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You will of course know my style by now, and understand that I get a little overenthusiastic about the toys that I buy. However... This time I waited a while before writing my review, but can still say that this IS a FANTASTIC car!
Let's start with why you should buy the Imported Pajero rather than it's English cousin the Shogun...
First you have to understand *why* there are so many Pajero's in the UK. This started back in the early nineties when the only decent 4x4's you could get were imports (other than Land Rover/Range Rover's), and normally an imported car would need 'conversion' to the UK (e.g. Swapping over of the steering wheel to the correct side etc.) This is not the case with a Pajero, as the Japanese drive on the same side of the road as us! The only changes that need to be made are; Indicator lights, Fog Lights and MPH Speedo Facia. Hence a very cheap import to convert.
Secondly; Japan's 'MOT' laws make it almost impossible to drive a vehicle that is more than 6 years old.
Thirdly; In Japan, a quality vehicle is seen as a 'face' or 'pride' thing, and as such, most imported Pajero's are fully loaded with all the toys, and have been superbly maintained.
So when you compare your Pajero like-for-like with a Shogun, you are likely to see that it is in much better condition, has more features and has much lower mileage.
Now that we have a background to the vehicle, let look at it's features.
The Pajero comes in either Petrol or Diesel with engine sizes ranging from 2.8TD to 3.5 V6 24v GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection - Petrol to you and I...) - The MPG (Miles-per-gallon) varies from 18-25, with the higher value surprisingly reached by the 3.5V6 Petrol engine.
The version I have is the 3.litre V6 24v Petrol Short-Wheel-Base (2-door) Automatic. If I were to recommend a particular model, it would be this, but the LWB (Long-Wheel-Base) version as it has more room for shopping!
Performance-wise, this vehicle tears up the tarmac, leaving the sad little boy-racer Vauxhall Novas in its wake, and commands a large presence on the road at the same time. The handling is good, enhanced by the ability to soften or harden the suspension instantly with the flick of a switch. Motorways are a dream with the cruise Control (Note: You need to have this converted to work at >55mph), and with separate climate control for the front and rear passengers, a comfortable journey for all. My 3.5 version goes off the clock at 110mph, but seems to still have loads left in it. Acceleration-wise, this easily competes with most 2.0litre saloon cars.
In relation to Off-Road use; This vehicle is a favourite amongst "green-laners", and is often seen covered in mud! The gearbox has 2/4 wheel shift, with 'Diff-lock' and suspension height-adjustment.
The reliability of the vehicle is obviously very good (as are almost all Japanese motors), and servicing costs are not much higher than a normal saloon car.
All-in-all, I would definitely recommend this car as a great all-rounder, with classic 4x4 looks, but as stated before, would definitely go for the LWB version.