Even though it's not quite good in performance, this car is utterly reliable. It's still running up to now, even though it has lived for almost 200,000kms. However, I'm about to sell it because it has been encountering TONS of problems, literally.
The Pajero is one of the best off-roaders out there, hands down. Despite having a very lethargic, weak and smoke-belching diesel (imagine a 2.5-liter that has 99hp and 240Nm of torque pulling a 1.6-ton SUV), it's adequate for the Philippines' jammed pack roads. It's off-roading capabilities are great, but don't expect it to conquer the peak of Mt. Pinatubo.
About the performance, it's OK. In normal Philippine roads (jammed pack with traffic and full of ruts, potholes and bumps), it performs quite well, I might say. Powered by a 2.5-liter diesel that churns out 99hp and 240Nm of torque, it gives a steady and safe acceleration. Wait a sec? Holy **** Take two!
OK, powered by a 2.5-liter diesel that churns out 99hp and 240Nm of torque, it accelerates this 1.6-ton SUV veeeeeeery slowly like a snail.
It's soooo slow that even a tiny Kia Pride with a 1.1-liter engine can overtake it in a jiffy!
Overtaking big trucks or other slowpokes in a highway takes patience and calculation, plus the correct shifting time, blah blah blah, as the acceleration is slow, slow, slow.
However, it's a bit adequate for the everyday commute.
Together with the meager performance is a mixed bag fuel mileage. In one trip with my family and friends to Baguio (summer capital of the Philippines, that's 9 people, including the driver), the fuel mileage swung back and forth, depending on the road condition. City driving returns 7km/L, highway driving about 10km/L, and on uphill climbs, even the gentle ones, it returns a measly mileage of approximately 3-5km/L!
But in off-roading, the Pajero shows its aces. It can go through jagged terrain without fuss, despite the meager engine. It can go over rocks and totally messed up trails, it can sink deep in water, ruining the brakes and the alternator bearing, but still keeps on running, and it can climb up steep slopes, albeit struggling like the Big Show pulling an 18-wheeler truck with his own body up a steep hill. The front double wishbones and rear rigid axle with 3-link coil spring keeps it cool, to ensure that "everything's just fine".
In normal Philippine roads, there's a downside to that suspension setup. The ride is popsicle stick firm with a big capital F, as the cabin suffers from huge and uncomfortable jerks that plague this cabin. It can even shudder in the smallest ruts. It's even noisy, as the Pajero goes over humps, the suspensions clanks noisily. Body roll is evident, but not as excessive as the one in the pre-2002 Ford Expedition.
Steering is very light and non-existent (meaning it gives very little or no feedback), as it's geared for ease of use rather than reaction. You can't even feel that you're steering on a front pair of massive 15-inch tires. Plus, the turning radius is large.
Brakes are excellent. They bring this 1.6-ton SUV to a dead halt in just a short time, aspiring confidence. However, the brake pedal is a bit spongy.
On the inside, it defies the exterior. The Pajero outside is a large brute, that deceives.
The inside is smaller than you'd expect. The space is even rather small, and compact SUVs like the RAV4 and CR-V may have more space than this. What's more, the seats are hard and firm, just like the chassis. Better place leather covering to soften up the seats.
The front seats are great, as it's airy and supportive despite being firm. The driver's seat however, is upright and truck-like. The middle row's support areas are in the wrong places and is best for 2 people only. The rear's just torture, as the space is skimpy and sitting right over the coil spring. For the people in the 2nd and last row, expect to have a sore back and butt on a 2-hour journey. People in the front should be just fine.
For the radio, it's user-unfriendly, as it's chock full of small and fiddly buttons that requires a manual to operate. However, it brings out a good sound though.
The aircon in this car is excellent. There's at least 1 vent for everyone here. It's also cold, and it cools down the cabin in no time, even under intense heat.
The quietness is so-so. You can hear the diesel engine growling away all the time, but the tires at least are quiet, until you surpass 80km/h.
Overall, despite its cons, it's still a solid choice that'll last really long. Running costs are cheap.
This man reviewing about this vehicle is in the Philippines. Some of the things said may not be true in other countries.