By Robin Roberts (and Miles Better News Agency).
A new Mitsubishi Shogun Sport will be launched into the booming SUV sector next spring but the only European country to get it will be the UK.
Why only the UK? Because the Shogun Sport, also known as Pajero Sport, is built in Thailand as a right hand drive vehicle and it is built on the same production lines as Mitsubishi’s award winning L200 Double Cab pick-up models.
The new Shogun Sport five-door, seven-seat SUV is based on the ‘separate chassis’ platform of the L200 Double Cab pick-up, but uses coil rear suspension for ride comfort, rather than the pick-up’s leaf spring system.
Most other drivetrain aspects of the L200 are carried over into the Shogun Sport including the 2.4 litre, DI-D four-cylinder turbodiesel 181 hp, 430 Nm (317 lb.ft) of torque engine, but now matched as standard with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. The transmission includes a high/low ratio transfer box so the driver can select 2WD High and 4WD High for road use and 4WD Low and 4WD Low Locked modes for serious off-road driving conditions.
The new car is being sold in Australasia and particularly in Australia and it will slot into the UK’s Mitsubishi range between the iconic heavyweight Shogun 4×4 and Outlander SUVs.
“We identified a gap in our range for customers who need a serious car for towing and off-road use and who want a modern SUV, particularly among those living in the countryside”, said Mitsubishi Motors UK general manager of press and public relations, Conor Twomey.
“We saw this model on sale in Australia and because that is also a right hand drive market it was a no-brainer for us to bring it to the UK.”
This is the second generation Shogun Sport to be sold in the UK. The original models were built in Japan from 1996 until 2008.
Yesterday the Shogun Sport was exclusively revealed to members of the Western Group of Motoring Writers who were attending their Annual General Meeting – being hosted by Mitsubishi at the UK headquarters in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
The new Shogun Sport will tow over three tonnes, but it still has to be evaluated for UK legislation and assessed for insurance group purposes and emissions tests. Currently the ‘sample’ vehicle is undergoing the UK’s SVA (Single Vehicle Type Approval) tests rather than the current EU testing programme as it will only be sold in Europe in the UK market.
No prices have been given but diesel versions of Outlander are pitched from the mid-£20,000 mark, with Shogun models costing about £10,000 more, so expect some crossover of list prices when announced.
It will be the second new SUV from Mitsubishi in the first quarter of 2018 as its Eclipse Cross series is due in February priced from £21,275, and that is aimed to join the range positioned alongside the ASX and below the Outlander SUVs.
In recent months, Mitsubishi has declared it wants to become an SUV specialist but using its PHEV technology as well as its serious off-road capabilities.
Mr Twomey said that despite the Renault-Nissan recent acquisition of Mitsubishi Motors the company would make no changes to its immediate model plans, but gradually share group platforms from the medium term onwards, and in six years time it planned to introduce a new car every year.