Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2-litre 16-valve DI-DC review

Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2-litre 16-valve DI-DC

The evergreen “Pagy” has been with us a long time, winning the Dakar 12 times along the way. The fourth generation Pajero was launched in 2006, but is more of a revision of the third generation which was launched in 1999. It is tough, robust and can really go anywhere.

Mitsubishi Pajero SWB

The Pajero comes in two sizes. The first one we are reviewing is the smaller Short Wheel Base version with two doors. This makes it very wieldy, but access and the view from the back seats is an issue. The boot space is tiny. Think of it as the true successor of the WWII jeep. Just much more capable, better equipped and luxurious.

In 2015 the Pajero was updated with a new front fascia with a revised grille, LED daytime running lights and a new spare tyre cover as well as infotainment system. A thorough facelift which brought it up to date.

Pajero LWB leg-room is generous

The highlight of Pajero is the Super Select 4WD system, which means you can leave the Pajero in 4WD mode all the time if you wish. Activating the Pajero’s high-range four-wheel drive leaves the differential open so that the car can be driven on all surfaces. You can also select only the rear wheels, locked 4×4 high range or low range. The rear differential can be manually locked at the push of a button.

With 235mm of ground clearance, a 700mm wading depth, 36.6/25 degree approach/departure angles, and wheels with excellent articulation you get a virtually unstoppable machine. The front end features independent suspension with a double-wishbone coil spring and stabiliser bar. The rear features independent suspension with a multi-link coil spring arrangement with stabiliser bar.

You’d need to be doing something silly to get into trouble with the Pajero off-road, such is the system’s competence.

Pajero interior

The Pajero remains a favourite with caravanners and boaters with its 3000kg tow rating (with electric brakes, 750 kg unbraked), which is more than enough to tow a fair-sized van or boat for weekends away.

The interior is just right and is fully equipped. The dash has been upgraded and now offers a cluster above the infotainment system with a dot matrix display that incorporates the trip computer and four-wheel drive information. The speedometer and tachometer cluster features drivetrain information, along with the vehicle’s vital running status.

This Pajero is great for cruising and brilliant in sand, over rocks, whatever you throw it at.

For  R689 900 you get the car and a 5 year 100 000 km maintenance plan as well as a 3 year 100 000 km warranty. But:

Mitsubishi holiday promotion here.

Mitsubishi Pajero LWB

The normal or Long Wheel Base 4 door version is such a pleasure to go on tour with. You can throw anything at it, and it will just simply shrug it off. It is slightly old school, but in the best possible way.

The ground clearance is also 235mm, and the rest of the specs just like the SWB model.

The lights have been updated and it now has rear parking camera and sensors. The infotainment system has been brought up to date with inter alia Bluetooth and Handsfree Voice Control integrated into the Pajero’s multi-function steering wheel.

Mitsubishi Pajero LWB facelifted rear

I think the LWB  model is the one to get.

A completely new Pajero is expected later in 2018.

Get the latest prices here.

See review off-road in 2015.

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Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi 6AT 5DR review

Mazda2

Mazda2

Mazda2

Mazda are back with a bang in South Africa. Good looking cars. Great new engines. All the safety kit.
The Mazda2 we are reviewing here has big shoes to fill. Remember the two versions of 323 we had back in the day? Good cars which seemingly lasted for ever. This new 4th generation model was Car of the Year in Japan in its launch year.

Mazda2

Mazda2

Our test car had a beautiful colour, Smoky Rose, better in the flesh than in a photo. The same can be said about the exterior of this Mazda2. Very pleasing to look at. Mazda calls their design philosophy ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design. They kind of get it right, I think.

The interior is neat, uncluttered and smart, with a few luxury aspects like red stitching on the dash cowling and soft touch where it matters. The half leather trim seats are comfortable and quite adjustable. A premium cabin that not only looks good, but feels right and exudes quality.
So it looks right, but how does it perform?

The 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission couples directly with the engine and combines the best aspects of a conventional automatic, continuously variable (CVT) and dual clutch transmissions. It is brilliant and points to the future.

mazda2_16_rear

This model has a very modern up-to-date robust 1.5 turbodiesel engine which develops 250Nm of torque and 77kW of power. Mazda claims a fuel consumption of 4.4L/100km and I got a very creditable 5.8L/100km in real life driving. Acceleration and top speed is fine but is definitely geared to economy. The chassis has been well set up and delivers great handling and superb road holding. As with Mazda in general, it’s a fun car to drive, and it has all the safety kit.

MZD Connect is the Mazda infotainment system. It is a complete system with a multi function commander rotary control just like on swanky German cars, a 7” touchscreen, Bluetooth and USB connections, clear, intuitive menu, several other functions and even includes internet radio (Pandora, sticher and aha). Pretty nifty. Easy to use and works well.

The Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi 6AT 5DR as tested costs R290 700. The range starts at R204 100 for the 1.5 Active, which has the very good Skyactive petrol engine and feels seriously quick.

Mazda price list here. 

I would rather get the Mazda2 1.5 petrol Individual automatic at R227 200 if I was buying a B class car now. If you need a slightly bigger car have a look at the Ford Focus 1.0T.

You get a 3-year unlimited kilometre factory warranty , a 3-year service plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty.

Other cars in this segment include the brilliant Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta and Focus 1.0T, Kia Rio, Hyundai i30, Toyota Yaris, VW Polo and Renault Clio.

Mazda2

Mazda2

Mitsubishi ASX review

Mitsubishi ASX

The ASX fits right into the small familiy SUV / crossover segment which includes the Mazda CX-3, Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Ford EcoSport, Renault Captur and Audi Q2.

So, lots of cometition but somehow the ASX stands out with the CX-3 and possibly the Qashqai.

I liked the ASX. Right size, right performance, right fit and finish.

Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa, says: “We have to address the current affordability needs of our customers. Today’s economy often forces buyers to opt for lower-spec vehicles, but our new ASX 2.0 GL CVT derivative offers the comfort and efficiency of Mitsubishi’s CVT transmission as well as its impressive standard specification in a truly attractive package. When you consider Mitsubishi’s world-class safety ratings, the new ASX 2.0 GL CVT is easily the best sub R400 000 vehicle on the market.”

He has a point or two.

The updated interior has also gone upmarket.

Luxury features include Bluetooth with voice control, cruise control, a multi-function steering wheel, electric windows, air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers, rear park distance control and automatic lights as standard on all models. GLX and GLS derivatives offer a full-length panoramic glass roof, keyless operation, a full colour touch-screen infotainment system, heated leather seats in the front, and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, as well as a rear-view camera.

The new Mitsubishi ASX line-up consists of five derivatives all featuring the frugal and  reliable 2.0 MIVEC petrol engine. This engine is equipped with Mitsubishi’s  Valve Timing Electronic Control System (MIVEC) and multi-point injection that produces 110 kW at 6 000 rpm and 197 Nm of torque at 4 200 rpm. Power is delivered to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox or CVT transmission with six pre-programmed gear steps.

The system works well.

Mitsubishi ASX interior (Photo: Danita du Plessis)

The ASX is one of the safest vehicles in its class and has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. All ASX models feature Mitsubishi’s proprietary Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body shell, seven airbags, ISOFIX child restraint mountings and a range of dynamic safety systems that include ABS, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assistance (BAS).

In addition to the above-mentioned specification, the Mitsubishi GLS derivatives feature LED running lights, electronic active stability and traction control (ASTC) and hill start assist (HSA) as standard.

The car feels planted on the road and has the power to do what you expect. In short, it is a highly competent package and pleasant to drive.

Prices

2.0 MIVEC GL 5-speed M/T R364,900
2.0 MIVEC GL 6-speed CVT R399,900
2.0 MIVEC GLX 5-speed M/T R399,900
2.0 MIVEC GLS 5-speed M/T RF R414,900
2.0 MIVEC GLS 6-speed CVT RF R434,900

ASX is sold with a comprehensive 5-year / 90 000 km service plan and 3-year / 100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty.

 

 

Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX M

Suzuki Baleno 1.4 GLX M

Suzuki Baleno

The Suzuki Baleno is a completely new car on a completely new Suzuki platform in South Africa. Despite being larger than the Swift, the Baleno is 11% lighter, with a kerb mass of just 915 kg. As a result it has sprightly performance.

It is manufactured exclusively in India, by Maruti Suzuki since 2015, as a five-door hatchback, for 30 markets around the world.

Suzuki Baleno side view

For now only the well known and reliable K14B 1,4-litre normally aspirated engine is offered in SA, but this may be a good thing as it delivers surprisingly nippy performance in this body and has less bits that can go wrong. The drag coefficient of just 0,299, makes it the most aerodynamic production model Suzuki available and helps the performance.

It is a good looking car with the typical modern Suzuki nose including HID projector elements and LED daytime running lights and low-mounted recessed fog lamps, but it is not as “sexy” as the Swift.

Baleno’s interior is 87 mm longer than that of the Swift giving it class-leading rear legroom and the rear bench seat is wide enough for three occupants. The well executed cabin has very good space for this size of car and very good noise suppression. A tall person can sit in the back quite comfortably.

It is typically Japanese in style and is pleasant and ergonomic. The dash houses a 6,2-inch TFT colour screen in the GLX models and a comprehensive small display in front of the driver with trip data.

It has a deep luggage compartment with a good at 355 normally and can be extended to 756 litres with the rear seated folded flat.

Suzuki Baleno

There are two trim levels, the entry-level GL and the well equipped GLX, which comes with a choice of five-speed manual manual with an excellent power-to-weight ratio of 76,5 kW/ton or four-speed automatic.

The Baleno rides on an independent front suspension consisting of MacPherson struts, coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar in front, combined with a torsion beam, coil springs, dampers and an anti-roll bar at the rear which allows it to soak up road irregularities and gives it good handling performance.

Suzuki claims average fuel consumption for the combined cycle comes to 5,1 Litres/100 km for the manual model, and 5,4 Litres/100 km for the automatic version. I actually got 5.4 Litres/100km on my usual test cycle.

I liked the car and would recommend it because of the big boot, good interior space and frugal but sprightly performance. Suzuki have a winner on their hands.

Priced from R199 900 to R244 900.

The new Swift, still to be launched  has a 1,2-litre Dualjet engine and appears to be smaller and sportier than the Baleno.

The competition includes the smaller Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta as well as the  Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Renault Clio.

The new Baleno is covered by a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000 km service plan. Services are at 15 000 km/12 month intervals.