SHOGUN IS SO GOOD
MITSUBISHI’S Shogun deserves to be called the “come back kid”. Sorry about the cheap cliché but I had really thought the game was up with the old-timer 4x4 from Japan.
With its fin de siècle chunky styling and that monster spare wheel hanging on a side-hinged rear door, it really looked like an also-ran against modernised contemporaries, epitomised by the Land Rover Discovery.
Aiming at the in-town set, the big all-roaders now hide their spare wheel inside or underneath. Bodies have been rounded at the edges. Emasculation is too strong a word but they have been calmed down.
The on-board spare means that the tailgate door is lighter and no longer needs to swing sideways, and the upper glazed section can be allowed to open independent of the bottom section.
The 1990s’ butch nature of the Shogun (one of the famous names in longdistance desert racing) belies some surprising news about this year’s version.
The mechanical efficiency has been re-jigged so well that it has best-in-class CO2 emissions of any large 4x4, including some soft-roaders like the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7. That’s a shock? Then remember that this means better fuel consumption, equal best-in-class towing capacity. In fact, it makes way only in power output – which relative weakness contributes to its cleaner running.
My test model was the fivedoor with the 3.2-litre diesel automatic, rated at 197bhp and 325lb-ft of torque. The carbon dioxide tariff is 224g/km and the official average diesel consumption is 33.2mpg. For the record, the trip computer suggested that I was averaging 23 to 26 miles a gallon.
The 0-62mh time is 11.1 seconds and top speed is 111mph. It costs £34,999.
The entry model is the Equippe with manual gears at £29,499. A shorter threedoor Shogun is £3,000 cheaper. A three-year service plan is worth considering at £420.
Some buyers may feel short-changed in the gears: just five of them in the manual or sequential automatic but with so much torque, this was not an issue for me, and the big all-roader wafted along without fuss. Mine was used in five-seater layout, with easy enough fold away of the back seats. An extra pair of seats rise out of the floor to make a seven-seater cabin.
The entry Equippe is well “equipped” with stability and traction control, keyless entry, climate control, roof rails, 18in wheels, heated front seats and power windows and heated mirrors.
There are grab handles on the screen and centre pillars to assist entry and make exit safer if your feet are slippery from field or track. This is, after all, a formidable offroader.
Normal running is in rearwheel-drive high ratio, with a lever selection of high 4x4,
It all moves along nicely, with refinement nearer Discovery than Defender.
low 4x4 and lock-up. It all moves along nicely, with refinement nearer Discovery than Defender. At motorway speeds you can feel the oscillating mass of the big wheels but, in general, the Shogun was just great to drive.
It is a large vehicle and so newcomers to high-command vehicles may feel overwhelmed – but not for long. They are also becoming fashionably unfashionable in a backlash against, well, the backlash against “mum trucks”.
Body styling is a matter of taste. The demo car was in white, which would not be my choice. Silver looks less in your face and, dare I say it, classier. Other choices are black or red.
The Elegance model gains touch-screen navigation with a reversing camera, integrated Bluetooth, leather seats, privacy glass, chromed exterior detailing, a 12speaker 860-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio unit, power sunroof, better headlamps with washers and automatic levelling, and air conditioning in the back of the cabin.
There’s a whole lot of stuff which may be useful out of bounds. This includes an electronic compass, a barometer and an altimeter. The display shows your drive profile over the previous four hours, such as how your speed, height and mpg have been progressing.
Of principal interest would be the navigation, which is rapid reaction. Oddly, for a recently registered vehicle, the navigation mapping on, say, the A1, was out of date by at least a year in some places. This can, obviously, be updated.
It did, however, offer up-to- the-minute re-routing options ahead of blockages Verdict: Good to be back in a Shogun, and the model puts forward a convincing valuefor-money case. Not everyone can afford a Discovery. Fuel consumption short of the official average.
SHOGUN: Sure-fire winner.