THE end of an era. That’s the only way to describe the outgoing 2020 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS. Mitsubishi has already confirmed the demise of the current spec offering, with the available models representing the last of this generation’s big SUV.
The good news is, you can still actually buy one. That’s because the Australian model received an update for 2020 and is still being produced (although the factory that makes them is due to close at some point early this year).
It’s a minor update though, that really only adds a Rockford Fosgate 12-speaker premium audio system and a subwoofer to the GLS. The bigger news is the axing of the previous range topper, the Exceed, to leave a two model line up, the base GLX and the GLS.
The GLS is a reasonable bit of kit, all things considered, despite its 12-year-old 3.2-litre common rail turbo diesel engine that produces 141kW of power and 441Nm of torque via a 5-speed automatic transmission.
Sure it’s dated, but the Pajero is an off road superstar, thanks to its Super Select II 4WD system that delivers a 36.6 degree approach angle, 22.5 degree ramp breakover and 25 degree departure angle, as well as being able to swim depths of up to 700mm.
Its ride isn’t perfect either, despite a good suspension package that includes coil springs and stabiliser bars, combined with the front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension allowing each wheel to move independently.
It’s trusty, you might say, even if it is a little rough and ready by today’s standards. It’s noisy though, like an old dog that barks at the moon every night (or the neighbour’s cat that it thinks it sees in its backyard).
But it’s hard to fault as a daily driver if one requires a big SUV. It’s impossible to fault off road (where it can climb every mountain – literally – and ford most every stream – again literally). It’ll tow up to 3,000kg too.
The downsides to the Pajero GLS include its age. Pretty much everything on it is old, or seriously dated by its competition, that includes the Nissan Patrol and the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series, among a host of others.
Although it does have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which is more than at least one of those competitors (are you listening Toyota?). It’s also very narrow, which makes it feel seriously claustrophobic.
You know you’re up for a struggle width wise when you have to open the door just to adjust the front seats, because you literally can’t get to the controls, without doing so. We’re not kidding either.
It’s a seven seater though, so there’s room length ways, and the second row is pretty impressive for space for your passengers. Up front too, there’s plenty of leg room. The third row is really aimed at kids and people you don’t like.
The rearmost seats will stow easily under the floor to create a flat cargo space, and can even be removed completely, which is quick and easy. It’s a nice touch, that gives you back the convenience of under-floor storage, if you need it.
When you need to carry a bigger load, the second row of seats fold forward to give up to 1789 litres of storage capacity. That’s not bad really. The other thing that’s not bad really is fuel economy, at a claimed 9.1-litres/100km. We managed 11.1 in real world testing.
The cloth front seats we mentioned earlier are heated, which is a nice touch, and there’s a 7.0-inch infotainment system for you to connect your smartphone to and rock out with the beast of a sound system.
There’s dual zone climate control and a leather steering wheel that can be adjusted both up and down, and telescopically. The Pajero also features what we’d call an information panel, above the infotainment system.
Think of it as a basic (red and white pixelised display) way of finding important information, like fuel usage, outside temperature and even access to a compass, but it’s absolutely rubbish to navigate. It makes the car feel even more dated.
That aside, other nice features on the GLS include dusk sensing headlights and rain sensing wipers, both of which are super handy when cruising about in various weather situations.
Rumours abound that Nissan is planning to build a next-generation Patrol (itself the subject of a number of stories around the traps that it’s time is up), and that this shiny model will also form the basis of a new Pajero.
Given the talk of significant model sharing across the ‘Alliance’, made up of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi, particularly where a platform share between the Triton and Navara is concerned, the Pajero scenario is not out of the realms of possibility.
Should you desire a 2020 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS, you can have it in White (as tested), Warm White, Sterling Silver, Deep Bronze, Graphite, Terra Rossa and Black. It will cost you around $58,500 drive away, which is possibly a little pricey for what it is.
Let’s face it though, the Pajero GLS is significantly cheaper than the 200 Series LandCruiser, and yet it’s not a significantly poorer option. It’s well worth a look, that’s for sure.
Mitsubishi offers a 10-year new car warranty and 10-years capped price servicing on all of its vehicles (an interesting move in and of itself). The 2020 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating from 2013 (on current standards, it would not score 5-stars).
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Mitsubishi Pajero GLS, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.