The ultimate workhouse, the Mitsubishi Pajero remains a favourite among Oman’s SUV drivers. Shaquel al Balushi takes it for a spin
I am a man who usually prefers to let his photographs do the talking. This time, however, I was given a different assignment by my editor to not only do a test drive but then write about it.
Well, here goes with my debut car review.
I have two cars that I use; an old battered saloon that has gone with me nearly everywhere for work and a smarter one that comes out when I’m off duty and need something a bit more respectable.
SUVs are not really my bag. I’ve had plenty of experience of 4x4s as a passenger and occasional driver of my friends’ cars, but I’ve never felt the need or desire to invest in one myself.
It’s quite fitting that my test was with one of the classics of the market, the Mitsubishi Pajero. Drive down Muscat’s highway during busy times and the chances are a Pajero will be in the near vicinity such is their ubiquity.
I was test-driving the older 2014 model for Y. The new 2015 version is already available and we’ll be taking this out when a test vehicle becomes ready in the Sultanate towards the end of the month.
Meanwhile, let me tell you about my day behind the wheel of the Pajero. From the outside, there is nothing spectacular about the design; it’s rugged, tough and built to last. It looks like it could handle just about anything, which is just as well as I was taking it on a little trip up a mountain.
It means that it doesn’t necessarily look the prettiest of SUVs, but this vehicle is not about frivolity.
Inside, the cabin is all about functionality over chic design. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all put together really well and everything is in its place, giving the driver a commanding sense of the road.
We headed off to Jebel Akhdar. I found the steering a little heavier than I expected but responsive nonetheless. As a vehicle, it feels strong and reliable, capable of dealing with any sort of environment, from shopping malls and highways, to wadis and deserts.
Our party consisted of just my friend and I, but the car would happily seat two large adults in the back, with a third at a squeeze.
The driving position was comfortable and the ride pretty smooth. As the road twisting up the Green Mountain is all tarmac, we didn’t get much chance to test its real off-road capabilities but I can say that it munched its way through the kilometres up the mountain with a steady, if slow, pace. When it really came into its own was the incredibly steep track we faced on our journey at one point, an almost vertical drop, but our Pajero had no fear as it guided us down safely in low gear with no drama.
As you would expect, the Pajero is loaded up with all sorts of safety features such as ABS (Anti-lock Brake System), differential lock, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), Dynamic Stability Control and traction control, all designed to ensure a smooth passage for you and your vehicle at all times.
By the time we were down the mountain and heading back to Muscat, I had formed a good bond with my Pajero. We understood each other’s needs and my Pajero didn’t let me down, which is why I imagine owners of this vehicle buy it. This tank-like car will just keep on going and, like the Terminator, can’t be stopped whatever is in its path (within reason). I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2015 version can do now.
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