The Mitsubishi Shogun has been a familiar sight on the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land of our for a considerable length of time, since 1982 in fact and there’s a simple enough reason for that. Any ideas what it might be?
The rather easy answer is that it’s just very good at what it’s been designed to do, accomplishing that difficult middle ground of being an exceptional off roader whilst still offering the driver and their passengers the levels of comfort and luxury expected in a large SUV on the road in 2018.
But that is doing the Shogun somewhat of a disservice as what you want to really want to know is whether or not a 4×4 with such road presence deserves to be considered out on the forecourt in the real world when there’s such a plethora of accomplished, smaller SUV in the marketplace today vying for your attention.
For this reason we need to look a little deeper at what it is that the Mitsubishi offers and why it’s qualities differentiate it from the chasing pack.
With an off road lineage reaching right back to 1982, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that the four wheel drive system in this latest iteration of the Shogun is, as Mitsubishi themselves confidently state: a 4×4 specifically designed to climb, to tow and to carry heavy loads; to plough through snow and negotiate rocks, clamber slippery slopes, wade water and navigate deep, clinging mud. Mitsubishi have certainly built in the requisite technology necessary for the Shogun to deliver on this front as it’s Super Select (SS4-ll) drivetrain works in conjunction with stability and traction control systems to produce three different four wheel drive modes. More than enough for any conceivable situation that the average driver may find themselves coming up against.
And let’s not forget that the clever technology present under the skin of the Shogun means that you can change from (relatively) fuel-efficient two-wheel drive to 4H at speeds of up to 62 mph, which will come in most handy when the weather deteriorates or why not, when the going gets tougher, simply select 4HLc as this locks the centre differential with power equally distributed between both axles and helps to maintain traction on low-grip surfaces.
For maximum off-road ability, on the way to the shops or school where you may encounter really steep climbing and descents, or for deep mud, sand or snow, select 4LLc to maximise low-end power and, Mitsubishi say, virtually double the effective engine braking in any gear. The obvious conclusion to draw is that this immensely practical SUV will, much like Terminator 2, not be stopped by anything in it’s path.
Sitting inside the Mitsubishi and you get a real sense of luxury, the fully adjustable, heated leather seats are supremely comfortable and simplicity itself to get into just the correct position whilst the controls are all where you would expect them to be and easily within reach. It comes as a given these days that there’s climate controlled air conditioning (with separate controls for rear seat passengers in LWB models), Electric windows and door mirrors, cruise control, satellite navigation, a quite superb premium 860w audio system specifically designed by Rockford Acoustic DesignTM with remote audio controls, Bluetooth® connection, a reversing camera and leather upholstery as standard in most models and don’t forget that because Mitsubishi have designed the Shogun to stand the test of time, the interior will look just as good tomorrow as it will at World’s end.
Impressive features abound and yet what catches your eye each and every time you step up and into the Shogun is the commanding driving position and large expanses of glass creating a bright and airy cabin for both you and your passengers. It really is quite extraordinary.
For those not used to a full size SUV such as this it’s important to understand how the size of the Shogun appears to just melt away and stay away once on the move. Keeping an eye on your mirrors and making sure that you’re aware of the Mitsubishi’s dimensions is also important, especially when driving in and around town but with a little care and attention there really is no reason why you shouldn’t soon be driving this excellent 4X4 as you would any other car. And it’s this ability to continually surprise that pushes the Shogun ahead in your expectations and increases the sense of occasion that greats you on every journey.
For the best fuel efficiency when out on the road it’s essential that you select two wheel drive from the clever gearbox, this then then allows the Shogun to stretch it’s legs and achieve close to the claimed 30.4 mpg on a decent run out. And it’s out on the road that you get to understand why the Shogun has been at the top of so many people’s favourite car lists for as long as it has. Setting off is simplicity itself, select drive from the 5 speed automatic gearbox and allow the 3200cc In-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC, turbocharged Diesel engine do it’s thing. Be gentle with the throttle and the engine rewards you with more than enough forward motion after all, with 188 bhp at 3500 rpm and 325 ft/lb torque at just 2000 rpm you’re not going to be left wanting in normal everyday situations. Indeed, even fully loaded with passengers and enough luggage to see one through the apocalypse, the engine gives off the feeling that it is merely humouring you and will rise to any and all challenges you manage to put in front of it.
Once out of town and onto the A roads and motorways that bisect these green and pleasant lands of ours, it soon becomes obvious that the Shogun can deliver a smooth ride that manages to separate the worst that the road offers up from those within. Fortunately this doesn’t mean that the Mitsubishi falls into wayward behaviour once the bends appear up ahead remaining, as it does, solid and stable throughout with decent feel coming through the both the steering and suspension, communicating quite deftly what the chassis is doing at all times.
This ability to do whatever needs to be done, whenever it needs to be done, is perhaps the clearest sign that this Mitsubishi has benefited from it’s incredible 36 year development journey and that the Shogun’s talent is far more than just skin deep.
Let’s be quite clear about what you get when you sign on the dotted line at your local Mitsubishi dealership then:
1. A well specced cabin that offers the latest technologies available.
2. Room for up to seven with a clever folding rear pair of seats hidden away in the boot floor.
3. It’s 3.2L turbocharged Diesel with low down grunt aplenty and power where needed.
4. A supremely capable off roader that benefits from a well developed switchable 4X4 system.
And all from £33,015. An absolute bargain.
Where will you go?