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Pajero 3 Buying Guide: What to Look for When Shopping for a Used Mitsubishi SUV

Pajero 3: A Full-Size 4x4 with a Legacy of Performance

If you are looking for a full-size 4x4 that can handle any terrain and challenge, you might want to consider the Pajero 3. This is the third generation of the Mitsubishi Pajero, a legendary off-road vehicle that has been in production since 1981. The Pajero 3 was introduced in 1999 and was discontinued in 2021, after more than two decades of success and innovation. In this article, we will explore what makes the Pajero 3 a great choice for anyone who loves adventure and performance.

pajero 3


What is the Pajero 3?

The Pajero 3 is a full-size 4x4 manufactured and marketed globally by Mitsubishi over four generations. It is also known as the Montero or Shogun in some markets, depending on the local preferences and regulations. The Pajero 3 is a luxury, yet rugged and capable competitor to other full-size 4x4s such as the Land Rover Range Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser. It has a spacious and comfortable interior, a powerful and reliable engine, and a sophisticated and versatile four-wheel-drive system.

Why is it called Pajero 3?

The name Pajero comes from Leopardus pajeros, the scientific name for the Pampas cat, a wild feline native to South America. The name was chosen to reflect the agility and strength of the vehicle, as well as its ability to adapt to different environments. The number 3 refers to the third generation of the Pajero lineage, which debuted in 1999 and lasted until 2021. The third generation was also known as V60 or V70, depending on the body style (three-door or five-door).

What are the main features of the Pajero 3?

Some of the main features of the Pajero 3 are:

  • A wide range of inline four and V6 engines, with displacements ranging from 2.5 to 3.8 liters, and outputs ranging from 115 to 243 horsepower.

  • A five-speed manual or automatic transmission, with an INVECS-II system that adapts to the driving style and conditions.

  • A Super Select four-wheel-drive system that allows switching between two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive high range, four-wheel drive high range with locked center differential, and four-wheel drive low range with locked center differential.

  • An Active Stability & Traction Control System that monitors wheel speed, steering angle, throttle position, brake pressure, yaw rate, and lateral acceleration, and adjusts engine output and braking force to prevent skidding and loss of control.

  • A rear differential lock that enhances traction on slippery or uneven surfaces.

  • A cruise control that maintains a constant speed without using the accelerator pedal.

  • A keyless entry system that unlocks the doors with a remote transmitter.

  • A leather seat trim with power adjustment for the driver's seat.

  • A wood and leather steering wheel with audio and hands-free phone controls.

  • A wide display audio system with AM/FM radio, CD, MP3, and DVD player, with a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium sound system.

  • A multi-information display that shows the compass, barometer, altimeter, outside temperature, average fuel consumption, driving range, and maintenance information.

  • A dual-zone automatic climate control that adjusts the temperature and air flow for the driver and front passenger.

  • A sunroof that can be tilted or slid open with a switch.

  • A rear spoiler that improves aerodynamics and adds style.

  • A roof rack that provides extra storage space for luggage or equipment.

  • A side step that facilitates entry and exit.

  • A front skid plate that protects the engine from rocks and debris.

  • A rear bumper step that helps loading and unloading cargo.

  • A spare tire carrier that mounts the spare tire on the rear door.

History and Development

How did the Pajero 3 evolve from the previous generations?

The Pajero 3 was the result of more than 20 years of research and development by Mitsubishi. The first generation of the Pajero was launched in 1981 as a compact 4x4 with a ladder frame chassis and a leaf spring suspension. It was designed to be a versatile and affordable vehicle that could be used for both on-road and off-road driving. The second generation of the Pajero was introduced in 1991 as a mid-size 4x4 with a monocoque body and a coil spring suspension. It was designed to be a more refined and sophisticated vehicle that could compete with other luxury 4x4s in the market. The third generation of the Pajero was unveiled in 1999 as a full-size 4x4 with a hybrid chassis that combined a monocoque body with a ladder frame. It was designed to be a more powerful and advanced vehicle that could offer the best of both worlds: comfort and performance.

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What were the major changes and improvements in the Pajero 3?

Some of the major changes and improvements in the Pajero 3 were:

  • A larger and more spacious body, with increased dimensions in length, width, height, wheelbase, and ground clearance.

  • A more aerodynamic and stylish design, with smoother lines, sharper angles, and chrome accents.

  • A more rigid and durable chassis, with reinforced cross members, side rails, and subframes.

  • A more responsive and stable suspension, with independent double wishbones in the front and multi-link in the rear.

  • A more efficient and powerful engine, with variable valve timing, electronic throttle control, direct injection, intercooler, turbocharger, and common rail system.

  • A more intelligent and adaptable transmission, with adaptive shift control, sport mode, manual mode, sequential shift control, and shift lock system.

  • A more innovative and versatile four-wheel-drive system, with active center differential, active front differential, active rear differential, active yaw control, active brake control, hill start assist, hill descent control, traction control mode selector, drive mode selector, and super select mode selector.

  • A more comprehensive and convenient equipment package, with features such as navigation system, rear view camera, parking sensors, blind spot warning, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, automatic high beam, rain sensing wipers, power tailgate, heated seats, and sunroof.

How did the Pajero 3 perform in the Dakar Rally?

The Pajero 3 was also a successful competitor in the Dakar Rally, one of the most grueling and prestigious off-road races in the world. The Pajero 3 won the Dakar Rally four times in a row, from 2001 to 2004, setting a record for the most consecutive wins by a single vehicle. The Pajero 3 also won the Dakar Rally in 2007, making it the most successful vehicle in the history of the race, with a total of 12 wins. The Pajero 3 proved its durability and performance in the Dakar Rally, facing harsh conditions such as sand dunes, rocky mountains, mud flats, and salt lakes.

Models and Variants

What are the different models and variants of the Pajero 3?

The Pajero 3 was available in different models and variants, depending on the market and the customer's preferences. Some of the main models and variants were:




Pajero GLS


The base variant of the Pajero 3, with standard features such as air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, power steering, dual airbags, ABS, EBD, and alloy wheels.

Pajero GLX


The mid-range variant of the Pajero 3, with additional features such as fog lamps, roof rails, side steps, rear spoiler, leather steering wheel, cruise control, CD player, and rear differential lock.

Pajero Exceed


The high-end variant of the Pajero 3, with additional features such as leather seats, wood trim, sunroof, climate control, keyless entry, multi-information display, wide display audio, and active stability and traction control.

Pajero Evolution

Special edition


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