higher fuel consumption. The claimed fuel consumption figures for Pajeros range from 8.4 to 13.7 liters per 100 kilometers, depending on the variant.
  2. Maintenance and Servicing: Regular maintenance and servicing are important to keep your Pajero in good working condition and minimize potential issues. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, which are usually around 12 months or 15,000 kilometers. Mitsubishi offers capped price servicing plans that provide transparency and cost predictability for routine maintenance.
  3. Parts and Repairs: The availability and cost of parts can affect the overall running costs. Since the Pajero has been around for a while, parts are generally readily available and aftermarket options may exist, potentially offering more affordable alternatives to genuine parts. However, it’s important to ensure that any replacement parts meet the required quality standards.
  4. Insurance: Insurance costs can vary depending on factors such as your location, driving history, coverage options, and the specific insurance provider. It’s advisable to obtain insurance quotes from different providers to find the best coverage at a competitive price.
  5. Depreciation: Like any vehicle, the Pajero will experience depreciation over time. The rate of depreciation can depend on factors such as model year, mileage, condition, and market demand. Researching the resale value of the specific Pajero model you are considering can give you an idea of the potential depreciation and long-term running costs.

Airbag Scandal

2007 Mitsubishi Pajero Interior

The Mitsubishi Pajero was affected by the Takata airbag scandal, which involved faulty airbag inflators manufactured by the Takata Corporation. These defective inflators could rupture upon deployment, potentially shooting metal fragments into the vehicle cabin, posing a serious safety risk to occupants.

As a result, Mitsubishi, along with several other automakers, issued a recall to replace the affected airbag inflators in the affected Pajero models. The recall aimed to replace the defective Takata airbag inflators with safe and reliable ones.

If you are considering purchasing a used Pajero, it is crucial to check whether the vehicle has had its airbag inflators replaced as part of the recall. To do this, you can check the vehicle’s history report, contact a Mitsubishi dealership with the vehicle identification number (VIN), or visit the official Mitsubishi website to verify if the recall work has been performed.

Ensuring that the airbag recall has been addressed is essential for the safety of both the driver and passengers. If the Pajero you are interested in has not had the necessary airbag replacement, it is recommended to contact a Mitsubishi dealership to schedule the recall service as soon as possible. Mitsubishi, like other automakers involved, has taken the necessary steps to rectify the issue and prioritize customer safety.

Conclusion: Taking into account its design, mechanical reliability, off-road capabilities, safety features, and running costs, the Mitsubishi Pajero proves to be a solid choice for individuals seeking a versatile and dependable SUV.

Gerald Omondi
Gerald Omondi
As a writer, I have a passion for exploring a variety of topics. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family. As a husband and father, I understand the importance of balance and finding time for the things I love. Whether I'm delving into new subjects or spending quality time with my loved ones.


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