2004-04-15 12:13:59 UTC
Japanese all-terrain vehicles, alongside the Toyota Land Cruiser. These
ubiquitous vehicles, considered indestructible, can be seen not only on the
most inaccessible roads and territories of all continents, but also on the
streets and boulevards of "urban jungles."
With their luxury equipment and steep price tags, these vehicles also
highlight the social status of their owner, playing the role of his business
Both models are powerful, but their looks vary considerably. The
third-generation Mitsubishi Pajero, 4,795 mm in length, 1,875 mm in width
and 1,855 mm in height, looks very modern. It was unveiled in late 1999. Its
aerodynamic shape and fender molding stress the massive silhouette, and the
raised window line adds dynamism.
The Nissan Patrol is a real behemoth at first glance. Indeed, it is the
largest all-terrain vehicle officially imported to Poland. Its dimensions,
5,010 mm in length, 1,930 mm in width and 1,855 mm in height, speak for
themselves. In the present version of the body, the Patrol has been
available in Poland since 1997. The impression of massiveness and
"toughness" of the silhouette is stressed by the small windows and deeply
profiled areas above the wheels. Despite its dimensions and slightly angular
shape, the vehicle is slender rather than heavy. The Pajero and Patrol tie
when it comes to their lines. But if I were to name my favorite ORV from
between the two, I would pick the Nissan.
The interiors are spacious, guaranteeing comfort for five passengers, and if
the need arises-seven, using two additional seats otherwise hidden in the
luggage compartment. The Patrol, despite its larger wheelbase (2,790 mm) and
width, offers as much room as the theoretically smaller Pajero (wheelbase
The amenities meet high-quality standards. The test-drive units' optional
equipment included everything that conjures up the idea of luxury including
leather door and seat upholstery, leather-clad steering wheel and gearshift
and wood inlay on the dashboard. Getting behind the wheel, one feels like
they're in a luxury vehicle. This impression is stressed by the expansive
equipment in both models, including electronic air-conditioning, heated
seats, fully electric windows and side mirrors, electronic locks, power
steering and four airbags. Given this, one is no longer surprised with the
price: about zl.200,000 for each model.
The interiors differ in style. The Pajero's interior, especially the
dashboard, seems more modern. Its eccentric shape, with an extended center
console, adds liveliness to the interior. The combination of molded plastic
and leather produces a highly elegant effect.
In the Patrol, the dashboard is conservative, similar to the vehicle's
silhouette, with no stylistic experiments. It seems that the designers were
chiefly guided by the idea of simplicity. Both in the Pajero and the Patrol,
thanks to the multi-functional adjustment of the driver's seat and tilting
steering wheel, everyone will find a comfortable position for themselves.
However, the Mitsubishi offers better seating. This is thanks to a more
suitable profile of the seats and a steering wheel that lies excellently in
hand. Perhaps this was a subjective impression, created by the slightly
smaller width of the vehicle, but I found the Pajero much better to drive,
and I preferred its interior as well.
In terms of roominess and equipment-the two models twere even, with some
preference for the Pajero for its style and attention to ergonomics.
Both models are fitted with powerful, turbocharged diesel engines. The
Mitsubishi boasts a 3.2l 165 hp engine. Its maximum torque is 373 Nm at
2,000 rpm, guaranteeing the 2,155 kg vehicle excellent acceleration: 12
seconds from standstill to 100 kph. Top speed according to technical data is
170 kph. But during the test-drive I easily managed to exceed this limit by
almost 20 kph. Even at such breathtaking speeds, the vehicle remained stable
and the interior was relatively quiet. Certainly, this was largely thanks to
the highway tires on the test-drive unit.
Despite the use of an independent suspension, the Pajero behaves excellently
in off-road conditions as well with four-wheel drive and a five-speed manual
gearbox (automatic gearbox optional). On a highway, four-wheel drive can be
deactivated and power can be transferred to the rear wheels only. The
Mitsubishi can negotiate gradients at an angle of 42 degrees and can run
downhill at 24 degrees. Its 235 mm ground clearance makes it possible to
cross a gap with a depth of 60 cm. The side angle at which the vehicle can
ride along slopes is 25 degrees. Its good navigability in difficult terrain
is helped by the short overhang of the body and 265/70 R 16 tires.
The Nissan is also fitted with a turbocharger unit. Its 3l engine delivers
158 hp. Maximum torque is 354 Nm at 2,000 rpm. Power is transferred to the
rear axles (with the possibility of activating the front wheels as well) by
a four-speed automatic gearbox (with a five-speed manual gearbox also
available as an option). In extremely difficult off-road conditions, by
blocking the rear axle and deactivating the stabilizer, one can increase the
pitch of the rear wheels and negotiate the most difficult obstacles. The
automatic transmission, lower torque and greater weight of the vehicle
(2,335 kg) explain why the Nissan is less nimble than the Pajero. The Nissan
Patrol accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 16.9 seconds and its maximum speed
is 160 kph. However, it takes a very long time for the vehicle to attain
this speed. Less power on the road is compensated by the vehicle's behavior
off road. The very appearance of the vehicle with a reinforced frame and
huge 265/70 R 16 wheels inspires confidence. The classic rigid frame
influences durability and reliability, and the larger wheelbase than in the
Pajero contributes to better hill climbing ability and the possibility of
driving along slopes (40-degree angle). The fordability and angle of attack
(uphill) are the same as in the Pajero. The angle of descent (downhill) is
slightly smaller, 22 degrees and clearance-220 mm.
A comparison of the two models in terms of navigability ends in a tie.
However, the Pajero does a better job on the road, while the Patrol fares
better off road.
Overall, the Mitsubishi and Nissan tied in the test-drive. It seems that
despite the many similarities the main difference between them is a
different philosophy of all-terrain vehicle. The Mitsubishi, with its modern
body structure and interior and greater attention to city drives, moves away
from the classic notion of an ORV. It consequently wins customers who are
not only interested in off-road driving, but want a vehicle suitable for
everyday use. Nissan is one of the last producers with the conservative
attitude to all-terrain vehicles. Its technology, shape of the body and
unrefined interior are all subordinated to one goal: They are supposed to
guarantee the best possible conditions for off-road rides, with as much
comfort as possible.
Auto Section Coordinator