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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Mitsubishi Australia: Room for an all-new Pajero exists

Three diamonds will introduce a new three-row SUV in 2025, though it remains tight lipped as to whether this will revive the Pajero name.

Mitsubishi Australia has expressed renewed hope of the automaker approving the revival of the full-size Pajero it says still has a role to play in its product range above the Pajero Sport.

Three-row SUV

Officially discontinued four years ago, with the final batch of 100 Legend models ending the moniker’s tenure in South Africa in 2021, the Pajero’s revival came under renewed interest in November after the discovery of a document showing the remainder of the 16 products Mitsubishi will roll-out before 2028 as part of its Challenge 2025 product strategy.

ALSO READ: Mitsubishi still keen on reviving Pajero but one ‘made by us’

Besides a new PPV or Pick-up Platform Vehicle by 2025, more than likely the next Pajero Sport, the document also mentions a hybrid version of the Xpander MPV, a new two-row hybrid SUV, two electric vehicles that will be produced by alliance partner Renault, and a new three-row SUV above the PPV.

More tellingly, the unnamed three-row SUV will be motivated by a combustion engine similar to the PPV, with no mentioning of hybrid assistance being made.

Reports mounting

It’s revival alluded to in a series of speculative reports ever since the final example departed the Gifu plant in 2019, the biggest hint of a possible return came by way of Mitsubishi’s Vice-President and Head of Vehicle Engineering, Hiroshi Masuoka, telling Australian media in January this year that the platform of the Pajero Sport can be stretched to accommodate a bigger model.

“Pajero Sport has the potential to be stretched, to grow more. Performance, comfort, the bodywork, and the powertrain itself. We believe the Pajero Sport has that potential,” Masuoka, who won the Dakar Rally twice in 2002 and 2003 behind the wheel of a Pajero, was quoted by carsguide.com.au as saying.

Back in 2019, then Mitsubishi Australia boss, John Signoriello, admitted a solid business case would have to be drawn up first justifying not only the return of the Pajero as a model, but also as a badge engineered twin of the Nissan Patrol rumours have alleged it could well be.

Mitsubishi Australia hints at Pajero revival
Fourth generation Pajero received sporadic upgrades between its arrival in 2006 and departure in 2021. Image: Mitsubishi

In a follow-up in April this year, Mitsubishi’s Product Strategy Head, Koichi Namiki, admitted while the Pajero, “in my mind it’s a high possibility”, it would need approval from the entire Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance before commencing development and eventual production.

“The alliance of course gives us a lot of opportunity. While we consider that a big success … we would not necessarily apply that sharing philosophy to all models in our line-up,” Australia’s drive.com.au quoted him as saying..

“If we do that [badge engineering], of course we want to control everything and we might utilise some of the alliance systems and components and so on, but we would like to produce the vehicle.”

Mitsubishi Patrol?

In an apparent supporting of Namiki’s claims about the Pajero returning as a reskinned Patrol, Mitsubishi Australia CEO, Shaun Westcott, told Australia media this week that the alliance is in a “very healthy” position and that platform sharing could be viable as evident by the Outlander riding on the same foundation as the Nissan X-Trail.

“I’m not going to speculate in that space, other than to say that through the collaboration and cooperation agreement we have within the alliance, they are able to access some of our platforms and we are able to access some of their platforms. You’re seeing that already,” Drive quoted him as saying.

Mitsubishi Australia hints at Pajero revival
Current Pajero Sport will reportedly be replaced in 2025. Image: Mitsubishi

“If you look at the Outlander standing out there – the X-Trail and the Outlander share the same platform, yet they still retain a distinctive identity. Our global CEO is on record of talking about Mitsubishi-ness, and I think we’ve achieved that with the Outlander”.

Referring to the Challenge 2025 document, Westcott said, “our global platforms over the next few years include some large SUVs. It’s undercover, but there’s a large SUV in there. What their nameplates will be, I can’t tell you,” Westcott said.

“Whether that’s a Pajero Sport or whether it’s a Pajero, I can’t say as we sit here now, other than to say that we do believe Australia – and we all know the Australian market very well, we all live here – the demand for large SUVs is still pretty strong in this country”.

Patrol out in 2024

Spied last month undergoing testing in the United States, the Y63 Patrol will revert to a six-cylinder engine, reportedly a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 petrol, again without the option of a diesel engine the Pajero utilised until its discontinuation.

Next Nissan Patrol spied for the first time
Heavily disguised Y63 Patrol captured testing in the United States. Image: cluby63australia on Instagram

Initially not set to be offered with an electrified powertrain, the Patrol will make its debut next year as the first completely new generation since the unveiling of the current Y62 in 2010.

For now though, it remains to be seen whether its eventual reveal will lead to a new Pajero in either rebadged or newly developed form.

NOW READ: Mitsubishi Pajero’s return depending on next Pajero Sport?

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