1996 Pajero 2.8TD
Who says you need to break the bank to enjoy a decent overlander? Why not scoff at the glampers that just spent fifty grand on their slightly used 4Runner? This 1996 Mitsubishi Pajero is an incredible value, boasting a spacious cabin with the optional third row, a torquey turbodiesel, and an advanced 4WD system with a locking center differential. Finished in a stately Silver over Green two-tone (S74/L77), this top-of-the-range Exceed model sports a scooped hood, a factory brush guard with integrated fog lights, and an optional rear tire cover to add to the strictly business aesthetic. The hood and roof were also wrapped in a complementary gloss black as well to toughen up the exterior a bit. Rolling on a set of aftermarket 16" alloys, the exterior has plenty of panache, and should turn many a head on your local road or trail. Aside from a few minor scuffs, dings, and chips associated with normal use, the paint is in good shape and this rig is fresh off a recent service in our shop. Offered with a mere 96k verified and documented miles, this unique JDM SUV would make for a wonderful daily driver or weekend adventure truck. Efficient, affordable, and determined, this midsize Mitsu is a true Japanese Classic.
The cabin was cared for in a prior life and it definitely shows. This seven-seater is well-appointed, with electric equipment everywhere. The power windows, locks, and electric mirrors all work, save for an inoperable power moonroof and power-folding mirror function. Starting in '95, an easier-to-use digital climate system was added and this one still works as well as when it left the showroom floor. The rear occupants have their own climate zone and controls as well, which is rare to find even in new SUVs of this size. The A/C and heat work as does the upgraded Pioneer head unit. The sound clarity is great for a car of this age and it includes Bluetooth and USB inputs. The tan cloth seats are in above-average condition and lack any major rips or tears, although some light age-related staining is to be expected. The cloth is soft to the touch and everyone rides in comfort on longer hauls. The door cards look equally well cared for and the headliner and carpets have withstood the past quarter-century without taking much abuse. The dash is in good nick, too, and lacks any cracking or distortion. A factory field monitor is mounted atop it and features an inclinometer, altimeter, and aftermarket boost gauge that display vital information for those out and about off the beaten path. Unlike many vehicles of this era, the driver also benefits from a wheel-mounted SRS airbag for some extra peace of mind. A large center console with integrated dual cupholders is there for additional storage and a good-sized glove box includes the factory manuals and some maintenance records. That's not to say the cabin is perfect as the fuel gauge is spotty and center vents a little beat up, but that doesn't stop the cabin from being well appointed. At its age, it's really nitpicking and we at the dealership are really impressed with this one as a whole.
The real good stuff is beneath the skin of this 1996. Despite its modern cabin features, the mechanicals are more basic than the computer-laden crossovers sold nowadays. The 4M40 2.8L turbodiesel is the heart of this Pajero and is fresh off an oil and filter service, with a new valve cover gasket installed up top to seals this one against unwanted leaks. Known for its inexpensive cost of ownership, and readily available parts and top-tier reliability, the engine's reputation is a darn good one. Two new 12v batteries aid ignition, and the engine idles with confidence and breathes well thanks to a new engine air filter. Power is fed through a slick-shifting automatic gearbox and the selective transfercase was cutting edge at the time. Sure it has a low range and a beefy, locking center differential for the offroad crowd but, from a convenience standpoint, the system was ages ahead of the competition. From inside the cabin, the driver could switch between two and four-wheel drive at speeds up to 62 miles per hour. No one wants to pull over on a tight snowy road to engage 4WD, right? The steering is light and on point and the adjustable suspension is happy to handle large and small potholes alike. The brakes feel tight, and slow this rig to a screeching halt if needed. Fresh Falken all terrain rubber filters out road noise better than you'd think, and most importantly they'll aid this rig in delivering tens of thousands of miles of year-round grip to come.
*California Residents: In order to register a Gray Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.