Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 Elegance

9 Apr, 2010 3:25pm Sam Hardy

Does classic 4x4’s cleaner, greener image detract from its tough character? We find out


Few cars have as loyal a following as the Shogun – and rightly so. It’s always been dependable and highly capable. This latest version is the best yet, because as well as being hugely flexible, with serious off-road ability and epic levels of kit, it’s economical and surprisingly CO2-friendly. The performance boost is the icing on the cake. While the badge is still unlikely to appeal to BMW X5 lovers, for buyers after a proper off-roader that doesn’t cost the earth to run, it’s well worth a look.

It's all change at Mitsubishi. Depending on your point of view, the Japanese brand has always stood for one of two things – high- performance rally-derived super saloons or hewn-from-granite, hard-working 4x4s. But these days, the company wants to be eco-friendly – so it’s doing its best to cut emissions across the range.

Thanks to a heavily revised 3.2-litre diesel engine, this latest Shogun shows the way forward – it’s much greener and cheaper to run. But have the changes compromised performance?

First, let’s look at how much more efficient the big seven-seater has become. Changes to the engine include a lower idle speed and new alternator, while there’s tweaked differential gearing and the overall ride height has dropped 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear to provide better aerodynamics. As a result, CO2 emissions have fallen from 280g/km to 224g/km for the five-speed automatic we tested – and
crucially that means the Shogun will save owners £400 in road tax. Register one this month and you’ll still be hit by a £550 first-year ‘showroom tax’, but the old model would have been burdened by a £950 bill.

As for the manual transmission version, it’s even cleaner, dropping from 246g/km to 212g/km. Of its competitors, only the BMW X5 emits less CO2. The Shogun’s claimed 33.2mpg combined economy is up drastically from 26.7mpg, making it one of the most frugal large 4x4s you can buy.

Surely these gains have come at the expense of performance? Actually, no. Mitsubishi’s engineers have managed to boost power significantly from 168bhp to 197bhp, while torque rises from 373Nm to 441Nm.

This means the maximum towing weight shoots up 200kg to 3,500kg and the 0-62mph sprint tumbles from 12.9 seconds to 11.1. On the move the Shogun displays decent pace, and while a 2,300kg kerbweight means it’s never going to beat hot hatches off the line, all that torque hooked up to a responsive and slick auto gives the 4x4 strong overtaking urge and allows it to cruise happily at high speed on the motorway.

The engine isn’t whisper-quiet but it is reasonably refined. Teamed with a comfortable ride this makes the Shogun a relaxing place in which to spend time.

The raised driving position adds to that feeling – yet, thanks to the large glass area, the Shogun isn’t intimidating to pilot despite its size. Low-speed manoeuvring in tight spaces requires plenty of wheel turning, but a reversing camera makes parking simple.

The engine isn’t the only star performer – the cabin shines as well. This is not because it’s a particularly classy environment – material quality is best described as durable, even if the layout is neat – but because it’s very flexible. The back seats offer plenty of space and tumble forward in two easy movements, leaving a simply enormous load area of 1,790 litres. There is even a pair of extra rear chairs under the boot floor which flip out to make the Shogun a full seven-seater.

There’s no shortage of equipment, either. Our Elegance model sits just below the range-topping Diamond version, and comes with a 12-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system with 30GB of memory and iPod integration, touch-screen satellite navigation, Bluetooth, leather seats and climate control.

It’s easy to forget the Shogun is a serious off-roader. Yet under the skin lies a tough monocoque chassis, sophisticated drive system with the choice of two or four-wheel drive plus high and low ranges and, of course traction and stability control. It all adds up to a very impressive package.

Rival: Toyota Land Cruiser
Another bullet-proof off-roader, the latest Land Cruiser matches the Shogun on emissions and returns even better economy at 34.9mpg. However, to get a similar level of kit you have to spend £41,605 on the LC4 model.

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We purchased what we were led to believe to be a brand new un-registered 08 plate 3.2 Shogun Diamond from Gallaghers Mitsubishi in Cheshire. When we got the vehicle home and were trying out the Sat Nav, we discovered lots of names and address from various places in North Yorkshire, some of which we contacted only to find that the vehicle had been the " Display Demonstrator Vehicle" at the Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate. further investigation around the vehicle showed many other tell tale marks and scratches

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To our amazement when we contacted both the Dealers and Mitsubishi UK , we were told in no uncertain terms that we should not have discovered this information, as it is normally wiped clean after the show and that the vehicle as it was unregistered was still a "new" vehicle. Beware when it comes to buying a Mitso that it really is fresh of the boat and not been kicked around the UK show and test scene for a few month's then passed on through the dealer network. As the vehicle was un-registered the law was on there side. If it is not registered with the DVLA then it is classed as new, BE WARNED !!!

sonya25 thats an appalling situation,i have bought 2 mitsubishi's one was a pre reg vehicle with 30miles on the clock and the 2nd was 3month old ex demonstrator.I cannot see how mitsubishi could sell you a vehicle as brand new because surely the odometer would only be showing 3 or 4miles on it if new.So unless they clocked the car which is illegal the car would have had a few hundred miles on it,which would be obvious when ignition was switched on.If i bought a car as brand new and discovered it had mileage on it i would refuse it before i left their forecourt.
As for the Shogun it looks a nice 4x4 built for work not play like soft BMWs and Audi 4x4

When are the government going to tax all makes of these hideous 4WD monsters off the roads. The sooner the better!

not sure about the purchase of a demo without knowing it must have had miles on the clock also mitsubishi would take it back if it was sold as new ??? i owned a shogun elegance 07 dc i 3.2 engine loads of combustion problems under boost code egr changed still a problem change the car for o 60 plate with the new engine a massive difference loads of power towing and speed use the trip gear in 4th for towing for better fuel consumption would recommend the shogun 2010 onwards model to anyone a outstanding car all around and only £260 pounds road tax same as some big cars so not so much a gas guzzler as gobby people who dont know facts about this 4 x 4 gem think 35 to the gallon also

Key specs

* Price: £34,999
* Engine: 3.2-litre 4cyl diesel
* Power: 197bhp
* Transmission: Five-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
* Top speed: 111mph
* 0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
* Economy: 33.2mpg
* CO2: 224g/km
* Equipment: Alloy wheels,satellite navigation with 30GB hard disk and 12-speaker audio system, climate control
* On sale: Now