Toyota’s Fortuner is South Africa’s favourite SUV, dominating the segment since its inception – mainly due to the strong local reputation of the popular Hilux on which its based. That said, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is one of its most underrated bakkie-based rivals, but to date hasn’t enjoyed the same sales success due to its limited range.
Which is a shame really, as it offers the most accessible flat-folding luggage compartment in its segment. Compared to the Ford Everest’s ungainly lines and the Fortuner’s conservative appearance, the Pajero Sport is also the best looking of the lot I feel. Although the brand doesn’t offer a 4×2 option, which now makes up 73% of the segment, Mitsubishi SA say its introduction is imminent.
In the interim, the company has enhanced the current 4×4 offering, and though visually similar, the mechanical revisions address the previous Pajero Sport criticisms (much of which centered around the agricultural nature and refinement of its old four-speed automatic transmission.)
Mitsubishi has thus added a new five-speed automatic and a new 131kW 2.5-litre engine, offering an 11kW power improvement over the previous 3.2-litre. The diesel DI-D churns out 400Nm of torque in the manual derivative, while the new auto delivers 350Nm. On road, the power and torque hikes (as well as the efficiency benefits of the smaller engine) are immediately apparent as is the huge improvement in refinement and NVH levels. So before just accepting the Fortuner as your default choice, we would recommend sampling the new Mitsubishi too.Download PDF