Not so much an SUV as (maybe) the first SSUV
Stop! Donâ€™t click off thinking youâ€™re looking at some rubbishy old Mitsubishi Shogun here. This is a rare one.
Lamborghini has just launched its Urus, which is aiming to be the worldâ€™s sportiest SUV. Alfa’s newÂ Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also due in sale in the next few weeks, and thereâ€™s a blooming 707bhp JeepÂ on the way too. But the Pajero Evolution youâ€™re looking at here beat them all in the SSUV (‘Super Sport Utility Vehicle’) race â€“Â by about 20 years.
This is an off-road vehicle with real sporting heritage, from a time when Mitsubishi ruled the roost in killer off-road motorsports events like the Dakar Rally. 2,500 examples of the Pajero Evolution were built for racing homologation purposes, and it paid off for Mitsubishi too, as the race-spec Pajero won the Dakar two years running in 1997 and 1998. They didnâ€™t just win, either: they locked out the podium in the 1998 event, finishing five hours ahead of the field.
Quite a pedigree, then, and you can tap directly into it by shelling out Â£15,000 on this rather spangly looking 52,000-mile specimen from Dynamic Performance Cars in the West Midlands.
What will you get in your PajEvo? Well, for a start, proper â€˜Evoâ€™ wheelarches struggling to contain the carâ€™s wider track. Inside youâ€™ll have Recaro seats, while ahead of those Ralliart rear mudflaps sits independent multi-link suspension with uprated dampers and diffs. Under the bonnet is an old-school 3.5-litre petrol V6 and (in this case) the desirable manual gearbox, taking the beast from nought to 60mph in an unlikely-sounding eight seconds.
An Urus is all fine and well, but whatâ€™s Lamborghiniâ€™s off-road history? The LM002? That never made it to the Dakar.