The successor to the PAJERO JR, the MITSUBISHI PAJERO IO is a mini SUV whose sale began in June 1998. At first, only the 3-door model was available, but two months later, the 5-door model was introduced. Though its size is in the 5 number body category, elements of the PAJERO’s design could be identified in its car body. The riding capacity is 4 persons for the 3-door, and 5 persons for the 5-door model. To the 4WD mechanism, the newly developed super select 4WD i has been introduced. The base of this is a 4WD system that utilizes viscose coupling, and it is possible to switch between four positions: 2H (FR), 4H (standby 4WD), 4HLc (inline 4WD high), and 4LLc (inline 4WD low).
The 1,834cc four-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower has been installed on all grades. However, according to the grade, the 10-15 fuel consumption varies somewhat; for the 4-speed automatic models, it measures at 13.6km/L, and for the 5-speed manual models, it varies between 14.0 - 14.8km/L.
The drive system was initially only 4WD, but later in 1999, the FR model was added. Furthermore, in terms of the FR model, only the 4-speed automatic transmission is available; for the 4WD model, the 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmission are available.
In June 2000, minor changes were made on the exterior; furthermore, additions were made to the engine lineup. The 1,999cc four-cylinder with 136 horsepower and 1,834 four-cylinder turbo engines with 160 horsepower were newly added. Due to the improvements in power output and torque, driving performance was greatly improved, allowing the model to adhere to new fuel efficiency standards and gas emission regulations. As for the exterior, there were changes made on the front grille and bumper design.
In August 2002, only the 5-door model was made available; moreover, for the drive system as well, only the 4WD was available, and the FR model was discontinued. In terms of the 1,834cc engine, it was altered to a naturally aspirated engine using regular gasoline, and its power output changed to 116 horsepower.
In December 2004, for some grades, privacy glass was installed, and the car navigation system became standard equipment, leading to a better equipped vehicle line.
The minor changes made in January 2006 saw the introduction of the “Active Field Edition,” which had been sold as a specially-equipped vehicle, into the standard grade lineup. In terms of this grade, water-repellent seat covers and UV & heat protect glass were installed in the interior, and fog lamps and spare tire cases were equipped on the exterior. Furthermore, the optical axis adjustment mechanism (manually operated) was added to the headlights, and the color of the side blinker (turning indicator) was changed to amber.
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