It’s been around for eons, the Mitsubishi Pajero that is. Like a refurbished RSL club it just keeps servicing the market year after year, but with the occasional bell and even whistle added to keep pace with far more sophisticated offerings. 2015 saw another facelift, new wheels, better headlights and LED daytime running lights. But 2016 plated models score a smartphone infotainment system which includes the famed but still relatively rare Apple CarPlay. We couldn’t track down a grey nomad to sample the teched up Pajero, so we sent Gillian Bowen along to fill the role of “Soccer Mum”.
Engine / Transmission: 3.2-litre four-cylinder common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel, 5-speed automatic.
Vital Stats: 147kW/447Nm
Mitsubishi Claimed Fuel Economy: 9.0L / 100km
EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: 10.3L/ 100km
Price: From $65,990
Wow Factor: From the outside, this vehicle looks flash, flash for a 4WD. It’s my first experience of driving one around for a lengthy period of time and it was nice to jump in an impressive looking vehicle and be sitting high above the rest. I also didn’t feel like I was in a huge truck, it was easy to maneuver and I think female-friendly. (Gillian needs to drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee – Chris)
The driver experience is a good one. The steering wheel feels comfortable in your hands and as mentioned above, I don’t feel like I’m driving dad’s old ute. The seat is comfy and in winter, the option to heat them will be great. The display for the reversing camera is nice and big, the auto windscreen wipers easy to use and the radio nice and clear. I didn’t engage the 4WD aspects of the car as all my driving was on city roads, I’ll leave that aspect up to the husband.
I do have some concerns about Apple CarPlay. It’s my first experience with it and it’s quite impressive how it mimics your phone and reads text messages to you etc. But I do question how much data you would end up using if you like to use navigation. I’m definitely a driver who enjoys having the map on the screen all the time – yes I know a modern day luxury – but I feel it isn’t fair these days to have to supply that luxury yourself, surely in any new vehicle it should just be a given?
Also on text messages, SIRI is good at reading received messages to you but trying to send one is a punish. She couldn’t understand what I was saying, which is a tad awkward, considering speaking clearly is a big part of my job! After three attempts at trying to get her to correctly write my text message I abandoned ship. Yes I know it probably wasn’t that urgent but it’s the principle of the thing – you offer a feature and it doesn’t work. Perhaps the loud diesel engine was playing havoc with my dictation.
The digital radio also had a few issues, for days I was told I was listening to Phil Collins despite Elton John booming out of the speakers – don’t judge me!
The cruise control buttons are also a little confusing. I could get it to work and also increase the speed with the touch of a button but my attempts to use the button to decrease the speed would just cancel it instead. I’m sure it is user error but in this day and age I reckon car buttons, in particular for cruise control, should be so straight forward you don’t need a manual to work it out.
My other question is why are there two displays? There’s clearly the older one up the top and the new screen which works the Apple CarPlay underneath. There are two digital clocks right under each other. For the obsessive compulsive among us, the fact they will never be synchronized could send people barmy!
And my final tiny concern is that it’s quite a high step up to get into the vehicle. If this 4WD is targeting grey nomads, they may have to be pretty nimble to be getting in and out of the thing.
The Sweeping Statement: I learnt to drive in dad’s Toyota Hilux which is now almost 15 years old. It was a bit of a beast and hill starts with the handbrake that went under the steering wheel were quite scary but I enjoyed the height of the thing and the feeling of being in a ‘truck’. This 4WD reminds me a little of that. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed driving it so much. In reality it’s nothing like my dad’s ute but its grunt made me nostalgic and delivered a pleasant drive with a heap more mod cons.