Not so much an SUV as (maybe) the first SSUV
Stop! Don’t click off thinking you’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 world’s sportiest SUV. Alfa’s new Stelvio Quadrifoglio is also due in sale in the next few weeks, and there’s a blooming 707bhp Jeep on the way too. But the Pajero Evolution you’re looking at here beat them all in the SSUV (‘Super Sport Utility Vehicle’) race – 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 didn’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 £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 ‘Evo’ wheelarches struggling to contain the car’s wider track. Inside you’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 what’s Lamborghini’s off-road history? The LM002? That never made it to the Dakar.