Help me choose a 4WD - Patrol or Pajero

Submitted: Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:34
ThreadID: 110800 Views:15288 Replies:15 FollowUps:15
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Hi All,

First post :-)

We used to camp and 4WD a lot before we had kids but the old Pajero had to go when they came along and we haven't been since but we've decided to start camping again. We have 4 kids under 6 so our choice of 4WD is very limited.

Top end of the budget is $35K and we need 7 seats plus the capablity to tow a trailer through the high country, nothing serious we're just trying to get to decent camping and fishing spots but things can get a bit rough in the hills so it has to be capable. The trailer will be an essential as the car will be full. The best options as i see it are the Patrol, the Pajero or the Landcruiser, I've written off the Prado and the Pathfinder as 2nd hand they're not much cheaper than a second hand Landcruiser or Patrol. I'd like a Land Cruiser but the they retain their value too well so they're out of the picture (for my money I'm looking at a 10+ year old car and I'm not comfortable with the reliability at that age.)

In summary my requirements are:

7 seats
Large interior
Less than 5 years old
Reasonable to good fuel economy
Capable 4WD.

It will be used 90% on-road for work so it has to look ok, after researching my options I really can't see any other options than the Patrol or the Pajero, my pros and cons I've come up with for both cars are:


Overall the more capable 4WD of the two
Plenty of aftermarket parts and options
Common vehicle in the bush

Driving dynamics on road
Internet is full of horror stories of very expensive repairs on a worryingly frequent basis
Fuel economy (?)


Better on road dynamics
Fuel economy
Slightly cheaper on same year vehicle
More modern interior

Less capable off road
Doesn't quite look the part (vain and superfluous I know but I prefer the look of the Patrol.)

The major issue I face is that I need to commute about 30K a year with this car and I have to be able to park it at customers and not look terrible (hence an older vehicle is out). I'm very concerned about some of the reliability issues with the Patrol, it seems as soon as someone has a repair it's in the thousands of dollars, I haven't read any close to the same level of issues for the Pajero and to be honest I can't wear those sort of repair costs.

I'm not interested in a debate on which vehicle is the better 4WD but I would like some opinions on which vehicle would suit my situation better, I'm currently leaning towards the Pajero as I don't need super off road capability but I do need reliability.

So if if you have some personal experience of either vehicle in regard to these issues or even better if you've owned both I'd be very appreciative of any input?


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Reply By: Zachary Quack - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:42

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:42
(I can't find an edit function for my above post?)

I forgot a pro of the Patrol, it has split 3rd row seats which the Pajero doesn't.
AnswerID: 544546

Reply By: cruiser 3 - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:43

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:43
A well looked after 10 year old Landcruiser is still very reliable.
From personal experience the cruiser I have had for 18 years is still reliable and a better vehicle than my sons new top of the range duel cab ute (won't mention the brand)
AnswerID: 544547

Follow Up By: Zachary Quack - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:57

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 14:57
Thanks, but unfortunately in my line of work I have to park at clients premises a lot and I need a vehicle that looks newer.
FollowupID: 831778

Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:24

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:24
A well looked after 100Ser Landcruiser would look no different to a eqiv Patrol and is easier to park.

All of the vehicles are very similar in looks and if your customers rely on how your car looks must be a bit of a strange business.

A Pajero would suit the best after a Cruiser.
FollowupID: 831780

Follow Up By: Member - escapesilv - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 18:15

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 18:15
Hi Zachary Quack

Understanding where you come from a 10 to 18 year old car is not a positive look when visiting customers.

In my opinion I would go with a Pajero, for your business and recreational aspect.


FollowupID: 831807

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 07:28

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 07:28
What a car looks like can depend a lot on how it's been treated and maintained. Get a new cruiser, put a bunch of lift in it, add some oversized tyres and some ugly bullbar and rear bar and it won't win a beauty pageant, especially if badly scratched and some dents.

Our cruiser is 9 years old and has done 330K kms, mostly off road in high country and Aussie deserts. I wouldn't be worried parking in Macquarie Street with the legal eagles vehicles. One son's cruiser in the middle is a 2003 model. Not a scratch on it and he does heaps of trips.

I would definitely add a 100 series, or similar model, to your list and just look at the Patrol and Cruiser and both with 4.2's in them, at least and preferable with a turbo.

Cape York entrance to CREB Track.

FollowupID: 831857

Reply By: Crusier 91 - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:29

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:29
I also have to say the 100 series Landcruiser does not look its age and performs very well.
If you're still not convinced a late 2000's TD Mitsubishi Triton Dual Cab would be in your price range, also a very good 4wd though a 2" lift would help clearance issues. Have seen them perform very well.
AnswerID: 544550

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 19:47

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 19:47
Won't the 4th kid get lonely in the tub out the back? :-)
FollowupID: 831816

Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:44

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:44

Firstly, If this is a work vehicle and a deductible expense, look at your options leasing and buying new. Under a lease you will not pay GST and you will be eligible for fleet discount. (GST is payable as a component of each lease payment.) Plus you will pay for it out of pre tax money , not post tax. By the time you factor both these discounts and the way 4wd holds their value, you could find it actually cheaper to buy new.

secondly, if you are driving 30K a year i would suggest that you take both for a drive and see which one is the most comfortable for you.

Thirdly, the Patrol has a reputation that is often misunderstood and is in relation to the pre- CRD 3lts. There many examples out there of people you have never had any problems at all. But you never hear about them. In both of the vehicle you are looking at , up to 5 years old the reliability is probably the same. All depends on how they have been looked after.

But in my view the important thing will be number 2.

AnswerID: 544552

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 07:37

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 07:37
True Alan and if a work vehicle then all servicing etc is claimable so he should then go to a proper diesel/4wd workshop to do all his maintenance and pre and post inspections. That will definitely lessen the chance of a breakdown in the middle of the desert.

It's been ages since I even talked about claiming maintenance. Is it still claimable as a legit work expense? I was never in a position to do so. But at around $500 for a good service and #1000 every time you modify or update (lift, suspension upgrade etc) a work cost claim would be worthwhile thinking about.

Maybe a small $20K car for work isn't a bad idea also. Keep the rest for a better 4WD for what's really important in life.

Just a few ideas.
FollowupID: 831859

Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 10:48

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 10:48

Yes servicing is a claimable expense, but there are differing methods of claiming, so the amount you can claim varies. i.e if you are claiming based on mileage the only a potion based on business mileage is claimable.
Modifications or lifts would probably be not be considered "maintenance" and I guess would be a improvement to the captial price and then subject to Fringe Benefits tax. Where you would stand if you were replacing worn parts needing maintenance with improved parts is beyond me.
From my experience with leasing vehicles is that some companies have lots of restrictions around maintenance to prevent confusion. I couldn't even change type and brand of tyres from what the vehicle was delivered with.
Probaby best for the OP to get some expert advise if he wants to go that way.
But on my experience with 3 4wd's bought this way is that it is usually cheaper buyingnew, than looking at good 2nd hand late model vehicles.

And Zac, if it was up to me i would go the Patrol ( i have had 2). It may look a bit old and hasn't been updated for a long time, but this also means there is a lot of knowledge out there, parts are relatively common and easy to get. The ride is considere dby many to be bettr than a landcruiser.
I have had a Triton of which i had a major engine failure, and my wife had a Magna years ago, and i found that Mitsubishi often do things strange.

FollowupID: 831870

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:03

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:03

I reckon the Pajaro
A really good all round 4X4

Good Luck
AnswerID: 544564

Reply By: Bigfish - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 18:37

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 18:37
The Pajero would win hands down. Better on fuel than the Patrol. More reliable.

I just bought a new Paj and I went through all the pros and cons. Have driven heaps of patrols and cruisers. Just glad I went for the Pajero.
AnswerID: 544577

Reply By: madfisher - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 20:36

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 20:36
I think you need to take both vehicles for a good drive, the answer will be staring you in the face.
Cheers Pete
AnswerID: 544584

Reply By: desray (WA - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 21:46

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 21:46
Why cross of the Prado, very good and reliable car, lots around $30000 less than 5 years old..
AnswerID: 544592

Reply By: Batt's - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 00:01

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 00:01
I've only had Toyo's and Nissans and yes vehicles with solid axles have more articulation but I would think for comfort the Pajero would be better especially when most of your driving is on road. The Pajero would usually be fitted with traction aids so don't write it off for it's off road capability especially when you lean how they operate as use them correctly it will take you a long way and sometimes further. With a big family you would have to make sure the Pajero had enough room inside compared to the Toyo , patrol to suit your needs. Also depending what state you live in the rego cost will vary due to either motor size or vehicle weight something else to checkout.
AnswerID: 544599

Reply By: Boobook2 - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 06:24

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 06:24
Zach, I think your OP sums it up pretty well.

I would definitely go the Pajero unless you specifically know you want quite extreme 4wding beyond normal High country stuff or the rear seat works better for you. I had a NM and while it had some faults, like rear wheel towing set up, it went everywhere that a patrol and landcruser went. The Patrol should have been put out to pasture 10 years ago.

My main advice would be get the model after NP ( NR or NS) as it has improvements in the diesel and traction aids and was better value.

join the Pajero club forum for further advice.
AnswerID: 544604

Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 07:56

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 07:56
A Pajero will go a long way off road...further than most are willing to take them. If you aren't into extreme stuff it will do nicely and it will use less fuel. There's a 10 year warranty on the drive train I believe?
AnswerID: 544608

Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 19:50

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 19:50
I have had both & pleased with either vehicle - upgraded my Pajero 3 months ago to another one because the last was a great vehicle and probably the best tow vehicle I have owned so it suited me to stick with them.

Cheers - Phil
Phil 'n Jill (WA)

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AnswerID: 544640

Reply By: Zachary Quack - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 09:27

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 09:27
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies, it's probably easier I respond in a single post than to each suggestion.

I do claim as a business expense thanks, I've looked at novated leases a few times but they tend to be a bit constricting and I prefer the flexibility of a car allowance and claiming myself. The maximum figure I can go to takes most of this into account, it's always a balancing act between the increasing amount you can claim as the vehicle cost goes up vs. the actual repayments, I suspect I will need to push it up to $35K.

I work in a sales related area so company appearance is important, it's not the look of the car that's a problem but more the age and perceived image of the company, now that I think about I think the vehicle needs to be less than 8 years old according to company rules. (That's why I think I'll need to push it to 35K....), I'd love a Cruiser but they just hold their value too well for the age of vehicle I need :-(

I think you're right in that I really need to go and have a drive and serious look at both, I'm still leaning towards the Pajero as I haven't found as many quality issues reported with it. What I mean by this is not the early engine failures on the 3L but more there seems to be a general trend of "turbo failed - $4K, diesel pump failed - $3K etc etc. It's very anecdotal I know but I'm just not seeing the same talk when it comes to the Pajero.

Thanks for all the help.


AnswerID: 544675

Follow Up By: Zachary Quack - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 19:19

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 19:19
Sorry that should have been an increase to $40K not $35K.
FollowupID: 831990

Follow Up By: Louwai - Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 at 14:49

Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 at 14:49
With a budget of $40k I'd still look at land cruisers.
A yr ago I bought a 2011 GXL Troopie with roof rack, cargo barrier, Blackwidow drawers in the back,
Duel batteries, Bullbar, 5tn winch, Font & rear diff locks, original 5 wheels & tires plus a 2nd set of Cooper wheels & tires.

At the time this vehicle still had new car waranty on it. I paid $56k.
I'm sure you could find something a few yrs older for your $40k budget.

Also, I bought this Troopie on a Novated Lease. Many Novated Lease companies will finance 2nd hand vehicles. Some will even do motorcycles.
I don't have any issues of being dictated to regarding maintenace, tires, modifications I do to it etc. Although modifications are not paid for by the lease.
FollowupID: 832025

Reply By: Trevor B2 - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:07

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:07
gday Zach

With your requirements id go for the pajero. Thats not easy for me to say because im a nissan man. With your whole family doin the trip, comfort is a must. Unless your looking at a 2010 plus you dont get dual zone in the st patrol ,but you can look at earlier stl and ti. The patrol is definately the stronger and more capable 4wd but it doesnt sound like you will be doing alot of 4wd with having kids that young.
Feature wise the pajero would be better and alot more comfortable for the wife and kids, you can also get a newer model which would look better when you go to your clients house. Ive seen alot of pajeros towing a trailer with the ass end scraping the pavement so a few suspention upgrades would be a must being independent.
good luck
AnswerID: 544680

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 17:26

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 17:26
I'll second that comment re a Pajero suspension upgrade with your larger family and probably regular trailer towing. Doesn't need to be anything dramatic, just factor in $1000 for rear springs and new dampeners/shocks (with/without lift) supplied and fitted.
I've had two Pajeros from new doing 40 000km pa, first one did 200 000km, 2nd one 300 000km, with 3 kids. We are happy with them, now into our 3rd one.

I won't fault Patrols or Toyos, each has their particular market niche, up to you to find the one which is right for you.

FollowupID: 831978

Reply By: Zachary Quack - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 08:29

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 08:29
I've just come across a potentially fatal flaw in my Pajero plan, after doing some research online (I really hate reading through baby forums....) it seems that it's not practically possible to fit full size booster seats into the 3rd row of the Pajero and fitting three seats across the 2nd row (i.e. three baby seats) is going to be really tricky. Anyone with any experience on this?

Looks like I can fit boosters in the 3rd row of the patrol, any comments?

(I am _not_ buying a delica!!!! ;-)

AnswerID: 544798

Follow Up By: Zachary Quack - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 09:28

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 09:28
When I say boosters I'm referring to the older kids seat that doesn't use an anchor point - that's a whole different story especially on the patrol.
FollowupID: 832160

Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 09:38

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 09:38
We can get three Infa Secure Rallye kids seats across the 2nd row of the Pajero, suitable for 6months to 8 years. They are a convertible seat (booster after 4 years) that have a 4star CREP rating, and a reasonably priced at Big W. Haven't tried to get two in the third row yet!
FollowupID: 832161

Follow Up By: Zachary Quack - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 13:03

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 13:03
Thanks, that is good news, if anyone's tried the 3rd row I'd love to hear about it.
FollowupID: 832180

Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 13:32

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 13:32
Sorry, I can't easily try the third row for you, as my third row seat is wrapped in plastic in the roof of the garage; I wanted to use the extra 180L storage space under the floor for recovery gear.
FollowupID: 832182

Follow Up By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 21:34

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 21:34
Just had a look out our Paj & I agree you would probably struggle to install anchor points for the third row. No good fitting to the storage lid as that would pull upwards, defeating the exercise and I doubt it practical to fix them on the surround - but that would be a question I would put the Mitsubishi - give them a call - very helpful - 1300 131 211

Good luck - regards Phil
Phil 'n Jill (WA)

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