Driven - Mitubishi Pajero VRX & Exceed LWB

Mitsubishi's latest iteration of its long-running, big off-road cruiser is a bit difficult to pigeonhole. There's no doubt it's extremely capable off road, but that's probably of little importance to the majority of its buyers. For the school run, where most Pajeros will be doing their work, off-road capability is largely irrelevant.

It has a tough, rugged feel to it, but is fairly well equipped in the way the market for big 4WD wagons demands. The 3.8-litre V6 engine is smooth but with just adequate power for the job - though it's mated to a truly excellent automatic transmission. Turbo diesel engine variants are also available.

Around town its size is an attraction to many people, not just for the good load capacity, but also for its height and lofty driving position. In the country, it cruises very nicely which is one of the current Pajero's greatest strengths. It's let down by uncomfortable seats though - especially the flat, unsupportive pews in the rear.

The finish inside and out seems to be to a good standard and the equipment level is up to the job, with the plush, range-topping Exceed being especially well endowed with comfort features - including rear DVD player, leather seats, etc. The long wheelbase is more spacious, but Mitsubishi has missed the opportunity to make the rear seats significantly better.

It's certainly not car-like to drive. Ultimately the Pajero is probably no less sophisticated or truck-like than its other full-chassis competitors you'd really need to have a 4WD in the first place.

One important consideration for a buyer should be Mitsubishi's market-leading 5-year/130,000km warranty.

Engine type: 3.8-litre V6
Power: 184 kW
Torque: 329 Nm
Transmission: 5-speed Automatic (5-speed manual also available)
Performance: 0-100km/h 13.5 seconds
Price: $57,990 at time of review