Mitsubishi Pajero and Lexus LX

Mitsubishi Pajero

While Mitsubishi isn’t the most popular brand worldwide, it certainly makes a good crop of cars, or should I say a great crop! They’ve generated much fanfare with their Lancer EVO and Pajero models among rally and off road enthusiasts respectively. But look harder and you notice the Pajero isn’t just a pure-bred dune attacker. It can do just as well on the road and is a great family car that doesn’t cost the world to own and to run. You get the luxury and the gadgets on the inside, apart from one of the best audio systems ever offered in a car. There are three rows of seats with a genuinely pampering second row. As a performer too, the Pajero, Montero, Shogun or whatever name it goes by in other markets, is nothing short of a brilliant all-rounder. A 3.2L 4 cylinder common-rail direct injection engine delivers 202 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque to a 5-speed automatic transmission which sends it to the Super-Select four wheel drive system. While those figures may be lower than many of the models mentioned here about, it doesn’t feel like it has anything missing when you’re at the wheel.

The Pajero figures in this list of elite SUVs because it not only gets the job done right, but also because it doesn’t cost as much to get almost all of what you would get from something twice the price. It is also extremely reliable and dependable upon as an every day car.

Lexus LX

Lexus have aimed square at the big guns with their new LX570. This behemoth 8 passenger SUV has been further improved upon over its predecessor making it equally capable on the road and off it. With a luxurious interior equipped with all the creature comforts, utilities and entertainment features you would ever need, there is no doubting the capability of the LX as a long distance tourer. Lexus have further fettled with the LX to make it an astonishing off-roader as well, not surprising seeing as the Toyota Land Cruiser is the base for this gentle monster. There’s a massive 5.7L V8 gasoline engine on offer making 383 hp and 403 lb/ft of torque of which 90% is available from 2200 rpm – ample performance to have the better of the highway or the dirt. All that output goes through a 6-speed automatic transmission and a limited-slip locking center differential, which when combined to the Active Traction Control, updated Crawl Control, Hill Assist, Turn Assist and Multi-Terrain Select along with the adjustable ride height make it a highly capable vehicle in all conditions.

Lexus cars, especially their saloons, have often been considered the boring businessman’s ride of choice. Of course the LX is in a different league and you would be wise to put any biased choices aside and take a long, hard look at this one. Performance and peace of mind are after all irreplaceable; forget what everyone says…