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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Looks the part, and is capable off-road

Against On-road ability is poor

Verdict It's a great off-roader, but too poor on-road

Go for… 1.8 MPi Equippe 3dr

Avoid… 2.0 GDi Elegance 5dr

Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin 4x4
  • 1. It's best to buy as young a car as possible, because the later models had more standard equipment
  • 2. In the three-door model, legroom and boot space are poor, and the front seats are short of support
  • 3. One of the most major things you should look out for on these models is rust
  • 4. If the car has been used for towing, the wheel bearings, suspension and transmission can suffer
  • 5. Mitsubishi repair costs are high - more than those for other 4x4 makers, including Land Rover and Jeep
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Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin 4x4 full review with expert trade views

The Pinin is remarkable in many ways. First, it's a small 4x4, so it has very few direct rivals; second, it has genuine off-road ability, and deserves its membership of the Shogun family, all talented off-roaders.

The trouble is that, for both of those reasons, there's little to recommend about the car, unless you particularly like its style. It's crude on-road, with a choppy ride, too much body roll in bends, poor refinement and steering that's slow and devoid of feel. If you plan to spend most of your time on Tarmac, you'll be much better off with a Toyota RAV4.

On top of that, the Pinin's small size also means it's cramped. In the three-door model, in particular, legroom and boot space are poor, but the front seats are short of support, too. The longer five-door has a little more practicality.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Too expensive new so used choice is poor. 1.8NPi best engine

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Neither the three- nor the five-door model is particularly practical, so you might as well save your money and choose the smaller and cheaper three-door.

The three-door has also been around for longer, with the five-door only arriving in January 2001, almost a year after the smaller model. For almost the range's entire life, each body had just one engine: a 1.8-litre in the three-door and a 2.0-litre in the five-door. You could buy a 2.0-litre three-door and 1.8 five-door for a while in 2003, but the range soon reverted to its original line-up.

In terms of trim, it's best to buy as young a car as possible, as the car's standard equipment improved during its life. On early three-door cars, for instance, only the top-specification model had alloy wheels and air-con. These became standard across the range from late 2004 – aim for a late Equippe model.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Patchy demand, more buyers want five doors and 1.8 MPI engine

James Ruppert
Used car guru

It's generally cheap to buy, and certainly less than rivals like the Honda HR-V or Toyota RAV4.

Its fuel economy - 30mpg in three- and five-door models - also compares pretty well to 4x4s, although a similarly sized hatch will be more frugal. However, there is no diesel version to keep fuel costs even lower.

Insurance - with models in group 10 or 11 - looks expensive when an HR-V is only in group 8 or 9. However, it looks better against the RAV4 and Suzuki Grand Vitara, and routine servicing costs are also on a par with its rivals'.

The one potential headache is unscheduled maintenance: Warranty Direct says dealer labour rates are only a little higher than average, but the average cost for repairs is very high - higher than those for other 4x4 makers, including Land Rover and Jeep.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Too expensive new so used choice is poor. 1.8NPi best engine

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Mitsubishi 4x4s have a reputation for being tough. However, the Pinin is not as solid as its larger brothers.

Warranty Direct tells us that there is much to worry about, particularly on older cars. Watch out for rust on these models, and expect big bills once the car has done over 50,000 miles. If the car has been used for towing, the wheel bearings, suspension and transmission can suffer.

Only one recall has affected the car, and it concerned just under 1500 cars built before the end of 2000. There was a possibility of a fault in the electrics, which could lead to the engine failing to start or stopping while the car was driving.

The few owners who have posted reviews online have been pretty positive, suggesting that, as long as the car is well looked after, it can prove as reliable as other Mitsubishis.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Patchy demand, more buyers want five doors and 1.8 MPI engine

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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