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Mitsubishi Pajero: JDM Buyers Guide

mitsubishi pajero jdm

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Pajero was Mitsubishi’s answer to the full-size SUV. It started its life in 1982 and is still in production to this very day in certain parts of the world. Depending where it was sold, the Pajero was also known as the Montero or Shogun.

Its impressive 12 Dakar Rally championships brought the famous SUV into the mainstream spotlight and even earned it a Guinness World Book record. Thanks to this, the Pajero nameplate was placed on other Mitsubishi models in hopes of boosting sales.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great off-road capability
  • Dependability
  • Available diesel motor in certain countries
  • Spacious Interior
  • Will last an exceptionally long time with just regular maintenance
  • Great ground clearance
  • Dakar rally inspired genes

Cons

  • Old interiors can seem dated on certain models
  • Basic features leave something to be desired
  • Gas mileage
  • Not that fastest SUV
  • Small fuel tank
  • Underperforming brakes
  • Could be a bit bigger in size

Common Issues

Mitsubishi Pajero
https://www.autos-motos.net/1540190119805009514

Mitsubishi has been making the Pajero for nearly 40 years, and in that time there have been certain issues that owners have reported. This section is dedicated to the most found by Pajero owners.

Blocked rocker cover filter. This is a relatively inexpensive fix and it should be done as soon you experience the symptoms. Leaving it will cause oil consumption and blue smoke and if left unresolved for longer periods of time it could do further damage to your engine.

Timing chain guides. If you are fortunate enough to have a diesel Pajero, you should look at the timing chain guides as they are known to fail without warning. If this happens, it means that a replacement engine will be the only answer.

Hydraulic brake booster motor. This should be taken care of sooner than later. If it ends up failing completely, you could be left with very little to no brake force.

Rocker cover oil leaks. This is not a major issue; however, it’s a messy one. As it is with most older cars, the gaskets do get old, brittle and crack over time, leaving the oil to leak out and make a mess everywhere.

Average Prices

Due to its long lifecycle, the Pajero can be had from prices starting as little as $3,000 and goes all the way up to $17,000. It truly depends and the year, condition, and your budget. Here are some of the cheapest and most expensive Pajero’s currently for sale from the dealers associated with JDMBuySell.com.

Most Expensive Examples:

1992 Pajero Exceed $16,900

1999 Pajero Evo $16,100

1995 Pajero Exceed $13,900

1994 Pajero Diesel $13,495

Cheapest Examples:

1997 Pajero Mini XR2 $3,000

1999 Pajero IO ZR $3,700

2001 Pajero IO 4WD $3,900

2000 Pajero IO $3,900

As you can see, the prices for a Pajero differ quite drastically. From the list above, the older models are more desirable and therefore more expensive. It’s true that “they don’t make them like they used to”, and that is absolutely true in the case of the Mitsubishi Pajero.

View all Mitsubishi Pajero vehicles listed for sale.

Comparable Alternatives

The SUV market is incredibly competitive, and the customer has the upper hand. Almost every automaker has their version of the Pajero, and the list is growing bigger every day. Here is a list of the closest rivals that this go-anywhere vehicle has.

The list could go on forever, but we decided to keep it short for you to get an idea of what other SUV’s are the Pajero’s closest competitors.

Models and Specifications

First Generation (1982-1991)

Mitsubishi Pajero First Generation
https://cdn.carbuzz.com/gallery-images/840×560/473000/600/473616.jpg

First debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1981, the Pajero was initially sold as a short-wheelbase three-door model. It was available with either a canvas or metal roof and was initially available with three engine choices. By the end of its lifecycle, Mitsubishi offered the Pajero with a total of seven engine choices ranging from a 2.0L gas engine and went all the way up to a 3.0L V6 gas engine. Of course, there were a few diesel motors added to the mix. A customer could choose from 2.3L N/A diesel and a 2.3L or 2.5L turbocharged diesel.

Unlike other SUV’s of the time, the Pajero was offered with additional features such as double wishbone suspension, power steering, torsion bar springs, etc., all of which were a rarity amongst their competitors.

1983 was the first year that we see the legendary SUV available in a five-door configuration. As the years progressed, better performing engines, and improved cosmetic changes were added to the lineup.

Second Generation (1991-1999)

https://www.rightdrive.ca/vehicle/1994-mitsubishi-pajero-exceed-025276/

For the second generation, Mitsubishi completely redesigned the Pajero, both inside and out. Improvement such as a longer wheelbase, optional high roof, and improved engines made the SUV reach its legendary status. In addition, multi-mode ABS and shock absorbers were added for the first time on any Japanese SUV. The ability to switch between four-wheel drive and RWD at speeds of up to 49 mph (80 km/h) was the icing on the cake for this generation.

The engine choices were now shrunk down to only six. These included four gas engines ranging from a 2.4L inline-four to a 3.5L V6. Diesel enthusiasts could choose between a 2.5L turbo diesel inline-four or a 2.8L turbocharged inline-four.

Mitsubishi Pajero Second Generation
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Mitsubishi_Montero_SWB_2nd_Gen_1994_%282%29.JPG

During this time, Mitsubishi had a joined venture with several Chinese automakers such as Guangtong Motors, Jincheng Motors, Jinhui Motors, etc. that put their own spin on the Pajero and badged it as their own.

Third Generation (1999-2006)

Pajero Third generation
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/34/65/27/346527ab5f5f94009a8b6675bef27fb0.jpg

Japan got the Pajero in 1999 while other markets received it shortly after, with the Philippines not receiving the third generation until late 2003. This time around Mitsubishi focused their efforts on making the Pajero tougher. They designed it with a lower and wider stance alongside a unibody construction which made it a lot stiffer and in turn improved the cabin strength.

A total of seven engines were offered with a new 3.8L gas engine for the North American markets. The diesel lineup was available in a 2.5L inline-four, a 2.8L inline four, and finally a 3.2L inline four. The four gasoline engines were comprised of one 3.0L V6, two 3.5L V6, and finally the all new 3.8L V6. There as a choice of a five-speed manual, and a four or five speed automatic.

Fourth Generation (2006-present)

Mitsubishi Pajero Final Edition
https://images.hgmsites.net/hug/2019-mitsubishi-pajero-final-edition_100699799_h.jpg

As times progressed, so did customer demands. The fourth generation Pajero was focused on safety. New front and side airbags were added as well as an improved Active Stability and Traction Control system (ASTC) and an electronic brakeforce distribution.

On top of that, many cosmetic improvements made their way o the Pajero just about every year. These consisted of LED lights, different front fascia’s, bigger wheels and so on. Moreover, the brakes now increased in size to a larger 332 mm front rotors.

In August 2019, the Famed SUV ceased production in Japan as the demand was declining for several years prior. However, it is still being sold to this very day in Australia, the Middle East and even South America.

Production Numbers

YearProductionDomestic sales (Japan)Export sales
198216,9308,0597,023
198333,6058,07625,886
198441,4229,17632,341
198559,77011,77049,249
198687,25216,63670,594
198789,45622,17067,021
1988107,15725,22579,699
1989116,88336,48382,176
1990108,73036,06171,206
1991144,98864,38180,882
1992174,70883,68589,835
1993158,92267,89988,788
1994161,23854,329106,570
1995152,10244,933110,365
1996128,59328,85199,200
1997136,94126,181111,144
199895,6759,41290,416
199990,52420,18965,212
2000138,31512,701129,198
200191,7006,72585,324
2002112,1615,681106,376
200390,9296,03585,863
200479,1524,19674,347
200569,1422,78166,773
200675,9336,02568,563
2007112,1033,818108,982
200857,9032,73858,000
200948,0552,19844,896
201066,5692,94864,207
201161,6033,20958,842
201239,7592,02938,300
201355,0662,21352,199
201454,2672,94852,548
201553,3931,66551,340
201645,4061,06244,030
201736,1421,00035,150
Mitsubishi Pajero
https://s34.wheelsage.org/format/picture/picture-preview-large/mitsubishi/pajero/autowp.ru_mitsubishi_pajero_5-door_55.jpg

FAQ

Is the Pajero a reliable car? 

Absolutely! In fact, the Pajero is one of the most Relivable JDM SUV’s, especially the older ones.

Are replacement parts hard to find? 

Depends in which side of the world you live on. The Pajero never did very well in the North American market, but other parts of the world got them in droves. Combine that with the fact that there aren’t many Mitsubishi dealerships left in North America and finding parts can become somewhat challenging.

Can you purchase the Pajero in LHD configuration? 

Yes. The Pajero was sold all over the world, including LHD countries.

Does the Pajero make a good daily driver?

Of course. The Pajero is the preferred method of transport for many people all over the world. A lot of customers that live in extreme climates choose it as their daily driver. 

Which generation Pajero should I get? 

We highly recommend going for a model that is at least 15 years or older. We are not saying that the new ones are not good, but the older ones were made to last, unlike today’s cars. 

Sources

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Pajero
  • https://www.zigwheels.ae/new-cars/mitsubishi/pajero/faq/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-mitsubishi-pajero
  • https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/mitsubishi-pajero
  • https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/2007-Mitsubishi-Pajero-Reviews-c12261
  • https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/2005-Mitsubishi-Pajero-Reviews-c12259
  • https://www.cartoq.com/used-cars/mitsubishi-pajero-used-suv/
  • https://www.carsguide.com.au/mitsubishi/pajero/problems
  • https://www2.pajeroclub.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=27085
  • https://www2.pajeroclub.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=49081
  • https://www.zigwheels.com/newcars/Mitsubishi/Pajero-Sport/faqs

How to Import a Mitsubishi Pajero

Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.

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