Currently reading: Used car buying guide: Mitsubishi Shogun
Mitsubishi’s Shogun has a loyal following who love its tough, get-the-job-done attitude and roomy, well-equipped cabin – and it’s yours from £1000 up

In the 1980s, Mitsubishi dealers couldn’t get enough Shoguns. I know this because I worked for one as a salesman. The big off-roader sold like hot cakes and for the list price, too. 

It was launched in 1982 and replaced by the Mk2 in 1991, which itself was replaced by the Mk3, the generation under the spotlight here, in 2000. This was a more sophisticated vehicle than its two rugged predecessors, with its monocoque body, independent suspension and rack and pinion steering. It used a refined version of the Mk2’s so-called Super Select four-wheel-drive system with full- and part-time 4WD, high and low ranges and a locking centre differential. 

Looking back, the Mk3 Shogun anticipated today’s SUVs while still being able to rough it with the likes of the Land Rover Discovery. Mitsubishi had another hit on its hands, meaning that today, if you’re looking for a used one, you’ll be spoiled for choice. It gets better, because although a Mk4 followed in 2007, it was really just a heavy facelift, with some tweaks to the transmission and changes to its sole engine. 

Another facelift followed in 2012 and, but for a few styling, badging and equipment changes, it’s the same Shogun you’ll find on the new price lists today. It means that prices for what, in many ways, has remained the same vehicle for the past 18 years range from £1000 for something like a 130,000-mile 2005-reg 3.2 DI-D Elegance LWB that we found in the classifieds to £43,000 for a 2018 3.2 DI-DC SG5 LWB. For this guide, however, we’ve called a halt at the 2012 facelift. 

So back to 2000 and the arrival of the Mk3. It was offered in short-wheelbase (SWB) and more practical and popular long-wheelbase (LWB) forms, and powered by a choice of two engines: a 3.5 GDI V6 petrol and, more important, a 3.2 DI-D diesel producing 159bhp. If the petrol wasn’t already thirsty enough, it came with only an automatic gearbox, which ensured sales were limited to the well-heeled. The rest of us bought the diesel, in manual or auto forms. 

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Standard kit included alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, folding rear seats, and powered windows and mirrors. Of the trim levels, Elegance stands out for its heated leather seats, climate control and greater availability.


The V6 petrol was ditched in the 2007 facelift, leaving just the 3.2 diesel. This gained common-rail injection and a slight increase in power to 166bhp. Three years later, it was uprated to a more useful 197bhp. 

These 2010-year diesel Shoguns are cleaner, more economical (expect around 35mpg) and torquier, so they are worth stretching your budget for. Better still if you can find a nice one in plentiful Diamond spec: leather, air-con, electric sunroof and parking sensors. Whatever you choose, make sure it has a solid service history, a surprisingly rare thing as far as Shoguns are concerned. 

How to get one in your garage

An expert’s view 

Neil Beachill, Mitzy Bitz: “I owned a Shogun SWB diesel in 2003. It was a cracking vehicle, although working in a Mitsubishi dealer workshop at the time, I had access to affordable servicing. My wife only drove it around town so its fuel consumption was high and, in the end, I just had to sell it. To this day, people still ask me whether they should buy one. I say, only if you have a real job for it like towing or as a general utility vehicle. And if you do buy one, make sure you stay on top of servicing and fix any rust the second you see it. It may be a tough Japanese 4x4 but it still needs TLC.”

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Buyer beware

Engine: Listen for noises from the top of the engine caused by the timing chain wearing down the nylon guides and running against metal. If the fuel filler neck on a 2000-06 diesel model is rusty, suspect the health of the fuel pump, which ingests the rust particles and breaks. Have the emissions checked as the EGR valves can become clogged. On the petrol, both the in-tank fuel pump and high-pressure fuel pump are prone to failure. 

Transmission: With the vehicle on a ramp, check the condition of the transfer ’box plunger switches. They’re exposed to the elements and seize. Replacement is around three hours. Ensure manuals are graunch-free and autos have had their fluid and filter changed regularly and don’t overheat. 

Brakes and suspension: Check the effectiveness of the brakes and anti-lock system since the ABS pump and modulator are prone to failure. Check for tired rear suspension bushes. If the tops of the rear wheels appear to be turning inwards, suspect the camber and trailing arm bushes. Towing a caravan or trailer will exaggerate the problem, and wear out rear springs and dampers, too. 

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Body: Try to peer behind the wheel arch mouldings. You’re looking for rust caused by trapped water and mud. Wing edges and rear arches are especially vulnerable. Check the condition of the fuel tank, which rusts badly. Also worth knowing Want to join the club? Most prominent is the Mitsubishi Pajero Owners Club UK (

Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 DI-D Warrior SWB 2006/06, 82K miles, £6490: Among the stacks of LWB Shoguns, this prettier SWB stands out. Good service history (eight stamps), black leather interior and a glowing description. Better off road, too. 

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