One of the more popular Pajero derivatives has always been the short-wheelbase (SWB) version, which recently received a few new features along with a package that will appeal to the off-road enthusiast.
First off, there are a few extra creature comforts now standard, such as a rear-view camera, privacy glass, colour-coded door handles and exterior rear-view mirrors as well as a USB port. There are also heated seats for the driver and front passenger and Bluetooth with hands-free voice control.
Included in the update is the addition of a rear diff lock, which has been missing from the model for the past few years. The system completes the brands shift-on-the-fly Super Select 4WD system.
The Super Select system features a two-wheel drive (2WD) mode for on-road driving, a 4WD ‘high’ mode (4H) that does not make use of the locked centre differential and where power is split 33/67 between front and rear wheels. The other two modes include 4HLc, which is 4x4 ‘high’ with the central locking differential engaged and finally the 4x4 ‘low’ mode (4LLc), which also locks the centre differential and splits the power 50/50 between front and rear wheels. ‘Low’ mode is used for lower-speed crawling up steep inclines or for going down declines.
Having taken the SWB along an intense 4x4 trail in the Western Cape I can report that this is a very capable machine. Its short overhangs and small wheelbase mean that its break-over angle of 25.2 degrees and ground clearance of 235mm are excellent for serious off-roading. It is powered by the familiar 3.2-litre common rail turbo-diesel which produces 140kW and 441 Nm of torque through a five speed automatic transmission.
Standard safety features include six airbags, Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC), high intensity discharge headlamps and park distance control. As in the rest of the Pajero range you also get the central information system with read-outs such as a compass, altimeter barometer and a range indicator.
The standard Pajero SWB is priced at R549 000. However, there is the Legend version for the hardcore off-roader, which retails at R579 000.
There are only 30 of these special editions available and they feature off-road tyres, a tyre-monitoring system, air compressor built into the engine compartment, nudge bar, 6.0-inch LED spotlights, underbody protection plates to protect the engine, sump and gearbox, heavy duty seat covers, dual battery system, rock sliders as well as a roof rack.
It is certainly not cheap, but when you look at the company that it keeps - the likes of the Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover’s Defender and even the Toyota Land Cruiser - the price doesn’t look that bad. It just makes you realise that the Pajero SWB is an off-roading icon.