The Mitsubishi Zaus - an off road concept vehicle - made its debut at the 31st Tokyo Motor Show in 1995. Zaus - an acronym for Zooming Adventure Utility Sports - took Mitsubishi's Pajero's on and off road performance and added wind-in-the-hair motoring!
The Zaus was created by thoroughly modifying a SWB Pajero to offer open-air freedom previously only found in a Jeep. The fully open 2-seater body also featured a detachable windscreen and a sturdy roll bar, minimal front and rear overhang, and electric winch.
A punchy 3.5-litre V6 engine powered the nimble two-seater, and with very short overhangs front and rear and adjustable road clearance, the Zaus was designed as the 4x4 fun car of the future.
Zaus offered road clearance adjustment that could raise the front by 60mm and the rear by 80mm, while the air intakes for the engine were located on top of the mudguards to help the car ford rivers and streams safely.
The body design incorporated half doors to further promote the "open" style of motoring but side protection was still maintained. The Zaus was also fitted with an integral roll bar system.
A nifty feature was at the rear where the spare tyre carrier was fitted with a hydraulic damper that took the effort out of removing or reattaching the spare wheel.
Zaus's interior was extensively waterproofed with water resistant measures to give it a true all weather open top capability. Consequently, the switchgear was designed larger to allow easier use when the driver is wearing gloves.
Inside, the two occupants ride in sporty Recaro seats with 4-point seat belts, driver SRS airbag, and the latest techno gadgets, including a popup multi-screen providing external temperature, vehicle attitude, altitude and latitude, height above sea level and other navigational information.
The Zaus rode on 265/70R18 tyres on 18-inch, 8-spoke alloy wheels, plus the latest version of Super Select 4WD system from Mitsubishi’s Pajero featuring 3-mode 4-speed automatic transmission.
Ultimately, the Zaus remained as a concept and did not go into production.