Off-roader or crossover? The Pajero and Outback battle

Help our letter sender choose
by Botchi Santos | Oct 7, 2010

Hi, Botchi!

These are the sport-utility vehicles I really like: the Mitsubishi Pajero MIVEC and the Subaru Outback 3.6 R. Both are fourth-generation vehicles that are made in Japan so I’ll get either one at JPEPA pricing. Best of all, there’s the World Rally Championship and Dakar Rally heritage.

Now please help me choose. Which one is the best based on performance? How about their fuel consumption? Which brand offers better after-sales services? Is it true that gasoline-fed parts are much cheaper than diesel?

I hope you can help me by replying to my queries.

Thanks, Botchi! Be safe!

Macoy of Davao

Hi, Macoy!

It's hard to compare the Mitsubishi Pajero with the Subaru Outback. The Pajero is pretty much a proper off-road-slash-sport-utility vehicle while the Outback is a car-like crossover SUV. 

The Pajero will be better off the beaten path, particularly on light off-road trails such as dirt rally stages that require high-speed navigation. The Outback is better suited on the highway because of its lower ride-height, suspension type and design and overall construction.

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In terms of just plain on-road accelerative capabilities and lateral acceleration, the Outback wins because it is lighter and has a lower center of gravity compared to the Pajero. The Pajero isn't a poor dynamic performer; it's just all about the physics of these two vehicles. 

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In terms of servicing, Motor Image Pilipinas, the exclusive distributor of Subaru, tends to charge noticeably higher than the rest of the Japanese brands (except Lexus) for both parts and labor.

Diesels, particularly CRDi turbocharged engines, generally cost more to service because:

1. They use a specific type of engine oil that is fully-synthetic designed and for CRDi engine applications
2. Diesel engines require seven to eight or more liters of CRDi-specific engine oil in every oil change, whereas gasoline engines only use 5.5 to 6.5 liters
3. Oil and fuel, and sometimes even the air filters, of a CRDi turbo diesel engine cost more. When the time comes to change your particulate filter (like the catalytic converter in a gasoline car), it costs a whole lot of money
4. Due to the quality of our diesel fuel, the casa will use a lot of diesel fuel treatment and cleaning chemicals on your car fairly regularly, which also adds to the cost of servicing 

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In terms of fuel consumption, I remember getting about 5.7 to 6 kilometers per liter from the Mitsubishi Pajero but that was driving hard up and down a mountain road so the performance takes its toll on the fuel consumption. The five-speed automatic helps claw back some efficiency but not much. 

I can no longer remember the fuel consumption figure for the Outback but I also can't see it doing much better than seven kilometers per liter with mixed use since it is also a big 3.6 liter engine. 

Hope this helps.

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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