1999 Mitsubishi Pajero io 1.8 GDI from Singapore


For jeepsters!


Engine mounting revealed problems with the then new GDI engine, since the car would shake violently on the road in idle. Agent fixed the problem only after the next incident. Apparently we were not the only case in Singapore.

7 months after owning this jeep, the electronic mechanism on the gas pedal failed on the North-South Highway in Malaysia.

General Comments:

Apart from early problems, 4 years on, the jeep has served us well. Has not broken down since... and starts the first time.

Fuel consumption could be better.

Ride in the cabin on the highway is a little noisy at the back! Otherwise it is fine. The ride is generally hard and precise. Very jeepy if you are the sporty sort. Not for 'soft-roaders'.

Could do with better boot space. I have a sub-woofer in the boot... a little tight to have anything else.

Cabin is nice... finish is really good. Ergonomics excellent. Recently test-drove the Honda CRV and 2004 Toyota Rav4. Still prefer the finish of the io. Rav4 had the best ride though - but had tacky and even poor finish. The CRV was van-like in all senses. Great for people with long legs though! All in, all jeeps in this class have developed niches and strengths in the market.

The io is great in the front seats and mediocre in the back. Good for small families and bachelors! A no-status sports utility vehicle... decent for soft-offroading too. It is essentially a jeep. 2WD and 4WD differential is a plus feature not found on the other vehicles in its class.

Travels well on the highway. At roughly 105-110 km/h, GDI economy mode goes off - this allows the GDI engine to work overtime for mid-range speed overtaking to be effortless for a 1.8 litre engine. A plus point.

Pick-up speed not wonderful... but a powerful enough car for its size including a full load. Built like its big-brother Pajeros... great for going at high-speed on highways and offroad. The pedigree is there in this mid-sized jeep.

Critics generally hate this car though... and most owners recognise for what it is... a jeep for the city that still is a jeep through and through. Will maintain good looks in its class - and remember, it was after all designed by Pinifarina... lets not forget that!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th April, 2004

24th Mar 2005, 21:13

Thinking of buying an 99 IO auto. Could you comment on their ability on beaches compared to their big brother the Pajero. Many thanks.

11th Feb 2007, 13:00

I am crazy over the pajero io, I was lucky to drive them a few times and have gone crazy over them..

9th May 2007, 03:51

Pajero IO GDI 1.8 - I find the driving position excellent- better than my Mercedes E220 CDI. Steering is very sharp and quick - combined with good visibility, auto-box and short wheelbase makes it a very easy car to drive in the city indeed. The pick up is quite good and overtaking on the highway is a breez. Much better than the autobox on my Mercedes CLK - which is very lazy. Overall a very useful vehicle - I have even transported a big sofa with the seats flat!! Low ratio gear box is a must to tackle difficult roads in Sri Lanka

Not a car for speed freaks though- unstable at high speeds, especially if you hit a rough patch.

Initially had problems with cold starts. After cleaning the injectors the problem resolved. Needs to add STP or similar fuel additive. No other engine problems. The battery needs to be filled up frequently becuase it sits on top of the engine. Maybe it was designed for cold countries.

Interior finish is very good indeed - especially in the Sorrento version. Front seats are excellent, but the rear seats are firm and bouncy. The Radio is first class and so is the A/C - it has never given me any problems over the last seven years. On board computer is useful - unfortunately it is in Japanese. Anyone has English software? Overall a very nice vehicle to own.

21st Mar 2009, 13:11

I own a 2000 model Pajero IO 2.0 SWB manual, and I'm very impressed with its off-road abilities and reliability.

Bought it in 2006 with 46 000km on the clock and now stands at 121 000km. It's on its second set of Cooper Discoverer St 235/70/16, which look great and adds a lot of traction in rough off-roading conditions.

Shocks were replaced recently, and I'm really looking to give the little IO some lift, but no one can help me with coil springs that fit as I'm in Swakopmund, Namibia. I know Ironman has a kit, but our dealer here doesn't import them.

Otherwise, a wonderful car which puts bigger 4x4's to shame.

26th Sep 2010, 09:46

I agree with the article on fuel efficiency: this mini SUV could do with better economy. The rear seat too is not so comfy. Emissions not very clean: tail pipe is very dark and heavy with carbon.

5th Dec 2010, 03:46

Hi guys, I own a 1999 Pajero IO 4G93 GDI version and am having engine idling fluctuation problem. Local mechanics at wit's end trying to determine the cause. Anyone with similar experience and could share with me on the solution (s) if any? Greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

7th May 2012, 05:55

Hey man.. that's a small problem. All you need to do is replace your fuel pump and problem solved... Limm.

2nd Mar 2015, 22:33

I have the iO, and I love it.

1999 Mitsubishi Pajero iO 5 door 1.8L petrol Multi-point fuel i from Australia and New Zealand


The only small 4WD designed for serious four wheel driving


Roof rack is attached using hooks instead of gutters. This makes it virtually impossible for roof rack manufacturers to design a system which can support any substantial weight. With the standard Mitsubishi equipment (Rola) my roof rack came off on a corrugated road, and when I upgraded to Thule racks it came off again when I hit a hole in the road. Weight was never more than 70kg.

Apart from this shortcoming, no problems whatsoever.

General Comments:

Fantastic small car with real selectable 2WD/4WD with low range and central diff lock just like the larger pajeros. This means you can go places which are impossible using the constant 4WD system of other small 4WD cars.

The small 1.8L engine is economical, but adequate even when fully loaded.

Clearance is OK for it's size. The undercarriage is well protected.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2002

8th Jan 2008, 16:17

I've had the 99 Pajero io for about a year now. Great little 4wd. Has good under carriage protection, climbs well and as a SWB I've found it can get into some tight places. The only problem I have with it is it's clearance; even a couple of inches more would do the trick. Parts have to be ordered from Japan, which sucks.

Overall though, I'm very happy with it's off road capability. I would go so far as to say it's the best small 4wd out there.

25th Nov 2014, 18:05

I am having a transmission issue. When the transmission light comes on, in time the car suddenly slows down in highway driving. If I pull over for ten minutes and shut the engine off, the problem typically goes away. No mechanic (even at Mitsubishi) can read the codes my mechanic was able to retrieve. Anyone ever had the same issues? I am stumped.

5th Jul 2017, 08:48

I'm having the same challenge, especially after travelling long distances. How did you resolve this?