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The ‘small’ Pajero (known as the Pajero iO or, here in Europe, the 1999-2006 Shogun Pinin), which Mitsubishi stopped selling in most markets several years ago, is still alive and well in Brazil where it has just been given a two-year, $US50m major make-over by local assembler and distributor Souza Ramos Group (GSR). The design work was done in São Paulo with help from Mitsubishi Japan.

The compact 4WD, dual-range SUV has been built since 2002 at GSR’s plant in Catalão, Goiás state, and over 50,000 units have been sold in South America so far.

Compared with the Pajero iO (still also on sale in China) only the roof was untouched during the revamp. Front grille, headlights, parking lights, bumper, fenders, doors, D pillar, roof racks and rear hatch were redesigned. Its looks have changed considerably : it’s truly a new generation.

There are some interesting details such as the functional air outlets in the front fenders and the new outside rear view mirrors.

The interior also received attention: a new steering wheel, instrument cluster, central console, audio system and an additional display for time, date and outside temperature. Several storage pockets were added.

The flexible-fuel engine now has a much higher compression ratio (11:1 compared with 9.5:1) and now develops 138 bhp on Brazil’s 100% ethanol fuel. Torque is up 10% to 159 lb·ft when running on biofuel.

Fernando Calmon