Used Cars 1996 model Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 Diesel

Published on April 16th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 Diesel Used SUV Review

A workhorse that has stopped its sliding depreciation.

Since its debut the Mitsubishi Pajero has been a favourite with private and commercial buyers. Exported to 151 countries, the Mitsubishi Pajero was at one time the most popular 4×4 SUV with a firm support throughout the world. Its popularity in Malaysia at one time had Malaysians calling any 4×4 wagon a Pajero and this made its segment rivals really upset. The Malaysia Police Department, Road Transport Department and some other government agencies also loved the Pajero, especially the early model L047. This is why there are so many of these older units on sale for less than RM10,000 today. 

1996 Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 Diesel cabin
1996 Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 Diesel

Motorsports Ability

The early Mitsubishi Pajero’s participated with great success in the Paris-Dakar Rally and other motor sports events which served as a grueling proving ground for this vehicles durability and reliability. In the 1997 Dakar Rally, Mitsubishi Motors’ employee Kenjiro Shinozuka became the first Japanese driver to take overall honors when he piloted his Pajero to victory ahead of two other Pajeros in a 1-2-3 sweep. Feeding back the know-how and experience garnered in such events and reflecting it in the production vehicle enables the Mitsubishi engineers to hone further Pajero’s basic automotive technology.

1994 Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 Diesel

Its History

Early versions of the Pajero were shown in 1973 but the vehicle we have come to know did not really start its showroom duty until 1982. Mitsubishi had the right idea which was to build a solid and dependable four-wheel-drive, give it a bit of a profile in terms of styling and offer something a bit extra in terms of cabin equipment.

BHPetrol RON95 Euro 4M

What Is On Offer Today

The Mitsubishi Pajero was arguably the first affordable 4WD that was a family wagon rather than a truck-based 4WD.

This was a genuine SUV, not a passenger car with a tough looking body and so the Pajero was competent off-road, being able to handle most situations likely to be encountered by an adventurous family, a farmer, a contractor and also a logging company manager needing to reach his jungle headquarters. 

Mitsubishi’s sophisticated Super Select drivetrain permitted the use of all-wheel-drive under any circumstance. For example, safe traction on wet inner city roads if you opt for AWD, or lower fuel consumption on dry dirt roads if you go for 2WD. AWD can be engaged or disengaged on the fly at any speed up to 100 km/h.

The second generation Pajero arrived in 1991 to replace the boxy first version. Engines remained largely the same units from the 1991 launch with a choice of V6 petrol or four-cylinder diesel engine which is what we are highlighting in this used review. For Malaysia, the diesel engine was a 2.8-litre while the petrol engine was a 3.0-litre 12-valve.

The Mitsubishi Pajero was sold then by United Straits Fuso Sdn Bhd (USF) in Malaysia as a 5-door wagon and also a limited number of 2-door wagons also made a brief appearance. The two-door was never particularly popular and imports stopped after a few years.

The 5-door Pajero’s come with 7 seats where the rear 3rd row two seats in the seven-seat models are better suited to kids than adults.

Diesel power is preferred by most buyers as it has decent amount of torque and seem to enjoy hard work. The 2.8 diesel engine if well maintained should still be able to provide the manufacturers performance figures. Torque is rated at 292Nm from its 2835cc engine and a top speed of 150km/h is possible. The 0-100km/h acceleration time of 16.8 seconds might not be reachable at this time as it is pulling an aged 1.6 ton vehicle. 

What To Look Out For

It is best to always get a detailed service history, but with a vehicle this old, 1996 or so, there would have been a few owners by now and if all the owners kept detailed records and the last owner is having all of them to share, then you are indeed very lucky. If you can get the current owners servicing records and it is has a few years in them, then you could use this record as guide to how well they kept their Pajero is and see how much wear and tear parts were replaced. 

Take a test drive and listen out for a whining gearbox and differentials. Check under the Pajero where it was parked overnight for power steering, engine and gearbox oil leaks. 

Also check the driveshaft joints, check underneath for scratches and dents to see off road abuse, tailgate and underbody corrosion and of course accident damage. 

Always get to get a trusted mechanic to check your purchase and not the used car dealers workshop please. 


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