Shogun is a true thoroughbred
EVEN today, with fierce competition in every market sector, only a handful of names come with the sort of pedigree, competence and all round ability necessary to earn genuine respect in the big-league off-roaders club.
In among the Land Rovers, Land Cruisers and Cherokees, the long wheelbase Mitsubishi Shogun is just such a car, featuring a proper low range gearset, serious ground clearance at 220mm, and competitive braked towing capacity of 3,500kg – plus 700mm wading depth for good measure.
With six or eight cylinder engines increasingly the norm in this company, the Shogun stays faithful to a four cylinder, 3.2-litre turbodiesel engine, which nonetheless offers a useful 197 horsepower.
It drives through a smooth shifting five-speed automatic gearbox, with two- or four-wheel drive manually selectable, and a locking centre differential available for the toughest terrain.
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CO2 emissions have lately improved to 224 g/km, with Government combined economy at 33mpg. The trip computer ranged between 25 and 27mpg during my test, though cruising runs came close to 30mpg -– good going for a big, auto-transmission vehicle of this type.
Though there's perhaps a slight question mark over engine refinement at low speeds and when pressed, the Shogun is an amiable and surprisingly easy going companion, with comfortably rounded suspension, and very adequate cornering grip.
Big wheels encountering big potholes do result in noticeable bumps and thumps, and though the steering has helpful feel, it seems rather low-geared on-road – albeit near-ideal off it.
Overall progress is quite fuss free, and outright performance – though hardly rapid – is entirely adequate, helped along by a gearbox which willingly drops ratios to make progress.
Off-road the low range gearset is easily selected, maximising solid pull from low engine revs.
In five-door configuration this is a spacious and comfortable five-seater with plenty of passenger space, and a vast glass area giving great visibility.
Two extra seats fold easily out of the load area floor, and even with seven aboard 215 litres of load space remains, rising to 1,790 litres as a two seater. General interior treatment is efficient, tasteful and businesslike, with high quality materials and thoughtful detailing.
SG3 trim is mid range – but you would hardly guess from the lengthy equipment list: highlights include an advanced safety specification, xenon headlights, full leather trim with heated, electrically adjusted front seats, plus climate and cruise controls and satellite navigation.
A compass, altimeter and barometer are included, along with an 860 Watt premium audio system, electric windows and mirrors, alloy wheels and plenty more.
Though big league off-roaders are rather less numerous today, the latest Mitsubishi Shogun upholds its forebears' reputation.
Engine refinement might be starting to lag behind the times, but the Shogun still feels thoroughly at home on or off the tarmac, with serious towing ability and world class off-road competence.
Times may be changing, but as a seriously competent all-rounder the Shogun offers plenty of well-heeled car for your money.