- Mitsubishi Motors South Africa celebrates Pajero legend
- Only 100 Pajero “Legend 100” derivatives produced
- Pajero Sport Exceed takes over as Mitsubishi’s flagship 4x4 SUV
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, which introduced the latest version of the Pajero Sport in September 2017 and followed it up with upgrades in 2019 and 2020, has launched the Pajero “Legend 100” Club. This marks the release of the last 100 Special Edition versions of the iconic SUV in its current form.
“We are down to the last 100 units and celebrating it with the Pajero ‘Legend 100’ Club, which will find new lucky homes in 2021, proving the popularity of the car that built up an unequalled Dakar record which still stands today,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.
These exclusive limited models stand out thanks to a unique Pajero “Legend 100” badge and each owner receives a certificate of membership to the club.
The Pajero in all its forms over the years cemented Mitsubishi Motors as a top-class manufacturer of Sports Utility Vehicles, starting back in 1985 when a Pajero in the hands of French Dakar Legend Stéphane Peterhansel clinched the first of 12 Dakar victories in the original car.
Before this ultimate success, the original Mitsubishi Pajero planted its roots in the world’s longest and toughest motorsport event (to this day) in 1983 when three Mitsubishi Pajero’s participated in their first Dakar Rally from Paris in France and eventually finishing in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, in Africa.
Mitsubishi’s first of 12 overall victories, which stand as a Guinness World Record to this day, came in 1985 when Patrick Zaniroli and Jean da Silva, both from France, won the event in only the third year that the Pajero took part.
It was only in 1992 and 1993 that the Japanese brand stood on the top podium again when Frenchmen Hubert Auriol and Philippe Monnet won the event in a Mitsubishi Pajero. This was the longest distance this event ever ran, spanning 12 500 km from Paris in France (starting on 23 December 1991), finishing in Cape Town in South Africa on 16 January 1992.
The Pajero clinched two more consecutive victories in 1997 and 1998, with Japanese driver Kenjiro Shinozuka, who was the first-ever Dakar winner from Mitsubishi’s country of origin, in the 1997 race. This was also the only event ever run on African soil only, after starting and finishing in Dakar, Senegal.
This was followed by no less than seven consecutive victories year after year from 2001 to 2007, the last year the event was run on the African continent.
The world’s most successful female racing driver, Jutta Kleinschmidt from Germany, tried out the Pajero in 1995 and finished 12th in the Dakar Rally that year. She conquered the event in 2001 with fellow German Andreas Schultz in the navigator’s seat of their Mitsubishi Pajero.
Another Japanese driver took the honours in his Mitsubishi Pajero in 2002 and 2003 (Hiroshi Masuoka).
“Mr Dakar”, the most successful Dakar competitor ever with no less than 14 victories to his credit, took the Mitsubishi Pajero to victory in 2004, 2005 and 2007, while team-mate Luc Alph took the honours in 2006. This period is still a Dakar record with seven consecutive victories for the brand, and after having proven the Pajero being the best ever, Mitsubishi Motors withdrew their vehicle from the event after Peterhansel’s 2007 victory.
“We’ve done it 12 times in total and have the trophies to prove it,” recalls Campbell.
Pajero “Legend 100”:
The model in the Pajero range receiving the “Legend 100” certification is the 3.2-litre DI-DC Auto in SWB and LWB configuration.
Outstanding characteristics of its renowned diesel power plant, the DOHC Intercooled Turbo Diesel with Common Rail Direct Injection, sports 140 kW @ 3 800 rpm and 441 Nm @ 2 000 rpm.
These vehicles boast consumption figures of 9.5 litres per 100 km (10.7 for the LWB version) in the combined cycle, giving owners a reach of around 730 km on a single tank of fuel. That is all the way from Johannesburg to Margate for a visit to the beach or Cape Town to Gariep Dam to watch the overflowing dam wall – with fuel to spare...
Continuously upgraded, the Pajero “Legend 100” boasts all the safety features – and more – that Mitsubishi Motors is known for, giving owners the peace of mind of driving one of the safest SUVs on the road.
“Safety is one of Mitsubishi Motors’ most important attributes, and when it comes to the Pajero as well as all our products, nothing is more important,” says Campbell.
The Pajero range is built with Mitsubishi Motors’ Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body construction and packed with innovative safety technology.
These include no less than 6 airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchor points, Side-impact Protection Bars, Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist System (BAS), rear Park Distance Control, a rear-view camera and a host of other built-in safety features to protect the vehicle and its occupants.
“Instantly recognisable thanks to its “Legend 100” nomenclature, the legendary Pajero is king of the road and the great outdoors with clean 4×4 lines,” says Campbell.
It looks neatly combine with a striking chrome radiator grille, 18” alloy wheels, side steps and bold bumper, integrated fog lamps and LED Daytime Running Lamps. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlamps supply optimal night visibility, providing a wider view and brighter illumination.
Automatic headlamp levelling is perfectly suited to traversing steep inclines or when heavily laden or towing.
“The Pajero “Legend 100” is as luxurious inside as it is rugged outside,” says Campbell.
The roomy cabin with adjustable seating for up to seven adults, boasts versatile space that can be configured to maximise passenger or cargo space to suit everyday needs.
The second-row seats can be generously reclined for a more relaxed ride or be folded forward. The third-row seats comfortably occupy two extra people or can also be easily folded away to create a bigger, wide and flat storage space.
“You are in the driver’s seat – think of any terrain, and the limited Pajero ‘Legend 100’ will take you there. Apart from its powerful engine, the Super Select II-4WD system makes driving through the most challenging conditions and rugged terrains a pure joy,” says Campbell.
Drivetrain and interior
The Super Select II 4WD system used in Pajero “Legend 100” provides four driving modes: 2WD High Range, 4WD and 4WD High and Low Range with locked centre differential. An easy-to-operate four-wheel-drive selector dial allows switching between 2WD and 4WD on the move at speeds up to 100km/h.
Its interior is a far cry from the terrain it conquers. Ergonomically designed, leather-wrapped controls and high contrast meters, combined with flexible seating and plentiful storage, offer families everything they need, wherever they go.
The Multi-information display provides all the information you’ll ever need, even including a compass barometer and altimeter. Fully automatic air-conditioning with rear controls provides complete comfort for every occupant.
The third-row seats can easily be stowed under the cargo floor to create a wide, flat storage space. Second-row seats can also be folded forward to provide space for nearly anything you want to bring along for the ride.
The Pajero “Legend 100” audio system consists of an 860W High Power AMP and 12 speakers, including tweeters, woofers and subwoofers. Offering crystal-clear sound typically reserved for only the finest of home theatres, this multichannel audio system uses speakers placed throughout the vehicle for optimal sound balance, giving complete music enjoyment everywhere you go.
Pajero Sport Exceed takes over as Mitsubishi’s flagship 4x4 SUV
The Pajero Sport Exceed, launched in 2020, takes over as flagship.
“We strongly believe in this model. It has the impressive new 8-speed automatic transmission coupled to Mitsubishi Motors’ Super Select II-4WD system, offering optimum balance between engine power, fuel economy and interior quietness,” says Campbell. “Together the engine and transmission provide the kind of performance that makes driving in, on and through the most demanding conditions and rugged terrain an absolute joy.”
The pairing between its 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine and the latest automatic transmission’s wide range of gear ratios also provides smooth acceleration and low rpm for high-speed cruising on the open road, enhancing driving efficiency.
The selectable Off-Road Modes maximises traction on and across various surfaces. The Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand or Rock setting can be selected to suit surface conditions to optimise engine output, transmission settings and braking for superior traction control.
“The 4x4 driver selector dial on the new Exceed allows the driver to select between no less than four driving modes,” says Campbell. “Serious adventurers can rest assured that Mitsubishi’s advanced Super Select 4WD II system is among the best in the world and will be an asset on any excursion.
Warranty and service
The limited-edition Mitsubishi “Pajero 100” has a 3-year/100 000km manufacturer’s warranty and a 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan with 10 000km service intervals.