Mitsubishi’s next Pajero 4WD will be business-as-usual, according to reports out of Europe, retaining its current size and off-road ability.
Fans of the long-serving hauler have expressed fear that the new Pajero would soften its abilities and take on a more stylised look, in a bid to win sales from the booming ‘soft-roader’ SUV market.
Speaking with Autocar, Mitsubishi UK Boss Lance Bradley reportedly said the next Pajero would focus more on its 4WD credentials and towing ability, and less on “the school run”.
“A lot of the rivals are more beautiful or more refined but the [Pajero] needs to be an authentic off-roader - not fancy, not a school-run car, but for people who tow horse boxes or actually go off-road,” Mr Bradley said.
“Of course, that market is limited, but look at the [Land Rover] Discovery - there is room for vehicles with utility at their heart.”
Mr Bradley described the Discovery as “very good but very expensive”, saying the Pajero offered similar if not equal abilities with cheaper purchasing and running costs.
The company’s UK boss also referred to Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid technology, as seen in the Outlander PHEV, strongly suggesting that the next all-new Pajero range will offer a PHEV version.
In fact, Bradley believes the success of the Outlander PHEV has also boosted Pajero sales in the UK (which are up 66 percent), where the model is sold as the Mitsubishi Shogun.
Mr Bradley adds that he believes Mitsubishi as an “SUV-biased” carmaker is at an advantage over its competitors when it comes to building a genuine off-roader.
A Pajero PHEV and indeed an all-new model could be a while away yet, as earlier reports have suggested an arrival date for the new model of 2018 - when the current model in its most recent evolution celebrates its 12th birthday.
The GC PHEV concept of 2013 is a possible preview of the next Pajero, but given the potential five-year gap between concept and production version, the new model’s look could evolve further before its unveiling.
MORE: 2015 Mitsubishi Pajero - Price And Features For Australia
MORE News & Reviews: Mitsubishi | Pajero | 4WD