I’ve recently picked up a black off-roader, it’s a press car, I’m really fond of it and I’ll keep it for a few weeks. On paper, there are issues. For starters, it’s a diesel, which as we are repeatedly told it’s the work of the devil and whoever drives a diesel these days, we’re told, is basically a criminal and must be sent to prison.
It isn’t an especially clever diesel either, it’s a 4-cylinder 3,2L with 190 HP and, because the car is very big and heavy (2,3 tons), it’s a little thirsty. It’s supposed to be a superstar off-road, and it is, but then again I’ve never really understood why everyone’s so obsessed with the off-road abilities of their cars. Unless you live up a rocky creek, and statistically very few people do, or unless you deliberately get out of your own way to find yourself marooned in the woods, you’re only going to use your car on the road. You’re going to spend a lot of time getting out of your driveway or in traffic or at junctions or in car parks, and you need a compact, cheap to run, easy to park and quiet car to do all these things.
My black off-roader, a Mitsubishi Pajero 100th Anniversary edition in case you’re wondering, is or does none of these things. It’s taller than a Volvo XC90, longer than a Range Rover Sport and rougher than either. It is also relatively expensive to run, for the aforementioned reasons, and very tricky to park. The rear window is partially covered by the spare wheel but that really doesn’t matter because the windows are tinted black anyway, which means they’re pitch black from the outside and jet black on the inside. In plain English, this means you can’t see a damn thing. The only upside is the car comes with parking sensors and a parking camera mounted on the spare wheel cover. It helps, but only to an extent. It still feels like you’re maneuvering a rhino while blindfolded.
There’s more. The infotainment system looks like it’s been nicked from an early 2000s tuning car and then there’s the price. In Italy, it’s € 57k.
But I love it. I really do because it has features, it has foibles and pros and cons.
The main issue with modern motoring, by far, is the fact that cars are incredibly boring these days.
Modern cars are actually very good, they’re all relatively cheap to run and efficient, they’re all decently equipped and rational but they’re dull. They’re all the same, they all look the same, they all ride the same. Nothing bad to say about any of them, really. But nothing good either. It’s just a monotonous catalogue of brands that all offer the same recipe.
The Pajero isn’t like that. You can enjoy it. It’s a black car with black seats and black wheels. It’s like coffee. It’s not perfect, it may not be good for you, but it wakes you up. And puts you in a good mood.