- Possesses hardcore off-road capability
- Seven-seat versatility
- Refined diesel engine
- Quite thirsty – combined economy rated at 32.8mpg but expect less.
- Cheaper seven-seaters out there
- High carbon emissions so will costly and prove unpopular with green brigade
The Shogun Sport name may sound familiar. That’s because it was sold here in the UK from 2000 to 2007 and Mitsubishi claims more than 12,000 of the 18,500 sold are still running today.
The latest incarnation of the seven-seater has been on sale in the Far East for more than a year already, but now it has arrived on UK shores. It looks imposing and is powered by a 2.4-litre turbo diesel mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Customers can choose from two trim levels called Shogun Sport 3 and 4 and the vehicles can be ordered from September with deliveries expected in November.
On The Road
The Mitsubishi Shogun Sport is a powerful presence on the road and its looks are equally matched by its performance. The 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine delivers 181hp along with 430Nm of torque and this is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox which is exclusive to the vehicle. The SUV can power its way to 62mph from a standing start in 11.0 seconds and redlines at 112mph. According to official figures, it can deliver combined fuel economy of 32.8mpg (expect less) with carbon emissions of 227g/km.
We tested the higher specced Shogun Sport 4 and the beefy vehicle is actually quite nimble. Its ease of manoeuvrability belies its larger-than-life scale – after all the Shogun Sport is more than 4.75 metres long. The acceleration is smooth through the gears and the paddles are ideal of you want to take control of the gear changes.
But the Shogun Sport needs to be a capable workhorse away from the Tarmac and it certainly scores highly on that count thanks to the Super Select II 4WD system with off-road terrain control system and rear differential lock.
We visited a working quarry and it was the perfect location to highlight the Shogun Sport’s ability as we waded through water that was approaching the maximum 700mm depth limit, traversed boulders and muddy tracks and tipped sideways at crazy angles whereby passengers had to hang on for dear life. We dropped down steep hills with the hill descent system controlling our speed and then climbed absurdly steep inclines where we put the brakes on halfway up - after a couple of seconds, the hill start assist system kicked in and we moved off without a hint of hesitation.
Mitsubishi claims its rivals will be the likes of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, but while those two models are better to drive on road they fall woefully short of the Shogun Sport’s off-road capabilities.
Another competitor is the Toyota Land Cruiser, which is equally able on rougher terrain but is more expensive than the Shogun Sport with entry-level models topping the £40k mark.
So it really depends what the customer’s priorities are – performance, off-road ability, price, image etc.
And it’s not that the Mitsubishi is bad on the road, it just feels quite bulky at times. The eight-speed gearbox is smooth enough, but if you’re looking for dynamic handling then the steering wheel-mounted paddles will be the best option.
In busy town centres you will need a parking space the size of a small bungalow to accommodate the Shogun Sport, but the reversing camera and parking sensors do simplify matters considerably – alternatively find a field to park in because you won’t get bogged down!
A vehicle powered by a gritty 2.4-litre diesel engine and boasting the shapely dimensions of the Shogun Sport should not, in theory, be that refined. But at times it is. Admittedly, when pulling away from a standstill the engine seems a little grumbly, but when you settle into a nice comfortable speed of about 60mph you can barely hear it at all. The road surface and wind noise only really become apparent when pushed along on dual carriageways or motorways at national speed limits.
The interior of the Shogun Sport is well laid out and there’s all-leather upholstery, lots of soft-touch surfaces, piano black finishes with contrasting silver trim and practical wipe-clean areas. Mitsubishi seems to have struck a good balance with a modern appearance that’s rich with on-board technology, but it feels like it won’t be afraid of a little mud and grime when necessary. It’s not flashy, but it’s not drab either.
You do feel quite invincible on board the Shogun Sport and all but the most severe potholes and road undulations are ironed out rather nicely by the car’s effective suspension system.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The driver benefits from great all-round visibility sitting high up in the Shogun Sport and there is plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment to easily get comfy. All the controls, dials and readouts are ideally positioned for ease of use, but there is one thing that takes a little getting used to. As the Shogun Sport is based on the Australian model, the indicator and wiper stalks are reversed compared to most UK cars.
The Shogun Sport 3, priced from £37,775, features the likes of a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a reversing camera with rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, dual zone climate control, privacy glass and electrically-adjustable front seats.
Our Shogun Sport 4 test car, costing £39,775, included the addition of heated front seats, an upgraded sound system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, forward collision mitigation, a 360-degree camera, headlamp washers and a few extra features which is quite a lot of kit for just £2,000 more.
The only two downsides are the lack of any sat nav system unless you bring your own outside source such as a smartphone and the touchscreen is almost impossible to see when the sunlight is particularly bright.
Space & Practicality
There are seven-seaters out there whereby the rear two seats are almost a token gesture and a place only your worst enemies would be asked to sit. Then there are the seven-seaters that can actually accommodate children or adults – and the Shogun Sport falls nicely into the latter category. The pair of rear seats can be raised or dropped in just seconds and the fold down and tumble forward second row seats make access all the easier. Unlike some manufacturers though, there is no push-button electrically-folding option.
Space within the car is good for all occupants and even that pair of rear seats are fairly comfortable. Children would be quite happy sitting there or adults for a shorter journey.
The storage capacity within the Shogun Sport depends very much on the seating configuration. With all seven seats occupied, the limit is just 131 litres. Drop the rear two seats and the capacity increases to 502 litres and with rows two and three folded flat the limit is an impressive 1,488 litres.
Elsewhere there are numerous convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including deep door pockets, cup holders for all occupants including those in the third row, compartments under the boot floor, sunglasses holder, a glovebox, central bin and some handy trays.
Many Shogun Sport customers will be looking to pull a caravan or horsebox so will be impressed with the 3.1 tonnes towing capacity.
Mitsubishi has rather cleverly ensured that both trim levels are priced below the £40k luxury car tax limit with the Shogun Sport 3 costing £37,775 and the Shogun Sport 4 priced at £39,775.
Our test car could deliver a combined 32.8mpg although we were seeing around the 27.0mpg mark after our test run. But the high carbon emissions figure of 227g/km will result in a first year Vehicle Tax Duty charge of £1,700 reducing to £140 each following year.
The insurance group rating for the car is 43 for Shogun Sport 3 and 38 for Shogun Sport 4 which boasts extra safety kit.
Quality & Reliability
The fact that more than 12,000 of the original 18,500 Shogun Sports sold in the UK between 2000 and 2007 are still running on our roads today is the perfect testament to Mitsubishi’s reliability and build quality. And when you take into consideration that many of that total would be working vehicles so not pampered, then the achievement is even more impressive.
So, there is little need to worry about the Shogun Sport’s durability. The interior of the latest model is not as flashy as some of its competitors but is designed to survive the test of time with lots of wipe clean surfaces and hard-wearing materials.
The seats, whilst being leather, feel solid in their make-up and all the switchgear looks like it will last a lifetime.
The Mitsubishi Shogun Sport is sold with a five year, 62,500-mile warranty.
Safety & Security
Although it’s not certain whether or not the Shogun Sport will be tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating, it is packed with kit to protect occupants and pedestrians alike. It features the company’s energy absorbing and strengthened frame, seven airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, active stability and traction control, hill start assist and hill descent control.
In addition, there is forward collision mitigation which will deliver warnings if there is risk of a collision with the vehicle in front and, if necessary, start braking. There is blind spot warning, a 360-degree camera and a system that prevents the vehicle driving or reversing into obstacles when the driver accidently presses the accelerator when stationary or at speeds up to 6mph.
Then there is Mitsubishi’s Super Select II 4WD system with off-road terrain control system and rear differential lock. This introduces the option of 2WD, 4WD, 4WD with a locking differential and 4WD lock for coping with more rugged terrain. Off-road settings are gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock and once again these are simple to operate
The Shogun Sport can wade through water up to 700mm deep, can lean sideways up to 45 degrees, has an approach angle of 30 degrees, departure angle of 24.2 degrees and ground clearance of 218mm.