2027 Mitsubishi Pajero may become a luxury plug-in hybrid Outlander twin – report


New information from a claimed Mitsubishi insider says the next Pajero will be based on the Outlander PHEV, but it will be positioned as “Japan’s Range Rover”.

The Mitsubishi Pajero may return as a twin under the skin to the Outlander family SUV – not the Nissan Patrol 4WD – but with luxuries and off-road capabilities to compete with Range Rover, according to a new report.

Japanese publication Best Car claims a company insider has provided details on the new-generation Pajero, with the range-topping SUV now set to be built on a vehicle platform from within Mitsubishi.

It appears any possibility of the Pajero being based on the Nissan Patrol – thanks to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance – is now closed, with the source claiming the Pajero will share its architecture with the next Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

While not an official confirmation, the latest information backs Drive’s report from April 2023 which ruled out the possibility of a Patrol-based Pajero.

Another option – according to the insider – was to develop the Pajero on the new-generation Triton ute, however it now appears as if this route was abandoned as the platform did not offer a high level of ride comfort in line with the vision of the Pajero as a luxury model.

The Mitsubishi source claims the automaker wants to offer the Pajero as the “Japanese-made Range Rover”.

The next-generation Outlander PHEV platform is now expected to be an upgraded version of the current architecture – known within the Alliance as ‘CMF-C/D’, which underpins the Nissan X-Trail and Qashqai, as well as the Outlander.

While details have yet to be confirmed, the insider said it is unlikely a new engine will be developed for the Pajero, suggesting the four-wheel-drive would borrow the Outlander’s 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – though potentially with the aid of a turbocharger or supercharger to boost performance – as well as its plug-in hybrid technology.

Above and top: Artist’s impression of the next-generation Mitsubishi Pajero, created by Theottle.

Speaking to Drive in late 2023, Mitsubishi Australia CEO Shaun Westcott said it was possible to share a platform with the Alliance, while retaining the distinctive character of the company’s vehicles.

“The collaboration and cooperation agreement we have within the alliance, they are able to access some of our platforms and we are able to access some of their platforms. You’re seeing that already,” he told Drive.

“If you look at the Outlander standing out there – the X-Trail and the Outlander share the same platform, yet they still retain a distinctive identity.

“Our global CEO is on record of talking about Mitsubishi-ness, and I think we’ve achieved that with the Outlander.”

Mr Westcott also alluded to the possibility of the model using hybrid technology.

“The way we make cars more affordable for customers is to share, collaborate on [research and development], on technology.

“If I can use the [Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s hybrid] battery at the end of the day – and I just use simplistic analogies… if your torch has got Eveready in it or it’s got Panasonic batteries in, who cares anyway? It’s a battery,” Mr Westcott said.

While it was traditionally a competitor to the Toyota LandCruiser and Nissan Patrol SUVs, the next-generation Pajero could be the company’s answer to the upcoming Lexus GX – a luxury version of the Toyota LandCruiser Prado – or even as an alternative to the ultra-luxury Toyota Century SUV, which will become Toyota’s global range-topping model.

Above: The current Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

Mr Westcott previously told Drive the Pajero nameplate was “very, very valuable” to the company, and that “anything that carries the name Pajero needs to be really distinctive and a really great vehicle.”

Despite the Pajero being an important nameplate to Mitsubishi, the latest unverified report from Japan suggests the company is considering off-shore production as a way of increasing the profitability of the Pajero and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

After four decades and more than 3.3 million sales globally, the Mitsubishi Pajero ended production in 2021 – with more than 150,000 sold in Australia.

Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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