New Mitsubishi Pajero Commercial proves how obscene VRT rates really are


By Philip Hedderman

To some folk commercials are the little messages that flash on screen during breaks in your favourite TV programme.

To those in the motoring world they are basically vehicles which are designed to carry loads, not people.

Now, up until last week I’d have put myself in the first category simply because I’ve never had any interest in that market, therefore our paths rarely crossed, if ever.

But because the industry has become so sophisticated in some cases it’s almost impossible to tell one from the other.

Hence, how I came to be behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Pajero commercial.

Even to this trained eye she looked every bit of the long wheel base (LWB) seven-seat luxury 4X4 with chrome grille and sidesteps, upgraded alloys, fog lights, roof rails and smoked-out windows in the rear.

The attention to detail is so intense that the spare was an alloy and the wheel housing colour-coded to blend in with the rest of this gargantuan off-roader.

It was only when I climbed in that I realised the absence of the back seats and the two foldable pews for the  little ‘uns.

Maybe it was the echo of the door slamming (such is the load capacity of 1,800 litres) or the sheer height of the cabin, but all you want to do is just drive – and if a mountain or river happened to be in the way – then its their tough luck.

You see, the days of slumming it are over and the sluggish, lurching truck-like drive is a thing of the past as is the massive fuel consumption associated with a vehicle like this.

The new Pajero is the most powerful,  safest and most economical version ever built.
It’s been tweaked to an inch of it’s life by the CO2 boffins resulting in a massive 15pc reduction in emissions (best in its class of 207g/km) while fuel consumption is now a decent enough 36mpg.

In cash terms it means annual road tax of £310.
Not only is it one of the greenest 4x4s,  it’s also packing the most grunt with (again a class-leading) 200bhp and a massive 441NM of torque.

In layman’s terms, the 3.2 litre diesel now has a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes which means the Pajero is capable of pulling a small tractor across a muddy field.

But is payload is more than likely going to be a trailer, caravan, horsebox or boat which shouldn’t present any real difficulty.

The Super Select 4WD system offers 2WD, All-Wheel and differential locked 4WD covering pretty much all terrain in any conditions.

The drive isn’t all that different from the old wagon (which has been on the market since 1983) and although the suspension has been refined, these changes haven’t eradicated the dreaded body roll.

But hey, it does what it says on the tin so I doubt the 10,000 Irish customers will be overly concerned.

The engine is still a bit noisy especially in lower gears but again that’s expected – especially with a load on-board.

What it lacks refinement it makes up for in standard kit.

It’s loaded with goodies including Bluetooth, cruise control, leather, multi-function steering wheel, climate control and electric folding wing mirrors.
But all that bling didn’t fool one Eagle-eyed if unbearably snotty toll booth operator who demanded a higher penalty to proceed on my way home.

Without even looking at me, she barked €3.30!

Despite my feeble attempt to argue, a full description of the vehicle and the fact that it “does not have rear seats and retractable windows puts you into the commercial price bracket”.

Now, that Dick Turpin-like experience left me fuming so the following day I pitted my wits against the exact change lane.

Zipping through, the digital screen politely asked for €1.80 and when the money was dispatched – wished me a very “pleasant and safe journey”.

That got me thinking about the whole VAT and VRT exemptions which literally half the price of this wagon.

The commercial version which comes with ready-wired electric windows and a similar floor plan could be converted  for a couple of hundred quid.

Now, we here at would never condone tax avoidance, but like the exact change booth at the toll – the temptation is there.

The Mitsubishi Pajero starts at €32,262 (ex VAT) while the LWB 7-seat auto costs €63,020.