Likes

  • A true classic that can be used, everywhere, all the time.
  • Want a performance SUV with hot hatch sensibilities, its this.
  • It’s a Mitsubishi from the companies peak, reliability is excellent.
  • Most for sale are in great condition and currently, is a bargain.

Dislikes

  • Certain parts (eg body additions) are expensive and hard to source.
  • Beyond the romance, it’s a 25-year old SUV.
  • Not everyone will understand the appeal (they’re wrong).
  • Umm, that’s about it

Stuff you should know

The Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution is an offspring example of an Evo rally car and a Pajero 4×4 making passionate love in the desert, but to understand this rather odd analogy – firstly, a history lesson. The Dakar Rally is a rally competition that first ran in 1979 from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal – on the west coast of Africa. In 1983, Mitsubishi entered the rally for the first time, and over two decades, racked up 12 wins in the competition (including 150 stage wins).

Fast-forward to the mid-1990s, and the Dakar Rally had introduced some new regulations, one of which was the car that was to be entered needed to be based off a current production car for homologation purposes (meaning a road-legal version needed to be made available to the general public). Come 1997, and the V55W Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution was born – which was based off the unibody shell of a second generation Mitsubishi Pajero, but highly modified.

It was only sold in Japan, and in limited numbers with around 2,500 units available. Many have been shipped to other countries as grey imports.

It features a 3.5 litre naturally aspirated V6 engine (Mitsubishi’s 6G74 variant) pumping around 209kW of power, and 348Nm of torque, and mated to a 5-speed manual transmission or the more commonly chosen 5-speed automatic. Other mechanical enhancements include: front double wishbone independent suspension and a rear multi-link independent suspension; 4×4 off-road system with front and rear Torsen differentials.

Outside Pajero Evolution was a 2-door 4×4 incorporating large fender flares, two fin-like rear spoilers, a hood scoop, side steps, pronounced front bumper, skid plates and mud flaps. Inside, the Pajero Evolution was manufactured like a second-gen Pajero in order to save costs and borrowed the styling, steering wheel and centre console stack from that generation Pajero. The main difference inside was the carbon-trimmed Recaro sports seats, otherwise standard features included: air conditioning, electric windows, electric mirrors, stereo system, digital clock, heated rear windscreen, fold-down rear armrests and a dual front cup holder.

Don’t expect much in terms of safety, with the Pajero Evolution coming standard with dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and that’s pretty much it.

Being a Mitsubishi, it should be reliable as the earth’s core, and that 6G74 engine is found is Pajeros, Magnas, Tritons and a whole heap of other Mitsubishi products – which means it’s easily serviceable and parts should be relatively easy to come by.

One thing to note is that these cars found their way into Australia as a grey import, meaning they would have no manufacturer’s warranty attached to them, and potentially a foggy backstory (potentially with some unwanted upgrades/modifications). In short – do your research and ensure the Pajero Evolution you’re looking at has been well-maintained, serviced by a reputable mechanic, and there are no obvious signs of major damage or odometer tampering.

What goes wrong

Exterior:

While the Pajero Evolution is purpose-built and derives heavily from the 25-year-old Pajero foundation, only strengthened for competition use, certain common Pajero issues, notably the dreaded rust problem, can potentially emerge.

Upon inspecting the undercarriage, it is crucial to conduct a thorough assessment for signs of rust and corrosion, meticulously scrutinizing areas such as around the doors, trunk, within the wheel arches, and at the base of the roof. A comprehensive pre-purchase inspection is paramount to identifying any potential vulnerabilities.

Given its rarity and collector’s appeal, a significant portion of these specimens should possess impeccable exteriors. However, there are notable considerations worth keeping in mind. For instance, envision a minor fender bender, like an encounter in a parking lot. 

Unlike readily accessible components such as door handles and various mechanical elements, certain body parts for the Pajero Evolution might not be readily available through your local Mitsubishi dealership. These components, when attainable, could entail a considerable expense and require a substantial duration to source. Even seemingly routine tasks like refinishing the front bumper due to minor stone chips could pose a challenge – the distinctive raised Evolution decals are reportedly exclusively accessible in Japan and could demand a hefty price.

Furthermore, considering the Pajero Evolution’s role as an off-road capable performance vehicle, it becomes paramount to meticulously inspect the entire automobile for any indications of damage or, worse yet, subpar repair work. A more in-depth exploration of this subject and a wealth of additional insights are presented in our comprehensive 4×4 buyers guide video. Prior to embarking on any four-wheel drive purchase, we strongly recommend viewing this resource.

 

Interior:

The Pajero Evolution’s unassuming cabin design contributes to its resilience, resulting in a relatively trouble-free environment.

While sporadic reports have emerged regarding the wear of the side bolsters on the exquisite Recaro seats, and occasional, isolated incidents of electronic quirks have been mentioned, these issues do not appear to be of a severe nature. Fortunately, such matters can generally be addressed with ease and affordability.

 

Mechanically:

Given its age and status as an older Mitsubishi V6, it’s important to anticipate potential oil leakage and consumption. Much like other V6 Mitsubishi models from this era, valve stem seals are prone to leakage. This occurrence is a consistent trait in vehicles of this time.

The MIVEC system, for the most part, is dependable. Nevertheless, hydraulic lifters can develop a slight rattling sound in instances of high mileage or if the vehicle has been neglected over time.

Timing belt replacement is imperative when the odometer hits 100,000 kilometers, and this task should not be overlooked.

Vigilance is crucial for age-related concerns. Components constructed from rubber, particularly coolant, oil, and fuel

Exterior:

While the Pajero Evolution is purpose-built and derives heavily from the 25-year-old Pajero foundation, only strengthened for competition use, certain common Pajero issues, notably the dreaded rust problem, can potentially emerge.

Upon inspecting the undercarriage, it is crucial to conduct a thorough assessment for signs of rust and corrosion, meticulously scrutinizing areas such as around the doors, trunk, within the wheel arches, and at the base of the roof. A comprehensive pre-purchase inspection is paramount to identifying any potential vulnerabilities.

Given its rarity and collector’s appeal, a significant portion of these specimens should possess impeccable exteriors. However, there are notable considerations worth keeping in mind. For instance, envision a minor fender bender, like an encounter in a parking lot. 

Unlike readily accessible components such as door handles and various mechanical elements, certain body parts for the Pajero Evolution might not be readily available through your local Mitsubishi dealership. These components, when attainable, could entail a considerable expense and require a substantial duration to source. Even seemingly routine tasks like refinishing the front bumper due to minor stone chips could pose a challenge – the distinctive raised Evolution decals are reportedly exclusively accessible in Japan and could demand a hefty price.

Furthermore, considering the Pajero Evolution’s role as an off-road capable performance vehicle, it becomes paramount to meticulously inspect the entire automobile for any indications of damage or, worse yet, subpar repair work. A more in-depth exploration of this subject and a wealth of additional insights are presented in our comprehensive 4×4 buyers guide video. Prior to embarking on any four-wheel drive purchase, we strongly recommend viewing this resource.

 

Interior:

The Pajero Evolution’s unassuming cabin design contributes to its resilience, resulting in a relatively trouble-free environment.

While sporadic reports have emerged regarding the wear of the side bolsters on the exquisite Recaro seats, and occasional, isolated incidents of electronic quirks have been mentioned, these issues do not appear to be of a severe nature. Fortunately, such matters can generally be addressed with ease and affordability.

 

Mechanically:

Given its age and status as an older Mitsubishi V6, it’s important to anticipate potential oil leakage and consumption. Much like other V6 Mitsubishi models from this era, valve stem seals are prone to leakage. This occurrence is a consistent trait in vehicles of this time.

The MIVEC system, for the most part, is dependable. Nevertheless, hydraulic lifters can develop a slight rattling sound in instances of high mileage or if the vehicle has been neglected over time.

Timing belt replacement is imperative when the odometer hits 100,000 kilometers, and this task should not be overlooked.

Vigilance is crucial for age-related concerns. Components constructed from rubber, particularly coolant, oil, and fuel lines, might necessitate replacement due to wear and tear.

This engine has been adapted to endure competitive use, which implies that, with proper upkeep, it should effectively withstand typical road driving conditions. Nonetheless, like any aging engine, meticulous maintenance remains paramount. Undertaking a comprehensive refurbishment of a specialized competition engine comes at a notable cost.

Shifting focus from the engine to other aspects, the independent rear suspension shares similarities with the design employed in the subsequent 3rd generation Pajero. This essentially translates to a robust and reliable setup. While later models occasionally encountered rear driveshaft issues, it is noteworthy that such occurrences were not widespread.

When addressing transmissions, whether automatic or manual, there’s little need for concern. Both variants are built to endure, showcasing ruggedness and reliability.

Exterior:

While the Pajero Evolution is purpose-built and derives heavily from the 25-year-old Pajero foundation, only strengthened for competition use, certain common Pajero issues, notably the dreaded rust problem, can potentially emerge.

Upon inspecting the undercarriage, it is crucial to conduct a thorough assessment for signs of rust and corrosion, meticulously scrutinizing areas such as around the doors, trunk, within the wheel arches, and at the base of the roof. A comprehensive pre-purchase inspection is paramount to identifying any potential vulnerabilities.

Given its rarity and collector’s appeal, a significant portion of these specimens should possess impeccable exteriors. However, there are notable considerations worth keeping in mind. For instance, envision a minor fender bender, like an encounter in a parking lot. 

Unlike readily accessible components such as door handles and various mechanical elements, certain body parts for the Pajero Evolution might not be readily available through your local Mitsubishi dealership. These components, when attainable, could entail a considerable expense and require a substantial duration to source. Even seemingly routine tasks like refinishing the front bumper due to minor stone chips could pose a challenge – the distinctive raised Evolution decals are reportedly exclusively accessible in Japan and could demand a hefty price.

Furthermore, considering the Pajero Evolution’s role as an off-road capable performance vehicle, it becomes paramount to meticulously inspect the entire automobile for any indications of damage or, worse yet, subpar repair work. A more in-depth exploration of this subject and a wealth of additional insights are presented in our comprehensive 4×4 buyers guide video. Prior to embarking on any four-wheel drive purchase, we strongly recommend viewing this resource.

 

Interior:

The Pajero Evolution’s unassuming cabin design contributes to its resilience, resulting in a relatively trouble-free environment.

While sporadic reports have emerged regarding the wear of the side bolsters on the exquisite Recaro seats, and occasional, isolated incidents of electronic quirks have been mentioned, these issues do not appear to be of a severe nature. Fortunately, such matters can generally be addressed with ease and affordability.

 

Mechanically:

Given its age and status as an older Mitsubishi V6, it’s important to anticipate potential oil leakage and consumption. Much like other V6 Mitsubishi models from this era, valve stem seals are prone to leakage. This occurrence is a consistent trait in vehicles of this time.

The MIVEC system, for the most part, is dependable. Nevertheless, hydraulic lifters can develop a slight rattling sound in instances of high mileage or if the vehicle has been neglected over time.

Timing belt replacement is imperative when the odometer hits 100,000 kilometers, and this task should not be overlooked.

Vigilance is crucial for age-related concerns. Components constructed from rubber, particularly coolant, oil, and fuel lines, might necessitate replacement due to wear and tear.

This engine has been adapted to endure competitive use, which implies that, with proper upkeep, it should effectively withstand typical road driving conditions. Nonetheless, like any aging engine, meticulous maintenance remains paramount. Undertaking a comprehensive refurbishment of a specialized competition engine comes at a notable cost.

Shifting focus from the engine to other aspects, the independent rear suspension shares similarities with the design employed in the subsequent 3rd generation Pajero. This essentially translates to a robust and reliable setup. While later models occasionally encountered rear driveshaft issues, it is noteworthy that such occurrences were not widespread.

When addressing transmissions, whether automatic or manual, there’s little need for concern. Both variants are built to endure, showcasing ruggedness and reliability.

Should you buy it?

The question shouldn’t revolve around whether you should buy one, but rather, why haven’t you already taken the plunge?

The Pajero Evolution encompasses all the cherished attributes of hot hatches while eliminating the anxieties associated with lowered ride heights, such as grappling with potholes or decelerating for speed bumps.

Incorporating all the desirable traits of off-roaders, the Pajero Evolution further elevates the experience with an engine that exudes genuine character, dimensions that seamlessly navigate the real-world environment, and handling and dynamics that most off-road vehicles can only aspire to achieve.

In contrast to an array of other high-performance SUVs, this exceptional model possesses a depth, personality, and level of authenticity that many of its counterparts struggle to match – especially when considering its remarkably reasonable price point.

Essentially, this transcends being merely the ultimate compact performance SUV; for us, it quite conceivably represents one of the most supreme manifestations of four-wheel transportation, it really is that good.

The question shouldn’t revolve around whether you should buy one, but rather, why haven’t you already taken the plunge?

The Pajero Evolution encompasses all the cherished attributes of hot hatches while eliminating the anxieties associated with lowered ride heights, such as grappling with potholes or decelerating for speed bumps.

Incorporating all the desirable traits of off-roaders, the Pajero Evolution further elevates the experience with an engine that exudes genuine character, dimensions that seamlessly navigate the real-world environment, and handling and dynamics that most off-road vehicles can only aspire to achieve.

In contrast to an array of other high-performance SUVs, this exceptional model possesses a depth, personality, and level of authenticity that many of its counterparts struggle to match – especially when considering its remarkably reasonable price point.

Essentially, this transcends being merely the ultimate compact performance SUV; for us, it quite conceivably represents one of the most supreme manifestations of four-wheel transportation, it really is that good.

Should you buy it?

The question shouldn’t revolve around whether you should buy one, but rather, why haven’t you already taken the plunge?

The Pajero Evolution encompasses all the cherished attributes of hot hatches while eliminating the anxieties associated with lowered ride heights, such as grappling with potholes or decelerating for speed bumps.

Incorporating all the desirable traits of off-roaders, the Pajero Evolution further elevates the experience with an engine that exudes genuine character, dimensions that seamlessly navigate the real-world environment, and handling and dynamics that most off-road vehicles can only aspire to achieve.

In contrast to an array of other high-performance SUVs, this exceptional model possesses a depth, personality, and level of authenticity that many of its counterparts struggle to match – especially when considering its remarkably reasonable price point.

Essentially, this transcends being merely the ultimate compact performance SUV; for us, it quite conceivably represents one of the most supreme manifestations of four-wheel transportation, it really is that good.

Need help with finance?

What is the car's build year?

2020

Loan Amount

$5,000

Finance estimate ~

$30

Per week*

8.49%

Comparison rate p.a#

Models, pricing & features

Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution-10

Evolution

Price when new: $40,000 - $50,000

Price used: $51,000 - $68,000

Standard Features:

Front double wishbone independent suspension
Rear multi-link independent suspension
Front and rear Torsen differentials
Alloy wheels
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Traction control
Dual front airbags
Recaro front sport seats
Air conditioning
Electric windows
Electric mirrors
Stereo system
Intermittent windscreen wipers
Heated windscreen
Digital clock
Fold down armrests
Dual cup holders
Centre console storage unit
Glovebox

Tech specs

Body Style:

2-door SUV

Engines:

3.5 litre V6 petrol

Power:

209kW – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

348Nm – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual
5-speed automatic

Fuel Consumption:

Unknown

Length:

4075mm

Width:

1875mm

Height:

1915mm

Kerb Weight:

1970 – 1990kg

Body Style:

2-door SUV

Engines:

3.5 litre V6 petrol

Power:

209kW – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

348Nm – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual
5-speed automatic

Fuel Consumption:

Unknown

Length:

4075mm

Width:

1875mm

Height:

1915mm

Kerb Weight:

1970 – 1990kg

Body Style:

2-door SUV

Engines:

3.5 litre V6 petrol

Power:

209kW – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

348Nm – 3.5 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual
5-speed automatic

Fuel Consumption:

Unknown

Length:

4075mm

Width:

1875mm

Height:

1915mm

Kerb Weight:

1970 – 1990kg

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

Grey import, no manufacturers warranty

Servicing:

6 months/10,000kms

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of August 18, 2023

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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