The Mitsubishi Shogun has been mildly tweaked for 2012, but remains a no-nonsense tool with strong off-road credentials, albeit an expensive one

What is it?

It’s natural for off-roaders to enjoy a longer product cycle than regular road cars, but on the surface the Mitsubishi Shogun, here tested in mildly-tweaked for 2012 form, seems well overdue for replacement.

It last had a significant revamp in 2006, and you’re looking at a car whose monocoque platform (with an integrated ladder-like frame) and major mechanicals were introduced at turn of the millennium.

Is that a problem? It might be. Changes for the 2012 model year include a new grille, Euro V compliant engine, some new interior materials and different range badging.

But what we’re talking about is an old car, with a 3.2-litre diesel that, while having its emissions cut to 224g/km, still only has four, vast, cylinders.

What’s it like?

As you might expect, the Shogun’s interior design is pretty dated, and the materials aren’t up to current standards, even though fit and finish are fine.

The diesel’s a rowdy beast when you fire it up, too. We’ve become so accustomed to the hush of modern multi-cylinder turbodiesels that the Shogun is a stark reminder of the way things used to be.

It doesn’t go down the road too cleverly, either. The primary ride is actually okay, especially for tall car; it resists excess roll and float but coupled to that, inevitably, is a pretty unsettled secondary ride across smaller lumps and imperfections. There’s also too much road and wind noise for the Shogun to compete with the best.

One advantage of the Shogun’s age, though, is that it feels quite narrow compared to some modern 4x4s, at 1875mm (most premium SUVs are well over 1900mm) and with squared-off extremities that are easy to place. This LWB variant also squeezes seven seats into its 4900mm length.

There are the off-road credentials too, of course (700mm wade depth, it can climb 48 degrees and not topple sideways across on a 45 degree slope), which the excellent visibility helps exploit. And the Shogun can tow 3500kg. It also performs admirably in reliability surveys.

Should I buy one?

The Shogun remains the same no-nonsense tool it always was. That’s fine, but we have trouble satisfyingly mating that to the £40,999 asking price of the range-topping SG4.

And if you don’t need all the Shogun can do off-road, even the £32,129 of the LWB entry model is a tough ask against ‘softer’ competition that can tow things just as convincingly.

Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 SG4

Price: £40,999; Top speed: 111mph; 0-62mph: 11.1sec; Economy: 34.4mpg; Co2: 216g/km; Engine: 4cyls, 3200cc, turbodiesel; Power: 197bhp at 3800rpm; Torque: 325lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd auto

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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K1NZ 29 December 2011

Re: Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 SG4

$40k seems alot for a shogun, called the pajero in New Zeland, they are however relaible and will go forever, also they are rather excellent offroad. Mitsi seems to be bleeding chips with its vehicle range they dont seem to be bringing out new models of ay of their range, just a mid life refresh like there is here, ive read in my NZ Autocar issue, one of the editors thought mitsubishi would go before SAAB, and it seems the R&D department is a tad cash straped hence no new models

Tom Chet 8 December 2011

Re: Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 SG4

Halves in value in 2 years: would rather have a 2009 model with under 30K miles for less than £22K, thanks. £40K+ for a Shogun?!?!

kcrally 7 December 2011

Re: Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 SG4

I remember the dakar mitsubishis shoguns in their various guises that dominated the dakar rally throughout the 00's. 7 victories in a row I think.