Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin

Mitsubishi Pinin


Vital Statistics


Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin 2.0 GDI Elegance five-door


1,999 cc 4-cylinder, 16 valve


127 bhp


five-speed manual

Fuel consumption

29.7mpg (combined cycle)


0-62mph: 10.8sec, 106mph 


At just about the same length and width as a Nissan Micra the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin is a pocket-sized 4x4 that is ideal for the urban jungle. It has all the looks of a bigger 4x4 and most of the abilities, and if you are worried about killing the planet its diminutive dimensions may suit your conscience. Introduced to the UK in December 1999 the “shrunken Shogun” was initially available with just one engine option, a
1.8 litre petrol producing 118bhp. In addition to endowing the Pinin with a decent turn of speed it also has the distinction of being the world’s first production engine to use Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) technology.

Mitsubishi developed the system and claims that by mixing the fuel and air inside the engine rather than before it enters it can produce more power, better economy and improved torque. Within 12 months the engine range was revised, the 1.8 litre reverting to multi-point fuel injection while a new 2 litre GDI was introduced that produces 127bhp. Despite the extra size and power the 2 litre engine achieves the same fuel economy as the 1.8 litre, underlining Mitsubishi’s claims for the technology.

In normal road use the Pinin is rear-wheel drive, reducing noise and improving fuel economy compared with 4WD. Flick a switch and it transforms into all-wheel drive. A central viscous differential diverts the power to the wheels with the most grip and, combined with a high and low-ratio box, makes the Pinin’s 1,500kg towing capacity a useful asset. The dimensions of the load it is towing may dwarf the Pinin but it is unlikely to be intimidated.

Road behaviour is on the fun side of sporty, provided you go for a three-door model, but step up to a five-door and the extra foot of length gives the car a slightly wallowy feeling. The steering feels less precise and the car becomes more unsettled through bends — nothing like as bad as you would find on a big old 4x4 but enough to rein in some of your driving enthusiasm.

On the inside the Pinin is small but perfectly formed. The large, clear dials and simple dash layout is hardly cutting edge but carries all the information you need. Being a 4x4 and having a nice tall body means that headroom in the front and rear is good but the rear seat is really only comfortable for two children. You’ll also need to be careful if you intend carrying much in the way of luggage. The five-door may have a reasonable 358 litre boot but the three-door makes do with just

166 litres and that is considerably less than that Nissan Micra I mentioned earlier.

In terms of reliability, the Pinin has produced few horror stories.

The engines generally run sweetly, the gearboxes are robust and the 4x4 system, thanks partly to its infrequent use, seems close to bulletproof. Once out of warranty it’s a car that can easily be serviced by a non-franchised dealer.

The Pinin is as close as you can get to driving a 4x4 supermini. If your lifestyle means that you need to nip into tight parking spaces, drive over mountains and tow the occasional trailer then the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin might just be your perfect choice.


Check the following
  • Steering: Five-speed manual standard with four-speed auto an option on both 1.8 and 2 litre models
  • Safety: Reasonable three stars in Euro NCAP test in 2000
  • Dashboard: Annoying GDI amber light flashes on when car is performing in economy mode
  • Air-conditioning: Standard on Classic, Equippe and Elegance models since December 2001
  • Servicing: Required every 9,000 miles or 12 months, whichever is sooner
  • Tyres: Check inner rim of front tyres for signs of wear
  • Boot: More like a large glove box than a real boot if you buy the 3dr Pinin
  • Navigation system: Optional navigation system found few takers and now adds no more than £250 to the value of a used Pinin
  • Rear door: Beware of the tailgate blowing shut, as there is no mechanism to lock it open
  • Wheels: Base models get steel rims but cars with alloys look better
  • Rear seat: A cramped affair, best suited to children
  • Warranty: Ideally find a car which has some of the original three-year unlimited mileage warranty remaining
The one to buy
  • 2002 02-reg model with 40,000 miles
    Pay £7,295 from a Mitsubishi dealer or £6,495 privately

Values: Model Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin 2.0 GDI Elegance five-door



20,000 miles

40,000 miles

2002 ‘02’               Trade








2003 '03'                Trade








2004 ‘04’               Trade








Autos fetch about £400 more than equivalent manual. Source: estimates based on confidential CAP black book prices. ‘Trade’ is what a dealer would pay to buy your car; ‘Retail’ is what you would pay a dealer

5 Alternatives for similar money


Toyota RAV4 2.0 NV 5dr


2000 'W'

Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.0 5dr 


2002 '51'

Land Rover Freelander 1.8 XEi 5dr


1999 'V'

Nissan Terrano 2.4 S 5dr 


2001 '51'

Honda CRV 2.0 ES Executive 5dr 

2000 'X'

Figures based on CAP September 2005 edition

used car reviews

 © Jason Dawe Productions Limited December 2005