Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - Fred­eric Manby fred­

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.

Pic­tures: Fred­eric Manby.

SHOGUN: Sure-fire win­ner.

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