This is a small city dweller, the 660cc non-turbo Mini Pajero. Do not cross the wall in to the real world its Mama probably said, for there lies big cars with big engines. You child are destined to take around the urban populace, within the density of sky-scrapers and daily congestion setting. You child will find parking easily than the rest, you child will be light through plastic and a 660cc heart, you child will have 4WD in case the urban master wants to go grocery shopping....
Baby Pajero interrupts...
“But Mama! I have two seats in the back too. What if someone sits on them?”
There’s a pause in Mama Pajero’s voice...
She continues, “We will give no leg space, so we can sell you saying four seats, but no one will be able to sit on them...”
Mama Pajero exclaims, “...except children! tiny children who sit with their legs up.”
There’s a relief for Mini Pajero 660cc without Turbo. But the lack of turbo doesn’t mean a disability. The non-turbo model has four gears rather three which the turbo model has. So while you’ll have to depress the pedal hard into the floor to pull some onboard load or climb an incline, making useless noise; the turbo model will continue in the high-range of the RPM making useless engine noise until you stop at the side road to enjoy a second of quietness.
It is frankly quite baffling that adding a turbo has made it worse.
You then ponder over why you made the decision of buying a turbo kei car built for city driving with just three gears. Because most of the time, all the power is up their in the top range and you’re mostly in that range but just before the gear changes upward, since every time the system goes to change gear, some idiots pull in front or you have to brake again.
The high RPM driving means another trouble, it directly effects the state of your bank account and the 660cc turbo mini Pajero is a greedy little bastard. It gives out just 4-6 kmpl. Yes, I am not fucking kidding you here. No shit they sent them all out to foreign ports.
So the non-turbo model that I drove, is much better than the turbo one. It has four gears, thus better mileage. Drives like a car, and the driver doesn’t feel much off he/she is driving an SUV. The position isn’t elevated high-up like its normally in the ‘92 turbo-diesel Pajero standing next to it, though we were surprised to see that posting both car parallel to each other, the big brother was almost lost in sight.
This is a 2008 model, and has been in possession of the guy I took it from since 2009-10 and it has been kept in daily use with usual maintenance. Oil, filters and spark plugs, the turbo models has the owners on their knees.
Drives like a car, comfort is OKayish, its a car basically so if you think it would be fun or something, you’d be wrong. Even in the city, I think a hatchback would do the job pretty well too since this doesn’t offer a lot of space. Its just space for some grocery bag in the rear space, some grocery bags on the rear seats, and some grocery bags on the passenger seat.
What about the 4WD you must be wondering?
Other than the 660cc and 660cc turbo, there’s also Junior Pajero, which ceased production in ‘98. It had a 1100cc engine, wider wheels, heavier diff, etc. But again with a 3-Speed auto or 5 speed manual and it was worse in looks than this one. However, people done with the silly performance of the Turbo 660cc, swap all the bits and pieces into the 660cc turbo model. Which isn’t easy mind you. Wouldn’t exactly call it all bolt-on.
So the blue one that is a frequent in our off-roading trips, is often have to be left at some rally point and its passengers jump into the big 4x4s when some actual off-roading comes because in the Mini Pajero, despite the 1100cc Pajero Junior conversion, driving on flat on off-road surface, it feels like every screw is slowly coming apart and it did one time. Filter got choked, heat shield fell down, the engine was over-heating.
Only once I had to climb on the hood of the 5-door Mama Pajero and push this little one out of the muddy terrain because it lost traction but other than that, we never took it out on the proper off-raid trail to reach a mountain top.
You could tow something on the city street may be do light off-roading and it’ll do just fine. But continuous hardcore off-roading and it will fall apart.
There are many cars built just for Japan. I recently saw quite a sporty looking Nissan Ad Van with AWD, but I know that, that wouldn’t be fun like an EVO because the purpose is to haul ass, not go sideways.
Even in the city, I fail to understand its appeal. The new 660cc seem a lot more powerful engines, may be they are not and the ones that scream past me were just being taken to their limit so it does 130-140 km/h but with a lot of noise, like any city person.
The only reason I see amongst the buyers is that they needed an easy to park, cheap to buy vehicle (be it any), for short distance within the city and for that, it really doesn’t matter what you buy.
I am trying to get my hands on the Daihatsu Copen or Honda Beat next but if you guys would like to read my thoughts on any other car, let me know.