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SUVs have slowly risen over the years but now enjoy a seat at the head of the automotive table. Of all the SUVs lumbering around the world at any time, there can only be one that is the coolest SUV of all time. Can you guess what it is? 

What is the coolest SUV of all time? 

Meet the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution. There is a decent chance you have heard of the Mitsubishi Pajero. They are a fairly common Japanese off-roader. However, in 1998, the Pajero Evolution came as the next in a long line of Championship Dakar Rally SUVs from the Japanese powerhouse. 

One look at the Pajero Evo, and it’s clear why someone (me) might be tempted to name this the all-time coolest SUV. Before getting too angry at me for my potentially hasty call, take a second and look at this pint-sized 4×4. Every inch of it adds another interesting, unique, or just plain badass design feature or practical performance feature. 

What makes the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution so special? 

Mitsubishi Pajero
Mitsubishi Pajero | Wikimedia

According to Silodrome, although the Pajero Evo debuted in ’97, it couldn’t compete in the Dakar until ’98 because it hadn’t been Homologated officially yet. However, Mitsubishi still wong that year, just with the outgoing T2 model.

In order to compete, the Pajero Evo had to make road-going versions of the Evo. Mitsubishi only ever made 2,500 examples from 1997 to 1999. The Pajero Evo sported its signature super-wide fender flares, wild aero roof fins (?), scoops, vents, and much more on the road cars. 

Aside from its wild looks, the Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution also had the motor to back up these intense design cues. Power comes from a 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 engine with Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system (MIVEC), Mitsubishi’s variable valve technology. This beefy V6 delivers a raucous 276 hp to all four wheels should you so choose. Mitsubishi made the Pajero Evo with both a five-speed manual and a five-speed auto. However, strangely, the manual gearbox is pretty rare. 

Silodrome also mentions that the coolest SUV of all time was also equipped with limited-slip differentials, a locking center differential, and underbody protection to avoid damage from rocks and debris off-road. After all, this thing was built for a single purpose, crushing the vast and hostile terrain of the Paris-Dakar Rally. 

How much does a Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution cost? 

The coolest part of the coolest SUV ever made is the fact that regular people can still buy them. The average price for a homologated version is around $25,000-$35,000. This, of course, depends on the condition, originality, the rarity of the options, and mileage. Getting a proper JDM sports car of this caliber typically costs well into the six figures. I’m looking at you, Toyota Supras, and Nissan Skylines. 

Considering the extreme looks, killer performance, racing pedigree, and rarity, there is no denying the coolness of this model. But when you add the surprisingly-reasonable price point, the Mistubishi Pajero Evolution becomes an undeniable force of cool that demands adoration. 

Bow down, other SUVs, to your tiny King. 

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