Tested: 2012 Mitsubishi Pajero Legend

Pajero legend includes N$120 000 worth of accessories

I’ve recently become very aware of how much of a selling a point a car full of gadgets is, particularly for those more outdoor-orientated types. This point was driven home recently when I test-drove Mitsubishi’s Pajero Legend – a limited edition of the popular 4th generation Pajero 3.2 Di –D GLX  – complete with a rather generous supply of gear and gadgetry to tempt any 4×4 enthusiast into the bush.

To celebrate 30 years of Pajero, Mitsubishi brought out the limited edition Legend and, working hand in hand with that well known outdoor brand, Safari Centre, kitted each vehicle out with almost N$120 000 worth of rather impressive outdoor extras. The nett result being rather tempting to forsake the office commute and head to the hills. Instead, the Pajero got to bask under much attention as co-workers prodded, opened, closed, investigated and passed commentary on the suitability of vehicle and its accompanying gear.

But it was more than its appearance which impressed me. We were testing the six-speed automatic and admittedly, in true South African style the Pajero was equally happy during the daily commute from the ‘burbs to the city as off the tar, providing an imposing ride (oh the bliss of being able to reclaim the right hand lane at times!) but a very smooth one at that. The 3.2l diesel pumps out 140kW at 3800rpm – perfect for the odd spurt of speed in overtaking. More importantly, city slickers will be very pleasantly surprised at the Pajero’s manoeuvrability when parking in the city centre.

But we really wanted to test the Pajero’s off-road capability. A phone call to a neighbour and we were able to do just that! There are four driving modes, two-wheel drive high range for tar and city commutes, 4WD high range for added traction over irregular surfaces,  4WD high range with centre diff engaged which distributes power evenly across all four wheels – ideal for really poor surfaces and 4WD low range with centre diff engaged. In this last mode, we were able to tackle the steep ascents and descents across rather crumbly clay surfaces on the farm with the vehicle maximising its low end torque. Speaking of torque, this peaks at 441Nm at a reasonable 2000rpm. Both high range options can be engaged on the fly at speeds of up to 100km/h. However, engaging low range requires the vehicle to be stationary and in neutral.

Performance wise, the Pajero turned our mountain into a molehill with a very steady steep hill climb up roads that were uneven and crossed with deep drainage dongas (fit only for mountain bikers and tractors to navigate normally!) The 235mm ground clearance ensured that we didn’t bottom out and the approach and departure angles of 36.6° and 25° respectively meant that all tricky obstacles were navigated with equanimity. It must be noted that this Pajero has been especially tweaked for extreme off-road driving with active stability and traction control (ASTC). It is also highly capable in the towing department with a braked towing capacity of 3300kg.

But it’s the addition of all the gear that will really persuade those outdoor types that this is the 4×4 for them. The Legend sports a tow ball, rock sliders and under-body protection plates. We were most impressed by the LED spotlights which turn the darkest road into full daylight. For those who like to drop everything and head out camping at whim, the Legend sports a roof rack with a gas canister and two jerry cans as well as a pair of very comfortable heavy-duty camping chairs in the boot. The roof rack has the added versatility of doubling as a table.

Under the bonnet is a dual battery system as well as an air compressor for inflating the all-terrain tyres.  Our model also sported a snorkel, the seats were fitted with heavy duty seat covers and a Garmin GPS mounted to the dashboard. In the boot we located a 50litre Luna freezer (with protective covers) in addition to a full recovery kit. As part of the recovery kit, a spade and high-lift jack were fitted to the roof rack adding to the rugged appeal of the Legend.

With all the options, the price of the Pajero Legend comes in at a somewhat hefty N$619 000 but bear in mind this is only N$90 000 more than the standard 3.2lDi-D GLX Diesel’s cost of N$529 000, meaning you score on some of the kit. The price is inclusive of a three-year 100 000km warranty and a five-year 100 000km maintenance plan.


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