The 2012 Pajero Sport will allow you to change the gears, but it will wash the headlights for you.

Mitsubishi's Pajero Sport, an SUV based on the Triton bakkie, has never really set the sales charts alight - living in the shadow of its number one foe, the successful Toyota Fortuner.

Not that it's a bad vehicle, it's just that Mitsubishi has never offered it with much of a range - with only one high-spec, high-price automatic model having ever been offered.


Now there's one more model to choose from with the introduction of a manual gearbox derivative, and it's also R10 000 more affordable at R435 900.

Besides now enabling owners to change gears themselves, even if there are only five cogs, the manual model remains identical to the automatic in every other respect.

That means a pukka four-wheel drive system, complete with low-range gearing, a 3.2-litre turbodiesel engine good for 120kW/343Nm and a braked towing capacity of 1500kg as well as a large interior that seats seven occupants.

Mitsubishi has also given the Pajero Sport a bit more spice for the 2012 model year with some subtle interior and cabin upgrades.

Look carefully and you'll see some cosmetic changes to the headlights, which can now be cleaned by a set of washers mounted on the bumper. Inside, the SUV receives an upgraded instrument cluster and ventilation dials, a USB port for music lovers and restyled leather seats.

The Pajero Sport is also priced slightly below its main rival from Toyota, although Mitsubishi's smaller dealership count could be worrisome to some customers. The Japanese brand is now distributed by Imperial Holdings and represented by 49 dealers around the country.


3.2 DI-D GLS - R435 900

3.2 DI-D GLS AT - R445 900


Ford Everest 3.0 TDCi 4x4 LTD - R431 740

Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 dCi LE - R514 300

Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4x4 - R448 600