By: IOL Motoring Staff
Short-wheelbase beetle-crushers, as a genre, are capable of astonishing off-road agility but, in one way, that has actually worked against them, leading to a consumer perception of rock-hoppers with somewhat basic accommodation - think Jeep Wrangler or Land Rover Defender 90.
If you want creature comforts, most buyers think you need a full-sized Chelsea Tractor, as in Jeep Grand Cherokee or Land Rover Discovery.
But there is one SUV that combines short-coupled agility with just about every bell and whistle you can dream of - and a few that you won't: the three-door Mitsubishi Pajero.
Updated for 2014, it comes with a number of new features, including a rear-view camera, privacy glass, a USB port and colour-coded door handles and side mirror housings.
What hasn't changed is the shorty Pajero's proven 140kW/441Nm 3.2-litre common-rail turbodiesel, driving through a five speed automatic transmission and shift-on-the-fly all-wheel drive system.
That gives you a choice of rear-wheel only or all-wheel drive with 33/67 power split in the 2H/4H modes, while the 4HLc and 4LLc settings lock the centre differential and split the power 50/50 between front and rear axles. Add to that a standard-issue lockable rear differential and you have one seriously muscular mud-plugger.
And you also get six airbags, active stability and traction control, cruise control, high-intensity discharge headlamps with automatic levelling, parking sensors, a glass sunroof, a multi-function steering wheel, heated front seats and Bluetooth hands free voice 'phone control.
But wait, as they say, there's more.
Following up on the Pajero long-wheelbase legend of 2013, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Pajero in South Africa, Mitsubishi SA has put together a limited-edition Pajero short-wheelbase Legend for 2014.
For R579 000 - R30 000 more than the R549 000 standard model - you get bundu-bashing extras that'd cost more than R80 000 if you had to order them separately.
They include off-road tyres with a pressure monitoring system and an air compressor built into the engine compartment, dual batteries, rock-sliders and bash plates under the engine, sump and gearbox, a nudge bar, 150mm LED spotlights, heavy-duty seat covers and a roof rack.
But there's a catch; there's always a catch.
Only 30 shorty Pajero Legend-Edition specials will be built; if you’re no.31 in the queue, you lose. The rest, as they say, is up to you.