By Wayne Gorrett
The stalwart Mitsubishi remains an extraordinary capable off-roader
and family carrier, but the grand old Duke is showing its age
in several competitively critical areas.
* Comfortable throughout * Tough diesel engine *
* Decent passenger and luggage space * Reliable and unstoppable as ever *
* Disengaging road dynamics * Engine, wind and tyre noise *
* Hard, cheap-looking interior plastics *
☀ ☀ ☀
It’s probably best to be honest at the outset. With its grab-handled, step-up entrance to the cockpit, the Mitsubishi Shogun is my kind of car – big, bold, in-yer-face – a guilty pleasure, if you like. But I need to be objective.
Back when family-pack off-roaders were simply called to as ‘big 4x4s’ or ‘bubble-cruisers’ and long before SUVs were even a glint in the market’s eye, the Shogun enjoyed a significant slice of the 4×4 pie. There wasn’t a lot of choice at the time, with Shoguns, Patrols and Land Cruisers being sensible alternatives for those seeking hardy, rugged, comfortable family-shifters without the higher price tag of the all-conquering Range Rover.
But times changed. Environmental and financial considerations altered the shape of the 4×4 market to the point where large, thirsty, ozone-depleting 4x4s have been pushed to the fringe, to be replaced by the ubiquitous SUV – or worse, the ‘crossover’.
Three decades on from its launch at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1981, the Shogun still has its place but is now firmly a niche product, more suited to ‘Rural UK plc’ than urban locales. It received a multitude of upgrades in 2006, before the latest changes were introduced last year. Because of that, we thought we’d check out how the LWB, seven-seat version now fares.
The Shogun displays an imposing, chunky and almost regal ruggedness in design. The spare wheel is mounted on the swing-door tailgate where it should be and there are plastic mouldings around the bottom of the car to complete its visual appeal. Thirty years of clinically-engineered, off-road pedigree back up said appeal with four driving modes – rear wheel drive, full time four-wheel drive, four-wheel with a locking centre diff and low-range gearing for more challenging off-road use.
Mitsubishi’s upgrades introduced to the Shogun last year include slight styling tweaks and little else on first glance. However, the main improvement is under the bonnet with a EuroV-compliant oil-burner.
The Shogun’s 3.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel delivers 197bhp and 441Nm of torque. While still quite chatty, the diesel is more refined than its predecessor and emissions have been cut to 224g/km. While performance is reasonable – considering its curb weight of over 3 tonnes – 62mph comes up in 10.5 seconds. Still, more efficient six- or eight-cylinder power plants would be more suited to the Shogun.
On the road, it feels a tad more composed than previous and its straight-line ride is actually quite good, considering its height and weight. Less roll and float are noticeable but feels a little unsettled over road lumps and surface changes. On a more positive note, its 4×4 credentials form the foundation of its reputation – and it can tow 3500kg, a figure of which very few of its latter-day classmates can boast.
As expected in a car with such longevity, the cabin feels built to last, is very comfortable and a relaxing environment I which to spend some (considerable) time. However, it does show its age in places – the 70s calculator-like display above the infotainment unit and heater/cooling controls being two immediately noticeable things. Equipment levels are very good with the tested SG4 version receiving cruise and climate control, heated and leather seats, satnav and sunroof.
With fuel economy of around 27mpg, the Shogun is a thirsty car, but CO2 emissions are – all things considered – reasonable at 224g/km for the five-door automatic, as tested.
Fast Facts ☀ Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG4 AT
Recommended retail price of model tested ☀ £41,800.
Shogun LWB price range ☀ From £32,780 to £41,800.
Power and Torque ☀ 197bhp @ 3,800rpm / 441Nm @ 2,000rpm.
Acceleration ☀ 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds.
Top speed ☀ 111mph.
Load capacity to window line ☀ 663 litres. With row 2 down: 1,790 litres.
Fuel tank ☀ 88 litres (19 gallons).
Average fuel economy (combined) ☀ Official 33.2mpg / Tested (459 miles): 27.3mpg (82%).
Full tank range ☀ Official 631 miles, as tested 518 miles.
CO2 Emissions ☀ Class Euro V: 224g/km
VED Band ☀ ‘K’ / Current cost £600 first year, £270 thereafter.
BIK (benefit-in-kind) company car tax rate ☀ 35% current, 37% 2015-16.
Euro NCAP rating ☀ No results found.
Insurance group model tested ☀ 15.
Warranty ☀ 3 years, unlimited miles. 12yr anti-corrosion. 3-year EU breakdown & recovery.
Land Rover Discovery and Mazda CX-5.
Rugged and dependable, the Mitsubishi Shogun remains a worthy choice for those seeking a tough 4×4 with everyday usability. Just avoid spending too much on top-end spec.