Test drive: 2012 Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG4 Auto

Test drive: 2012 Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG4 Auto

The TotallyMotor Verdict


We’ve recently enjoyed plenty of chunky Mitsubishi truck here on TotallyMotor, with the famously mud-plugging Japanese brand representing with their slick SUV Outlander 2.2-litre DI-D GX4 4WD and the big-bad-truck L200 Barbarian 2.5-litre DI-D. And now it’s time for the big daddy of them all; the ruggedly handsome, new-for-2012 Mitsubishi Shogun long-wheelbase, to take centre stage.

This evolution of the Shogun has been with us since 2006, and for 2012 we’re getting some refreshing inside and out and some tweaking to the same 3.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, trimming emissions to meet the latest Euro V regulations.

You’ll be paying £40,999 OTR for this biggest and highest specification Shogun, with an extra £540 for the Graphite Brown metallic paint you see here shinning in the December sunshine. There have been some badging revisions too and this is the top of the trim-tree, SG4. It gets all the toys and real-deal four-wheel drive. This LWB Shogun is certainly a lot of truck for the cash, so let’s see how she rolls on those big ‘n’ tasty 20-inch alloys.

Test drive: 2012 Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 DI-DC SG4

First impressions:
We’ve struck lucky today as our TotallyMotor shoot falls happily on a bright, clear and sunny winter’s morning, giving the perfect bright light need to naturally ignite that Graphite Brown metallic paintwork.

The Shogun’s familiar chunky and not unattractive shape remains from the out-going model but modern new (and very bright) headlights and a chromed-out new front grille “bling” the big Mitsi up to date; matching the metallic paint for serious shine. 

The new, 6-spoke 20-inch alloys add a touch of extra class – at the same time shaving off a touch of the truck’s famous rugged utility – and with the pleasant paint and classic LWB bodylines, we’ve got a handsome SUV. I've personally always had a soft spot for Shoguns, especially in stocky short-wheel-base form, but I think our TotallyMotor test images prove that the 2012 model takes a pretty picture. 

Into the interior:
The Shogun refresh brings some new materials to the interior, but some of them are still behind the premium-pack, mainly from a plastics point of view. The cream leather is soft enough although the seating designs perhaps lack creativity, and the “wood” dash-inserts don’t really cut the mustard these days. It’s all solidly put together, however, with minimal gaps and plenty of tech in this top-end car. The light-coloured plastic door cards could pick up careless shoe-scuffs all too easily. 

My usual Mitsubishi gripe is a lack of steering wheel slide and I was surprised to see that a “2012” model again featured only tilt adjustment to the wheel. It’s less important in the Shogun as you sit upright and quite close to the wheel, but with a comfy electrically-heated and adjusting driver’s seat, the perfect seating position could’ve been just an inch or two away with that extra column adjustment. 

But, all in all, this range-topping SG4 Shogun gets plenty of kit, especially when you consider the £40k pricetag. An SUV with this much kit and real four-wheel drive transmission would be a fair few quid more from another manufacturer.

Big, all-electric sunroof, full leather, a generous second row of three cow-skin-trimmed seats, and two more occasional seats that easily flip out of the large boot floor. A 12-speaker, 860watt Rockford Fosgate MP3 and hard drive stereo with colour touchscreen, rear-view camera, rear DVD screens, and sat-nav. The stereo is pretty powerful and sounds pretty good, but it’s beaten by the deep and rich audio-joy that filled the Mitsubishi Outlander we recently sampled. 

Light, large and airy, best describes the Shogun’s interior space, and I always looked forward to climbing into its commanding driver’s seat for an easy-going cruise to my next destination. 

The drive:
So the 3.2-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel engine remains from the 2006 incarnation of the Shogun, but internal smoothing and a less demanding new alternator help trim emissions to a Euro V compliant level of 213g/km; down from 246g/km. This automatically-shifting LWB SUV now manages a quoted combined economy of 33.2mpg. Power is also improved. 

This is about as large a capacity 4-cylinder engine as you’ll find, and backed up by the turbo, these big pistons deliver big, 325lb ft of torque. Enough to get a good surge to the acceleration – after an initial slight lag to turbo power delivery and auto ‘box drive-uptake. This serious slab of Shogun will tow up to 3,500kg-worth of braked trailer. And that’s one big speedboat.

Pure horsepower is mostly irrelevant when it’s all about the grunty hauling, but this Shogun’s 197bhp dispatches 62mph in 11.1secs, on to a top speed of 111mph. At full throttle she feels quick enough for satisfaction around town and motorway – if a little raucous from under the hood – and the smooth auto ‘box does a great job of keeping the forward march on the move. During our week-long test drive the in-dash mpg-meter read between late-teens and late-twenties, and even into the early-thirties during controlled motorway cruising. 

The ride is firm and keeps this tall SUV surprising flat and composed around quite tight and fast bends, but the payback is noticable bodyshell-shuddering over potholes. The steering takes its time to get from lock to lock, but it’s not fair to compare Shogun’s chunkier steering inputs to a sharper-nosed passenger car. Too quick steering and tall-weight transfer don’t really mix. 

Shogun’s brakes certainly deserve praise with 4-pot callipers up front, clamping 332mm discs, which stop the chunky truck with the right amount of initial bite, pedal progression and feel. Mix the solid brakes with the firm suspension and you’ve got a big SUV that feels in control of its not insignificant mass, and that’s an important feeling. 

This control is also important for the precise craft of off-roading – if indeed this well-dressed SUV makes it into the mud – and Shogun is engineered for the rough stuff. Real-deal high and low four-wheel drive gearing, plenty of differentials and tested lean and climb angles all come together to deal with serious dirt. A sprinkle of snow simply wouldn't worry it at all.

Ten second sum up:
The revised Mitsubishi Shogun continues its tough ‘n’ ready character into 2012, and some exterior modernisation mostly masks the model’s quite lengthy timeline. The engine is now leaner, although also showing its age, but factor in the generous spec and go anywhere attitude, and the big ‘n’ bold Shogun gives you much metal, leather, gizmos and motor, for your money. 

Prices and availability:
The Mitsubishi Shogun range starts at £29,499 for the SG2 short-wheelbase, 3-door model, rising to £40,999 for the SG4 long-wheelbase, 5-door model, as tested here. Price as tested, £40,999, plus £540 for metallic paint. Available now. 


Words & pics: Daniel Anslow

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