Dear Top Gear/ Mr. Botchi Santos
Greetings! Which SUV would you recommend: The Mitsubishi Pajero or the 2.3-liter Ford Explorer? Both are within the same price range and I like both of their looks. I just need the expert/objective point of view of a car guy such as yourself. Pros for me are the following: With the Pajero, they say it has a bulletproof engine and the current model stands to be perpetual (as stated in your magazine’s articles, it will be the last iteration).
With the Explorer—sportier look, better interiors, and I believe it has more road presence. Please correct any misconceptions that I may have stated and I’m looking forward to some sort of deciding vote. Hope I can get an answer through e-mail as I truly am stumped. Thank you in advance and more power. If it matters, I previously owned a 2007 Explorer and currently have an Everest, and I love them both.
Thank you for the e-mail. You asked a die-hard Mitsubishi fan which car is better? Well, both objectively and subjectively speaking, the Pajero, despite being older, is hands down my preferred choice.
The Explorer is unusually wide so it takes a lot of getting used to. The doorsill and door itself are very thick and wide, which really affects your steering and turning. The Explorer's ride is a lot firmer than the Pajero and lacks the suppleness that gives better comfort on our less-than-ideal roads, let alone dirt roads or pothole-ridden stretches. The 2.3-liter turbocharged engine, while okay on flat roads, tends to lose steam going uphill, especially when the vehicle is loaded. If you really want an Explorer, the EcoBoost V6 is the only engine that you should consider.
The Pajero has excellent ride comfort, while still retaining far better body control and responsiveness. It feels better balanced when you're hustling it (the Explorer feels nose-heavy) and is narrower, so it’s more agile on twisty roads. Plus, the diesel engine is impressive, matched with one of the industry's best INVECS-II automatic transmissions. And if rumors are to be believed, Mitsubishi offers far better aftersales service compared to Ford.
As a side note, if you look closely at the Explorer, the ride height is actually quite low. It's really meant to be an urban crossover vehicle. It won't be as effective over rough terrain or floods compared to the Pajero, which has superior ground clearance, flood-fording ability, and very decent actual off-road performance as compared to the Ford.
So for me, I prefer the Mitsubishi because of how it drives, and the added mobility of a proper tall stance, plus the option of a powerful diesel engine which will help save on running costs. The off-road ability and flood-fording bit is important for me because let's face it, flash floods are a constant risk we face in our country. Plus, our roads resemble the moon's surface! If you're spending a lot of money, it's good if the car you're buying can be as versatile as possible.
Hope this helps! Good luck and drive safe.