Friday, February 3, 2012

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Pajero Field Master (1999-2008)

NOTE: I will not be making a used car feature for the week of February 6-10 since I have midterms that week, which won't give me time to compose one. Regular used car features would resume the week after.

To those with keen eyes and top notch memorization (pure one or you drink Memo Plus Gold?), the Sport Utility Vehicles which graced this page can only seat five people. This time, Myk Belmonte features something that has a third row seat,  which compact utes do not have (unless you stuff your relatives on the cargo area, which is torture).

1999-2008 Mitsubishi Pajero Field Master

Pajero, Montero, Shogun; these are the names of Mitsubishi's (possibly the) first and popular sport utility vehicle. Let's go back to what you have learned on your languages and science lessons back in College. The word "Pajero" directs to the Leopardus Pajeros, a Pampas cat which resides in the Patagonia plateau region of Southern Argentina. For Spanish locals, Pajero connotes "wanker" (or in easy terms, someone who masturbates) which deemed offensive for them, and so the names Montero (means "mountain hunter") and Shogun were used in several export markets. The Pajero/Montero/Shogun nameplates gave way to various unrelated models such as the Pajero Mini, Pajero Jr., Pajero iO, and even the Pajero/Montero/Shogun Sport (also known as the Challenger).

The first Pajero was made available in 1982 and continued to be sold and assembled until 1991 (this record had been broke by the L300 Versa Van locally) and was a total success for the manufacturer. This generation paved way to the Dodge Raider and Hyundai Galloper, both of them out of production for very long. The second generation Pajero was released in 1991 with Japan having it first, followed by other nations. This variant was a smashing success and also an influential SUV to other Japanese manufacturers.

For Filipinos, one thing that denotes you had arrived is having a Mitsubishi Pajero on your garage. A lot of those who won the lottery would usually line up for this ute. It was also a choice of politicians (now this is where your money went to, kidding), business men, rich and prominent families, and even showbiz personalities. The Pajero variant from 1993-1998 was called the "Intercooler" but Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation upgraded the engine, interior bits and even gave some muscle to the Pajero in 1999, and as a result, it was called the "Field Master". Despite the arrival of the third generation model in late 2003, this was made available until 2008.

Value and Costs
One of the vehicles available locally having one of the highest resale values, a Pajero Field Master is usually priced within the range of  P640,000-P880,000. Despite the arrival of the popular Montero Sport, and several mass market SUVs, the Pajero (along with its contemporaries) hold its value extremely well. Changes are minimal with the options but the 4x4 system was discontinued with the arrival of the third gen in 2003, leaving the Paj FM strictly 4x2 from 2004 until 2008.

Maintenance costs are somewhat similar to modern diesel powered SUV's. Do inspect if the 4x4 system functions properly, the automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and the electronically adjustable shock absorber system still works and intact. Tires must be of the same size and pressure especially that it weighs 1590 kilograms. Underinflated tires are dangerous for these types of vehicles. Parts are aplenty for this type of Pajero, but as much as possible stick with original ones.

Exterior and Interior
Why Filipinos love the Pajero? Looks. Classic, timeless, and appealing from a stance. It received some exterior goodies that the "Intercooler" didn't have - hood scoop, rear tow hook, some body cladding, chromed rear light projector, and 16 inch tires. The Field Master truly evolved from something anonymous but appealing to very appealing level.

The interior is functional but outdated compared with the modern competition. There are added driver conveniences such as a compass (this is rare), temperature monitor, and even in 2004-2008 models, a roof mounted TV tuner with DVD system. Earlier models do have side facing third row seats but after the third generation's launch, the seats do face where they should be, front. Headroom does not exist in the third row side facing seats. Aircon vents are located on the side, so don't complain if it's hot inside.

If the Intercooler utilized a 2.5 liter 4D56 diesel engine, the Field Master is home to a 2.8 liter 4M40 diesel engine, which was deemed appropriate to carry its weight. Having the specification of a 2,835cc liter displacement with power of 125hp at 4,200 rpm and torque of 298Nm at 2,000rpm. This engine is also shared with the L200 Strada of the same period. It employs a Rotary Type Injection System, which seems behind the times. It may not be the fastest or refined but the Pajero is definitely quiet.

Driving Impressions
A perfect highway cruiser or mountain climber, the Pajero accomplishes every task without drama. Expansive windows and a high position for the driver's seat are pluses when one wants to drive one. Making U-Turns courtesy of MMDA and maneuvering through parking lots of resorts and hotels are simply a piece of cake, thanks to the short nose, visible front corners, and long wheelbase. Passengers might want to think twice of riding at the back seats, some can experience back support, which can be a pain for some.

When it comes to prestige, what are its qualifications? Few? Luxury? Timeless? The Pajero Field Master might lack some polish points but still an epitome of status in the Philippines. Fortuners, Montero Sports, and Everests can never be considered "prestigious" since they're dime a dozen. Hondas are definitely not, or are they just making a total exaggeration? Still, the Pajero Field Master is a good alternative to mass market SUVs at a bargain price.

The Good:
  • Prestige
  • Tough as nails
  • Good ground clearance
The Bad:
  • Somewhat unrefined engine
  • Pain causing third row seats
  • No digital odometer
The Pick: 2004-2008 models, to take advantage of the front facing third row.

Engine: 2,835cc 4M40 I4 diesel
Power: 125hp @ 4,200rpm
Torque: 298Nm @  2,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7km/L-9km/L (city); 8km/L-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle with Three-link

Price (New): P1,200,000-P1,800,000 (range from 1999-2008)
Price (Now): P640,000-P880,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Ford Explorer, Isuzu Trooper, Isuzu Alterra, Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Patrol, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, Toyota Fortuner
On Sale: 1999-2008

Citimotors Makati - 892-0331
Diamond Motors Valle Verde - 671-9190
Diamond Motors Marcos Highway - 645-4801

Photo courtesy of


  1. Mitsubishi engine na mga hindi gaanong maaasahang tulad ng Isuzu. 4D56 ay nagkaroon ng ilang mga head-salamin ng problema.

    1. Wala akong naintindihan sa pinagsasasabi mo.