Mitsubishi Shogun

LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG5

Mitsubishi Shogun, front
Mitsubishi Shogun, front
Mitsubishi Shogun, front
Mitsubishi Shogun, side
Mitsubishi Shogun, rear
Mitsubishi Shogun, rear

A FRIEND of mine who was fond of philosophising on life had one particular motto - that change was the instrument of the devil - and he firmly believed it.

He liked things to remain the same wherever possible and as a car buyer he might well have been tempted by something like the Mitsubishi Shogun, a real reassuring constant in a fast-changing automotive landscape.

The Shogun is a ‘proper' SUV in the traditional sense of the word or ‘off-roader' as we used to call them.

Essentially it has stayed true to its basic design blueprint for decades, evolving slowly, steadily and slightly but never really changing that much.

The latest model features a few exterior tweaks and tucks and a revised diesel engine but other than that there isn't much that's different about it.

As such the Shogun has always tended to attract a loyal following among the agricultural community and the country set.

While some might dismiss it as something of a dinosaur I confess I have an enduring fondness for it.

Those square and rugged looks - best described as ‘Tonka Toy' - are certainly muscular and traditional but essentially work.

Unusually it is still available in either short-wheelbase (three-door) or long-wheelbase (five-door) variants, though in reality the larger model is more popular.

It is also immensely practical in LWB form, offering the kind of space that you won't get many places this side of a Land Rover Discovery or Mercedes GLS.

You can carry seven people if you wish or simply use it as a five-seater and make the most of its truly cavernous boot.

The cabin too is roomy with driver and all passengers afforded acres of room. The only place things get a little tight is in the third row of seats, but there's more space there than many rivals' third row offering.

The Shogun does show its age a little when it comes to in-car ergonomics and some of the switchgear is a tad old-fashioned, though conversely you could describe it as fitting the vehicle's nature as something of a utilitarian workhorse.

It remains a sad reality that most SUVs rarely if ever get put through their paces off-road but the Shogun is probably one of the exceptions to this rule and I'd hazard a guess many actually spend a significant amount of time off-road.

In this environment it really excels, it's a truly capable off-roader that takes pretty much everything in its stride.

Conversely it's a little bit of a fish out of water in an on-road environment, though its limitations essentially come down to refinement.

While that powerful 3.2-litre diesel engine will get you out of most holes off-road it feels a little more lumbering and unrefined on-road.

You also get a fair amount of noise at higher speeds, either from the tyres or the giant wing mirrors that wouldn't look out of place on an HGV.

That said in automatic guise the Shogun is a surprisingly easy vehicle to live with on an everyday basis.

Sure, it's a big bus that you have to manoeuvre carefully at times but it copes well with most driving situations and even on the motorway, other than noise issues, it performs well.

Handling is pretty much as you'd expect from a vehicle of this size and class. Don't be trying to get anywhere to quickly and it's probably not a good idea to go around corners in too much of a hurry unless you're some kind of pitch and roll thrill-seeker.

The Shogun might seem somewhat spartan and primitive compared to more refined and luxurious SUVs like the Range Rover, but it's also considerably cheaper.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG5

Price:£41,239

Mechanical:187bhp, 3,200cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 5-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 112mph

0-62mph:11.1 seconds

Combined MPG:30.4

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions:245g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty: 5yrs/62,000 miles

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