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Old 5th August 2011, 17:03   #1
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Default Re: New Fortuner / Pajero versus Used '08 Montero. Which would you pick?

I just drove the endeavour. 3.0 AT and the pajero SFX. No drive in the Fortuner yet. the toyota dealer told me 3 times that she'd have someone call back but didn't and then on the 4th call she said that the schedule for the day is already made, test drives not possible till tomorrow. I called another dealer whose receptionist hung up on me after telling me to hold. A third dealer that I called yesterday had told me that their test driver scheduler would call. When he didn't and I called back, this person apologized and said they don't have a demo fortuner. A fourth dealer said their demo fortuner had gone to ambala and wasn't available right now. I am ready to strike the fortuner off the list for consideration but my dad tells me that the guy who services his accord has found a used fortuner for him. we'll check that one out, otherwise the fortuner is just about out of consideration.

Anyway, on to the test drives of the Endeavour and the Pajero.

the first impressions, respectively, were "american pick up truck" and "vintage japanese jeep".

I lived in the US for 18 years and it was nostalgic to drive the Endeavour. it has that classic american live axle pick up truck thing going for it. I first checked out the rear seat which was better than that of the montero I drove yesterday, then got in the driver's seat. The intial impression wasn't great because the interior looks cheap and down market, like a bargain basement product dressed up to look modern and chic in glossy brochures where the pictures can't convey any impression about quality and finesse. the design aesthetic and design aesthetic is kind of like the $99 stereos you see in walmart. the floor of the vehicle is quite high and the seats are low to the floor, which creates a car like seating posture with the feet up closer in vertical height to the hips but stretched further out forward than you might expect in a vehicle of this type. The bonnet skims just below driver's straight ahead line of view, instead of being well down. The overall impression is of being in a car thats been lifted 12 inches.

On the move, the engine and transmission are impressive. the chassis much less low. The engine is very impressive in that it is very nearly petrol like in its refinement and noise levels (though not the best petrols by any means) and has responsiveness to the throttle that is downright startling for a diesel. The floor mounted transmission lever has a nice feel to it and the transmission is very responsive in terms of kicking down without ever frustrating the driver. As such the vehicle's ability to move and respond the driver's throttle inputs is absolutely excellent. Its easy to drive this vehicle urgently, especially since it has not only a responsive engine and transmission but also a very responsive steering.

but moving on from there, things start to come apart very quickly. The Endeavour drives like an american plumber's van. THe american small commercial vehicle ethos places a high value on extremely inexpensive manufacture in vast quantities in extremely incompetent unionized factories and all that is expected is for the vehicle to last a long time and be safe to drive. Thats it. There is not the slightest grace in how the vehicle drives and steers. And the endeavour is just like that. Its soft suspension keeps the occupants from getting too uncomfortable from the the unruly motions of the wheels and axles, but the movement is too much and too uncontrolled, with the body sproinging around unnecessarily as the beam axle is felt to be wiggling and jiggling down there. Steering inputs produce the same kind of unnecessary indifferent and excessive sloppiness. Everything the vehicle does is accompanied with lots of excess uncontrolled and unncessary movement and sensation.

This thing drives exactly like the Ford Explorer a saudi friend of my roomie in college used to have. awful.

I also got a bit of off roading in. There is highway construction site near my house that is inside a nalla and can be accessed by a dirt road that is littered with rocks, bricks and mud holes. the Endeavour made it to the end of this dirt track easily but bounced and boing-boinged and the steering and seat of the pants feel were not at all cooperative in helping me feel my way forward over the rough terrain.

on the whole, a crude and unsophisticated vehicle. Its off the list.

5 minutes after the endeavour guy left, the pajero guy showed up. Immediately, the impression was superb. I opened and shut a rear door. then the rear door. in both cases, immediately after the "made in detroit" feel of the Endeavour, the Pajero felt built with the solidity of a tank and the precision of a swiss watch.

From the driver's seat the Pajero disappoints by being short on room. not a lot of leg room, not a lot of foot room, not a lot of knee room, not a lot of elbow room. but adequate. its got the classic jeep seating posture, upright, high above the beltline of the vehicle, pedals close to the seat, wheel low to the knees. the design aesthetic is vintage 1989. A problem if you expert modernity, not an issue if you're interested in how the vehicle drives and not how stylish it looks inside or out. but definitely a very dated look and ergonomic layout.

on the move, the pajero impresses by immediately feeling very small and narrow. The engine feels torquey and the shifter has really excellent feel, firm, crisp, accurate shifts. the steering is geared slow but has good feel and accuracy. The slow speed ride is truly excellent with all the road imperfections, potholes etc beautifully snubbed. At speed, the ride does get bouncy but in a different way from the endeavor. The endeavour has exaggerated long period body movement. the pajero has rapid short period jittering over the road at high speed. The pajero rides better than a normal car at slow speeds and worse at high speeds.

The engine I found entirely adequate. the lack of power is felt in the fact that acceleration on the strong end of normal maxes out the engine in 1st and 2nd so that in normal use the car gives you what you want, but not effortlessly and not leaving anything much in reserve to give even more. But once in third the vehicle moves pretty healthily. It is entirely adequate to the speeds we can now expect in the north. Traffic has reduces cruising speeds to the sub 100km/h range with only occasional bursts past 110 possible (how nostalgic I feel about the time 10 yers ago when you could easily cruise for 140).

Still, while I was thinking that the power of the engine was more than adequate, it also occured to me that if the engine has to be worked hard, its going to guzzle gas.

Going down the road around town the pajero is very easy to drive because the sight lines out of the vehicle are superb, the steering is accurate, the shifter is excellent, the engine responsive, and the body is devoid of any excess motions (except the high speed bumpiness). It feels so tight, small, precise, kind of like the sports car of off roaders. It was a startling contrast to the expedition because virtually every motion and reaction of the pajero is deliberate, measured, and in exact and direct response your input. This feel of precision and control makes for a really impressive feeling vehicle.

then I took it onto that dirt track and almost bought the Pajero on the spot. Surely this thing was designed for military use, its that good. Its not about being able to reach remote places without getting stuck but about the sheer ease with which the pajero goes over rough terrain. It virtually GLIDES. It seems to treat rough conditions with the sort of relish that pianist might feel while getting down a Steinway Grand. The suspension seems to flex and wrap around the bad surface as if adapting to it like a glove while keeping the whole body out of contact with the ground. More than that, the steering and the seat of the pants communicate so clearly with the driver, its simply breathtaking. The path is so easy to pick. and once you pick the path, the pajero just FLOWS down that path as if doing a slow motion ballet. This is a heroic off roader, not because it can go places where others can't but because it it can go the same places with the ease, finesse, mastery, and grace of an artist. I am sorry to get so cheesy and sickly sweet in the description, but I was really very very impressed.

To test it further, I put it 4LLC, engaged reverse gear and released the clutch. It was amazing to see the pajero stroll up and out of the awful track in reverse with no input from me at all. no steering, no throttle. the no steering and in reverse part is especially impressive because the track was full of obstacles (piles of broken rock and deep mud puddles) that I had careful steered around in order to ensure the smoothest possible progress. going in reverse without steering input would be like not steering around obstacles that were unseen. I had no doubt that any 4x4 would make it out easily. What was impressive was that on the way out, the pajero just rolled out as if there was nothing there for it clamber over. the body rocked a bit, the steering jiggle a bit. I was tensed up to expect some difficulty, some need to provide steering input to help the vehicle as it went over obstacles I could not see, but no. it just sailed through. So so impressive! I've no doubt that any other 4x4 would have made it too. it was ease, nonchalance, the total control that amazed me. There is no question, the pajero has really incredible axle articulation and the steering geometry is designed to work with that.

If I were buying for myself, I would have bought the pajero right there and then. I would say that if you are buying an off roader because you expect it to do well off road, this is THE one. if you're buying an off roader for on road use but only occasional off roading and are not looking for a master of off-roadery, then something less dated with a more modern, more spacious interior and more modern engine would be the trick.

the rear seat is still as lousy as I recall from my earlier test drive of the pajero. if my dad buys this, we'll have to look into getting one of the original spec non-flip-forward seats from an import.

the Pajero is an amazing vehicle.

_________________

Edit: As I was typing this post, the seller of the Montero I test drove earlier called. he said that the vehicle had had a bearing in the steering rack replaced and would I like to test drive it again. so I went and test drove it again. The steering problem was indeed fixed but I walked away disappointed now that I had just driven a new Pajero

I need to test drive another unit of the Montero. This one showed me that the only advantage the Montero had over the Pajero was that the interior design and layout, ergonomics, driver position, control layouts, etc are leagues ahead of the Pajero. but the handling is sluggish, there is a lot of brake dive, the response to the steering is sluggish and in general it felt like a big lumbering slow witted beast. It did not feel like a modern version of the pajero I had just driven (which would have been flat out awesome).

It is entirely possible that the vehicle was not in good condition so I will be test driving one or two more but right I am very curious to drive the fortuner. it may very well be that it has waiting lists precisely because all the other contenders are flawed or deficient in some way.

on that note, its funny. A toyota dealer called and offered me a test drive after an agent at the same dealer had told me earlier that they couldn't give me a test drive.

so tomorrow I drive a fortuner.
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Old 9th August 2011, 15:58   #2
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Default Re: New Fortuner / Pajero versus Used '08 Montero. Which would you pick?

Hallelujah! a fortuner test drive! Galaxy Toyota came through! with a promise of a 6-8 week delivery time.

impressions:

The pajero is better than the fortuner for not 2 in 10,000 people. but I and my dad may be 1 or 2 of the ones for whom it is. Possibly. Maybe. Not decided yet.

first off I got in the middle row. This could have been a make or break thing. my dad is 6'3" and when not driving himself, he lounges in the back seat. So a rear seat suitable for a tall large body is a huge bonus. The Pajero had disappointed in that its middle row seats are not in line with the front causing the occupant to sit skewed. The Fortuner thankfully doesn't have this problem. but otherwise, its not a comfy seat for a 6'2" man. its merely ok. it has neither the thigh support, nor an adequately large back squab, nor is it adequately high off the ground (given how much room there is for legs), nor is the recline of the back squab satisfactory. On the whole, its a wash between the Pajero and the Fortuner as far as the middle row is concerned. If the Fortuner had scored here, it would have certainly have knocked the Pajero out of contention. but it didn't.

Then I got in the driver's seat. This is where the Fortuner scores the first of its two huge wins over the Pajero. Its like sitting in a car, and a decent modern car at that. the seating position, the reach to the pedals, wheel, shift lever, the relationship of the driver to the vehicle, its all extremely car like. very comfortable, very "normal". Compared to this, sitting in the Pajero is like sitting at the wheel of a freight truck. And there are no ergonomic nightmares (apart from a wheel that doesn't telescope but needs to), the audio system and the HVAC are not only integrated and coherent and with modern convenience, they're also so well located.

so right off the bat, the Fortuner has scored a bulls eye.

then we get moving and thats when the fortuner scores its second bulls eye. its engine is better than the one in the montero (atleast the old 165hp one, if not the new 199hp one), never mind the one in the pajero. Its quiet as a whisper, smooth as glass, and pulls like a freight train. and its responses to the throttle are both creamy and brutal. Again and again the impression is of muscle and cream. So very smooth, so very meaty, so very slick. PRobably the best engine of any car in India that I have driven, making allowance for the fact that its a diesel. That combined with the superb feel of the shifter and the entirely lash free smoothness of the transmission, make this one slick smooth polished ride.

on the move, the fortuner is breathtakingly swift. unless a petrol engine that revs hard to produce speed, in the fortuner, you just find yourself propelled along with a great effortless force with rapidly increasing velocity, while the interior and the car's control exhibit not the slightest preturbance by the increasing speed. Truly astonishing. I would not be surprised if this truck outdragged my wife's honda accord without breaking a sweat.

Driving a fortuner feels like driving a fast car from the second story, and not an off road SUV.

thats to its positive attributes. So far so good. these traits make it the better vehicle for virtually everyone. but its not a compelling package for me.

why not?

Firstly, like I mentioned in the beginning, its not a good car for a tall person to ride in the back seat in comfort while the driver drivers.

Secondly, while it has a very good ride over smooth surfaces, it not good at all on bad surfaces. It causes a lot of head toss and stomach churn on bad surfaces. The bucking and jolting is very near the point of very quick discomfort. By comparison the pajero is never as settled as the Fortuner can be as its always fidgeting and jiggling, but its never as rough as the fortuner easily gets on uneven surfaces.

Thirdly, while it can obviously go anywhere a pajero would, its nowhere near as effortless or as graceful or as masterly. it will get places by having high ground clearance and stiff suspension, not because it has masterly suspension articulation and steering architecture to match. I took it into the same rough that I took the Pajero, but it just didn't have the magic masterful feel of the pajero. It bucked and hobbled over the bad stuff unlike the pajero which glided. It did not climb up and over and down stuff with the consumate ease and grace of the pajero. It jolted and bucked and kicked the steering in the hands of the driver. No doubt it will go where ever the pajero will, but it will absolutely not do so with anything approaching the level of ease, stress, lack of effort, comfort, reward and fun that the Pajero will. There is just no contest here. THe nail in its coffin was that backing out of the trail test I put the Pajero. The fortuner did not make out without input. It needed both steering and throttle input and a hawks eye on the mirrors. with close attention and inputs from the driver, the fortuner made it, but it certainly did not just glide over the bad stuff effortlessly. By comparison, the Pajero was like sitting in chauffeur driver lexus LS430, getting driven on sunset boulevard.

So.

In my view, the fortuner wins only if you really must have the looks, the image, the high driving position, and the road presence of this vehicle. If you can forgo those, then the fortuner fails because it is neither an exceptionally good on road car, nor a brilliant off roader. If you must have those (which most SUV drivers must) and you can put up with the rough ride and less than exception off roading, then the fortuner is your choice. If you want a vehicle because you will be going off roading and you want a vehicle thats great to be driven around in, the Fortuner fails.

What the fortuner does best is to be good for the driver on the road. but thats hardly the winning trait as far as I am concerned.

and the fortuner is no match at all for the Montero manual transmission. what it tries to do better than the pajero, it can't dream of matching a Montero on. but its got a great engine though.

lastly, there is one other thing. THe fortuner, for all its comfort and speed, is a very vanilla vehicle. you might as well be driving a diesel Corolla with a lift kit. It has no personality at all. there is nothing special about it, no sense of occasion.

The pajero on the other hand for all its awful ergonomics, feels like a event, like you're driving a purpose built vehicle with an ethos that has gone out of style but which had a purpose and which fulfilled its purpose. Its like you're driving a vehicle meant to explore the world to look for survivors after the apocalypse has wiped out most of civiliztion. like a vehicle meant to get across enemy lines in a war zone.

the fortuner by comparison feels like fast tall minivan.

but dear god, does the fortuner have an engine and does the pajero suck on the engine front!

except for one thing. the pajero makes a ton more torque right at idle than the fortuner. the pajero feels like it would idle up mount everest with low range engaged, while the fortuner's engine feels like a high strung petrol motor. powerful and fast, but not likely to pull tree stumps out of the ground at idle.

The fortuner is like brad pitt. The pajero is like John Wayne.

I think the fortuner is out. though my dad might have different priorities.

right now its looking like its going to be a pajero. I'll give it another 2 weeks to find a good montero and if nothings come up, it will be a pajero. the fortuner remains in contention till I've had a chance to talk to my dad, but its a very distant third right now.
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Old 9th August 2011, 23:32   #3
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Harbir, many thanks for sharing this comparo. Have copied these two posts from your other thread.
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Old 12th August 2011, 14:21   #4
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Great comparison from your POV.

What you are saying:

1. Both can offroad and go to the same places. Pajero = more comfort and Fortuner = less comfort while offroading

2. Fortuner is better for high speed cruising due to its engine

3. Fortuner is a great allrounder. Pajero is a better specialist vehicle.

I had looked at both before going for the Fortuner. The stiff ride was less important than the cruising abilities/gem of an engine - that help when one has to drive for hundreds of kms before offroading, or when one goes for India darshan trips.

The Fortuner grows on you as you learn to live with its negatives and enjoy its positives. Don't agree on the lack of character part that you mentioned. Drive a few thousands of kms in it in all sorts of terrain, the character comes out - the same character embodied by its elder sister - the Hilux. First drive in the TFort is misleading - I had rejected it outright when I drove it after TDing an Outlander. I got convinced after the 3rd TD, once I thought through the pros and cons carefully.

For your dad, a well maintained MT Montero seems the best bet.

Last edited by nilanjanray : 12th August 2011 at 14:30.
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Old 12th August 2011, 14:59   #5
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Interesting you liked the Pajero over the Fortuner. I did drove both but Pajero lacks some basic creature comforts, it seriously feels like from a different era. I think you should try driving it for little longer maybe sit on one on a highway for a reasonably long drive and you might change your mind.

I did all that and to me and folks in family Fortuner felt much comfortable, although lacking in interiors but better nevertheless. Also long drive on fortuner wasn't tiring at all.

The other way we looked at is, this car is intended to be taken out on highways and we felt its better to stick with a manufacturer which has wider support base (Mitsubishi is lacking in that).
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Old 13th August 2011, 10:16   #6
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

That the fortuner outsells the pajero by such a large margin tells all anyone needs to know about which vehicle has broader appeal. but from my perspective, a lot of the appeal comes from the expectation on the part of buyers that the vehicle be carlike, modern in look and feel, and stylish and imposing on the road. At this the fortuner is that vastly more so than the pajero, which feels like an old japanese jeep.

But if you intend to do a lot of travelling where the roads are bad or non existent (as opposed to just playing in the mud on a sunday), the fortuner cannot begin to compete with the Pajero. and since thats our purpose (otherwise my dad would buy a luxury car and I'd buy a gypsy), the fortuner is out.

If we don't find a good MT montero in the next few weeks, its going to be a pajero

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Old 13th August 2011, 10:54   #7
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

@Harbir - You like character in your vehicles man, I have to give that to you. But my sincere advice would be either to wait for the new Pajero which has been doing the rounds testing. Almost 80 TKD kits have landed of the new Pajero and they may be available soon. The old one is ergonomically poor, has a dated design and a poor engine.

Otherwise if you go with the Fortuner, you wont regret it. Do read my Fortuner ownership thread here - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...uilt-last.html However my off-roading needs are limited.

Best of luck in your decision making process...

Last edited by dkaile : 13th August 2011 at 10:59.
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Old 13th August 2011, 11:59   #8
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbir View Post
That the fortuner outsells the pajero by such a large margin tells all anyone needs to know about which vehicle has
If we don't find a good MT montero in the next few weeks, its going to be a pajero
If you think it wise, use your family/social circle and find a used car dealer who is reliable - in the sense he might take advantage of you to a small extent monetarily but will work his butt off to find you a good vehicle and ask him to scout around to fulfill your requirement. This might be more productive than going to the various brokers advertising on the various online platforms, newspapers.
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Old 13th August 2011, 12:24   #9
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

since the fortuner is such a popular vehicle, and complies with the greatest subset of common wisdom, I don't expect my rejection of it, or my failure to be impressed by it, to find any favor. After all, one doesn't get admired for rejecting the choice and the wisdom of the majority.

I am curious about the Pajero Sport but not all that excited because it, like the pajero, is a pick up truck based vehicle, not a platform specifically developed for overlanding (as the pajero was). So I expect that it will share the fortuner's strengths and weaknesses vis a vis the Pajero.

but if it turns up in the next few weeks, or if we hear that its arrival is imminent, the pajero and/or montero may not make it into our drive way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RS_DEL View Post
If you think it wise, use your family/social circle and find a used car dealer who is reliable - in the sense he might take advantage of you to a small extent monetarily but will work his butt off to find you a good vehicle and ask him to scout around to fulfill your requirement. This might be more productive than going to the various brokers advertising on the various online platforms, newspapers.
my social circle in india is very small since I've been gone 18 years and I can't think of who I'd ask for a recommendation.

Last edited by Harbir : 13th August 2011 at 12:26.
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Old 14th August 2011, 09:36   #10
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

@Harbir: Pajero sport off-road capabilities will be similar to fortuner not pajero. Doubt that you will like it. But, then there is not harm in waiting a few weeks more.
BTW, did you get a test drive of Montero from showroom?
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Old 14th August 2011, 12:04   #11
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Well, it seems to me like you are looking for something which has pretty serious off-roading capabilities but still is good enough as a normal car.

You seem to have compared all sorts of vehicles, that you could lay your hands on, but forgotten the one brand that specialises in the kind of vehicle you are looking at, Land Rover.

A Freelander 2 HSE will be no costlier than a Montero but better at everything. It is probably the best off-roader among all the soft-roaders, while still having the luxury feel of a mini-Rangie. The Freelander definitely has a lot more character than a Montero or a Fortuner, and almost as much as the classic Pajero. The only disadvantage of the Freelander is that its a 5-seater and it will drink more, as it produces more power and torque from a 2.2L engine compared to the 2.8L Pajero, 3L Fortuner and the 3.2L Montero

Last edited by julupani : 14th August 2011 at 12:05.
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Old 14th August 2011, 16:17   #12
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Quote:
Originally Posted by mxx View Post
@Harbir: Pajero sport off-road capabilities will be similar to fortuner not pajero. Doubt that you will like it. But, then there is not harm in waiting a few weeks more.
BTW, did you get a test drive of Montero from showroom?
yes, when I said " not all that excited because it, like the pajero, is a pick up truck based vehicle, not a platform specifically developed for overlanding (as the pajero was)" I meant the pick up truck based like the fortuner. not like the pajero which isn't pick up truck based.

and yes, I expect it to be more like the Fortuner than the pajero off the road.

@julupani, no soft roaders, not even one built by Land Rover.
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Old 14th August 2011, 18:15   #13
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

Well, soft roader or not, I think off the road the Freelander will be way better than any of your current choices. And with its great interiors, the Freelander is a way more complete package than your current choices. The only better choice than the Freelander, at its price point isnt yet available in India, its the Range Rover Evoque.

Take a try out of the Freelander. I think you will be impressed.
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Old 14th August 2011, 20:12   #14
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

no low range which is amust. its electronic controls for off roading such as hill descent control would be very desirable, but the lack of low range puts it out of contention
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Old 14th August 2011, 20:51   #15
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Default Re: Comparo Test-Drive Report! Mitsubishi Pajero vs Toyota Fortuner vs Ford Endeavour

If you are looking for that serious an off-roader that you actually will "need" low-range and diff locks, then the Pajero should be the choice.

Though I still beleive that even without the diff locks and the low range, the Freelander will be better.

About the low range, just a small point. Your present top choice is the Montero, gives you 380Nm of max torque in 2.4ton vehicle. The Freelander gives you 420Nm max torque in a 1.8ton vehicle. Almost all international reviews have said that only in the most extreme of conditions, that you will find the Freelander any worse than a Discovery.

Sorry, if I seem crazily insistent, but you seem to have dismissed it without taking a proper look. If you have, then its all good.
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