Mitsubishi returns to the tough and practical SUV arena
- Promises proper off-road capability
- Based on the go-anywhere L200 pickup
- Expect a roomy cabin for seven people
- High levels of standard kit
- Single diesel engine the sole power option
- On-road performance likely to be compromised
Those who lament that contemporary crossovers aren’t really designed for rugged off-roading could be swayed by this, the Mitsubishi Shogun Sport. It’s set to be the fourth SUV in the Japanese brand’s range.
That Sport suffix has been used before to indicate a model one rung below the gargantuan Shogun SUV in Mitsubishi’s line-up.
Arriving in showrooms in spring 2018, the newcomer is the same basic formula as its namesake that disappeared from price lists back in 2007: take the go-anywhere capability of the L200 pick-up and wrap it in more conventional SUV bodywork.
Direct rivals are few and far between given it’s a market segment that other brands have deserted, but the Toyota Land Cruiser is closest, while the Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes-Benz GLE are significantly pricier.
You’re certainly not going to miss it in a car park
There’s no doubting the Shogun Sport is distinctive, but this big bruiser of a 4x4 could hardly be described as beautiful.
Up front is a glitzy chrome-look interpretation of Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield grille-and-headlamp-combination, but it’s the side profile that confirms this is a car designed for tough terrain: just look at the space in the wheelarches to allow the suspension to cope with undulating surfaces.
At the rear are distinctive vertical-design tail lights that reach down to bumper level; there's no mistaking the Shogun Sport for anything else from any angle.
Because the rear-end bodywork has to cover the area where the L200’s loadbay would be, there appears to be ample space back there for the third row of seats. When those are folded forwards the boot space is likely to be impressively large in five-seater mode, although Mitsubishi is yet to publish dimensions.
Will there be a Shogun Sport plug-in hybrid?
Given that the Shogun Sport is designed for greater off-road capability than the smaller Outlander, it’s unlikely that the engine range will be expanded to include a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) during this model’s life cycle.
In fact, only one engine has been announced from launch: a 2.4-litre diesel producing 180hp and a healthy 430Nm of torque from 2,500rpm. No performance or efficiency figures have yet been quoted, but given the Mitsubishi is likely to be quite a heavy SUV, don’t expect it to be especially brisk or economical.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with the Shogun Sport’s off-roading agility boosted by hill-descent control, trailer start assist and a variety of driving modes for different surfaces and conditions.
Again, no official figures have been released to confirm it, but it’s likely that the Shogun Sport will have a maximum towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes for braked trailers.
High levels of standard equipment
Mitsubishi’s familiar numerical trim level hierarchy has been employed for the two high-specification versions available from launch - the Shogun Sport 3 and 4. That leaves potential room at either end of the range should there be sufficient demand for a more luxurious 5 or a workmanlike 2..
The Shogun Sport 3 is set to come with keyless entry and starting, LED day-running lights, leather upholstery and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay as standard.
Plump for the range-topping Shogun Sport 4 if you’d also like a 360-degree camera system, blind-spot warning, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and heated front seats.
Early drives of European-spec models are set for early 2018, with prices confirmed around the same time.
Parkers will be among the first to test this tough new 4x4 so check back with us then for the full Mitsubishi Shogun Sport SUV review