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First look: Mitsubishi’s redesigned Pajero

Surprise, surprise: Mitsubishi's three and five-door Pajero.

Fourth-generation Pajero emerges ahead of its Paris show debut and Aussie release

13 Sep 2006

THESE are the all-new Pajero pictures Mitsubishi did not want you to see – at least not until the global media embargo is lifted on September 28, when the fourth-generation SUV stalwart makes its world public premiere at the Paris motor show and is launched simultaneously in Australia.

As GoAuto reported in August last year, the new-generation Pajero will be made available in both long-wheelbase five-door and, for the first time since the three-door NK was discontinued in July 1997, short-wheelbase guises Down Under.

Mitsubishi has refused to confirm a short-wheelbase Pajero for Australia. As GoAuto has reported, it could be a manual-only Ralliart-badged proposition – complete with Hella driving lights and other off-road kit.

Back then, a Mitsubishi Australia insider told GoAutoNews that such a model would need to find at least 1000 homes annually in Australia to be viable.

Two weeks ago, Mitsubishi Motors Corp issued teaser shots of the new Pajero’s front quarter, but now official studio shots of both short- and long-wheelbase Pajero derivatives have emerged, revealing more rounded, less aggressive exterior sheetmetal than the current NP Pajero.

GoAuto understands both models will be available from November and that the all-new Pajero has already hit Aussie shores in preparation for its media and dealer launches culminating on September 28 – the same day Mitsubishi whips the covers off its redesigned off-roader in Paris.

That means Australia will be among the first nations in the world to receive the new off-roader, which also arrives in Japan in October following first shipments to Europe late this month.

The four-wheel drive will be built at Mitsubishi’s Pajero Manufacturing Co plant in Gifu Prefecture, Japan and will eventually be sold in 170 countries across Asia, Central and South America and the Middle East.

Badged in some markets as the Pajero Evolution, the new three-door will form the basis of Mitsubishi’s 2007 Dakar Rally contender. It features the same front-end design as the volume-selling five-door, including large, stepped headlights, the same pronounced wheelarches (but with matt black plastic extensions) and the same roof racks, side steps and bodyside cladding.

The surprise double-act will give Mitsubishi not one but two new contenders in Australia’s large but declining medium SUV segment, which is dominated by Ford’s Territory and Toyota’s Prado and Kluger.

Specific details of the all-new model are scarce, however the new Pajero will follow the same fundamental formula that drove the current-generation NP-series to an eight per cent share of the segment. Sales of the four-year-old model are down by more than a third so far this year but have fared better than some rivals in the declining medium SUV sector.

The new model will continue with a variation of the monocoque chassis introduced with the NP in November 2002, as well as an upgraded version of Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4WD-II transfer case offering low-range gear ratios.

21 center imageCombined with Active Stability & Traction Control (ATSC) and the availability of a rear differential lock, it is said to deliver "significant improvements in both off-road and tarmac performance".

There is also a redesigned interior featuring top-shelf equipment such as a new 860-watt, 12-speaker "Rockford Acoustic Design Premium Sound System".

But the real news lies beneath the smooth new sheetmetal, which does away with the current model’s characteristic wheelarch and front-quarter bulges.

An upgraded 184kW 3.8-litre SOHC 24-valve V6 will benefit from Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system (MIVEC), for which no official performance figures are available. The current Pajero’s (non-MIVEC) 3.8-litre V6 produces 149kW and 310Nm.

Complementing the new petrol V6 will be the same 3.2-litre 16-valve DOHC direct-injection (Di-D) four-cylinder intercooled turbo-diesel that debuted here in the new ML-series Triton utility in July. Now featuring a common-rail fuel system, the new diesel has been retuned to deliver 125kW - up from 118kW in Triton, but down from the current Pajero’s 121kW DiD peak.

Mitsubishi’s redesigned Outlander compact SUV will go on sale a month later in December, offering seating for up to seven, a 127kW/230Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a new six-speed continuously variable transmission and a 150kW/352Nm 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine – both driving through a part-time AWD system.

According to Mitsubishi, more than 2.5 million Pajeros have been produced in the 25 years since the first generation was released in 1982.

The Gen IV model will debut in Paris alongside several other new SUVs, including Australia-bound production models such as Nissan’s Qashqai, BMW’s second-generation X5 and facelifted X3, Land Rover’s revised 2007 Defender, Mitsubishi’s own Outlander "concept", Honda’s next-generation CR-V, Chevrolet’s Captiva and Opel’s Antara.

The latter two will form Holden’s first legitimate attack on the medium SUV sector under the Captiva nameplate from November.

Other Paris surprises may come in the shape of Volkswagen’s new mini-Touareg, the Tiguan SUV, an all-new Corolla from Toyota, a 3 Series convertible from BMW and a production version of Alfa Romeo’s Kamal SUV.

What’s in store for Paris:
Production cars:
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione coupe
Audi S3 hatch
BMW X3 SUV facelift
BMW 3 Series coupe
Chevrolet Captiva SUV
Citroen C4 Picasso MPV
Daihatsu Material hatch
Fiat Bravo hatch
Honda Civic Type R hatch
Hyundai Elantra hatch
Kia Cee'd sedan
Kia Opirus sedan
Land Rover Defender SUV facelift
Land Rover range Rover Sport TDV8
Lexus LS600H hybrid sedan
Mini Cooper hatch
Mitsubishi Pajero SUV
Mercedes-Benz CL coupe
Nissan Qashqaui SUV
Opel Antara SUV
Seat Altea XL
Skoda Octavia Scout SUV
Suzuki Swift Sport hatch
Suzuki Splash hatch
Porsche 911 GT3 and Targa variants
Toyota Yaris T-Sport hatch
Volvo C30 hatch

New concept cars:
Chevrolet WTCC Ultra hatch
Citroen C-Metisse coupe
Daihatsu D-compact X-Over SUV
Dodge D-segment sedan
Lancia Delta HPE sedan
Peugeot 908RC coupe
Peugeot 207 Epure convertible
Renault Nepta cabriolet
VW Iroc hatch
VW Tiguan SUV

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