Mitsubishi Shogun Barbarian SWB review

Incredibly capable 4x4

September 2016

picture of car from the front picture of car from the rear picture of car interior picture of car detail

Overall rating

3 out of 5 stars


  • Incredibly capable 4x4
  • Looks the part
  • More civilised than Defender
  • Top-spec cars get lots of kit


  • Not a pleasant car to drive on the road
  • Massive diesel engine is thirsty
  • Cabin plastics aren't great
  • Off-the-shelf infotainment system is clunky
With the Land Rover Defender now dead in the water, the race to become the next 4x4 for enthusiasts is on, and Mitsubishi wants a slice of the action. Like the Defender, the Shogun is a cult hero that has seen sparing updates over the past 10 or 15 years, and like the Defender, it's a seriously capable off-roader.

The basic Shogun shape has been left relatively unaltered since the mid-2000s, but various facelifts over the intervening years have kept it more or less up to speed. It has a rugged, boxy shape, which more lavishly equipped models lift with a smattering of shiny brightwork here and there.

Inside, it's still quite utilitarian, although the upper reaches of the range provide goodies like leather seats, satellite navigation and climate control. After all, Mitsubishi knows that the 4x4 market wants something a little more luxurious than a totally stripped out off-road vehicle.

But for all that, the Shogun is still incredibly capable. There's 21cm of ground clearance under the axles, and it'll wade through 70cm of water - more than the Defender could cope with without a snorkel. The three-door version has impressive approach, departure and ramp breakover angles, too, thanks to its short wheelbase, and this can be improved by fitting smaller wheels and larger tyres.

Power comes from the world's largest four-cylinder diesel engine - a 3.2-litre unit with 187bhp. It feeds the power to the rear wheels (four-wheel-drive is selected by the driver when the going gets tough) via a five-speed automatic to provide a creditable 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds. It isn't fast, but it isn't bad for such a big, heavy car.
Our verdict on the Mitsubishi Shogun Barbarian SWB
Even in its most expensive, well-equipped guise, the Shogun is no luxury SUV, but it's an absolutely brilliant 4x4. Many SUVs will beat it in terms of economy, emissions, performance and handling, but few can match its off-road capability. It's more civilised than the Defender ever was, too, and it has almost as much character.