September 17, 2019

Shogun Sport delivers the rough with the smooth

Mitsubishi’s high specced commercial variant is a capable workhorse, says Dan Gilkes.

Mitsubishi has been building all-wheel drive commercial vehicles for many years, from the L200 pick-up through to van versions of its SUVs. For a long time that included LCV variants of Shogun, in both short and long wheelbase forms.

However, the trusty Shogun is no longer available in the UK, replaced last year by the Shogun Sport, which is now also offered in van form. The company also markets the smaller Outlander Commercial, with both diesel and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivelines.

As an SUV, Shogun Sport is offered with a single wheelbase, but two well-equipped trim levels, what Mitsubishi calls Sport 3 and Sport 4. The firm decided to base the commercial on the higher specification Sport 4 car, as the majority of Shogun Commercials were higher trim Barbarian models, rather than the back to basics 4Life utility specification.

This means that the van comes with heated leather seats, climate control, 18-inch alloys, Forward Collision Mitigation, Blind Spot Warning and Trailer Stability Assist. You also get a DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow the driver to use their own navigation apps on the 7-inch touchscreen. The screen also acts as a monitor for the standard 360° camera system and reversing camera, which is paired with front and rear parking sensors.

Under the bonnet, the Shogun Sport is powered by the 2.4-litre diesel engine familiar to drivers of the Series 5 L200 pick-up. This delivers a healthy 181hp and 430Nm of torque.

Unlike the L200, where six-speed manual and auto transmissions are offered, an eight-speed automatic is standard on the Shogun Sport. It works really well, offering smooth up and down changes and keeping the engine in its most economical rpm range where possible. This helps the truck to return a reasonable 32.8mpg, along with 227g/km of CO2, but also makes for very relaxed cruising and longer distance travel.

At the working end, the rear seats have been removed and the rear side windows blacked out. A flat load area has been installed, to provide almost 1.5m3 of load volume. There are also useful hidden storage areas under the front of the load platform, in what would have been the rear seat footwells.

The 605kg payload is perhaps less than you might expect for such a large vehicle, though few will use the 4×4 for major load-lugging duties. That said, the 3.1-tonne towing capacity does fall behind the 3.5-tonnes of many pickups and is less than the old Shogun could manage.

For those who really need off-road ability, the truck has Mitsubishi’s Super Select SS4-II four-wheel drive system, incorporating Hill Descent, an Off-Road Mode and a rear differential lock. That’s enough to ensure that the Shogun Sport will get across construction sites or farm fields. It also allows the 4×4 to operate in all-wheel drive in normal use, for when the roads get slippery.

The 4×4 van market is fairly small, split between SUV-based models like the Shogun Sport and heavy-duty all-wheel drive LCVs such as Iveco’s Daily and the Mercedes Sprinter. The car-derived models also face stiff competition from increasingly upmarket pick-ups, such as Mitsubishi’s own L200.

Direct competitors include Toyota’s Land Cruiser Commercial and Land Rover’s Discovery Commercial, plus of course Mitsubishi’s own Outlander models. Which means that there is definitely space for the Shogun Sport Commercial to compete.