MITSUBISHI Motors SA has facelifted the 4x4 Pajero Sport and the biggest change is the adoption of the next generation 2.5-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine which replaces the previous 3.2-litre power unit.
The company says the newer generation engine means improved fuel consumption and lower emissions, but the important bonus is that the power output and maximum torque are both increased by a significant amount.
Already a big performer at low engine revolutions, the Pajero Sport boosts power from 120kW at 3500rpm to 131kW at 4000 rpm, while the maximum torque reading moves up from 343Nm at 2000rpm to 400Nm at the same engine speed in the manual transmission model.
In the models with the five-speed automatic transmission the maximum torque is 350Nm at 1800rpm. At 400Nm the Pajero Sport produces approximately 20% more torque than the segment leader.
The new engine differs in several aspects from the previous 3.2-litre version, in terms of engine components, variable geometry turbocharger and diesel injectors.
A host of additional features have been added to the standard specification too, while the good news is that the price of these models – manual and automatic – has remained unchanged – very unusual for the introduction of a new model in South Africa.
The prices remain at R435900 and R445900 respectively.
The 4x4 automatic transmission model is, in fact, the price leader in its segment.
"The fact that we have been able to negotiate such favourable pricing while improving our offering substantially makes the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport a very attractive proposition for people looking for a high-specification, large-size SUV," says Mitsubishi Motors SA chief executive Jaco Oosthuizen.
Full size SUVs have plenty of interior room and the Pajero Sport is no exception, featuring seven seats and luggage space of 1149 litres with the third row of seats folded flat.
Oosthuizen says the vehicle also has much improved ride refinement, and the drive is quiet and comfortable for an SUV of this size.
Ground clearance on these 4x4s is also very impressive, and comes with a 4x4 system with low range.
Both gearboxes are five-speed units, with the automatic transmission being an all-new product with paddle shifts if the driver wants to shift gears manually.
The Super Select 4x4 system is used to control the 4x4 system drive facility.
The system provides a choice of four different driving modes, 2H, 4H, 4HLc and 4LLc to suit almost any terrain, and when the going gets tough you can always engage the rear differential lock.
With shift-on-the-fly it is claimed the vehicle can easily change from 2WD mode to 4WD mode at speeds up to 80km/h thanks to the Super Select 4x4 System.
The exterior appearance of the new model features a number of differences from its predecessor, starting with an eye-catching front grille and bumper, a rear number plate garnish and body colour door handles and rear view mirrors; the latter can fold electrically and now incorporate repeater indicator lenses.
The taillight clusters have been redesigned and there is a new, more aggressively styled look for the 17-inch alloy wheels.
Additional features include high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, with dusk sensing function instead of the previous halogen units for better night vision.
The lights come on automatically at dusk while the windscreen wipers are rain sensitive.
Fog lights and headlamp washers are also part of the standard specification.
The seats are covered in black leather, while the steering wheel is also leather covered and incorporates multi-function switches, including cruise control, Bluetooth control and audio control.
Important additional safety features in the new models are active stability and traction control, while Mitsubishi's insistence on high levels in terms of active and passive safety means six airbags, ABS brakes and electronic brake distribution.
The Pajero Sport is covered by a three-year/100000km warranty and five-year/ 90000km service plan.