Car Test   R0301
January 2003
First Drive Mitsubishi Shogun
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 3.2DI LWB (diesel)
We guess that for every buyer of this sort of car who regularly indulges in serious mud-plugging, there are three or four who will never exploit their vehicleís considerable off-road abilities. So what advantages and disadvantages do you encounter by opting for a Shogun rather than an executive-style estate (or even an MPV) in everyday asphalt-road motoring?
   At one time, it was the lofty driving position with a clear view out and over hedges, plus the better seat angling that was easier on the spine and legs. Of course, the MPVís advent meant that you could have these features without four-wheel drive, and the latest Shogun is now one of many in these respects.
   Itís always been well-endowed with comfort and equipment features, but again, in the contemporary scene, so are many cars at two-thirds of the price.
   Rear accommodation is good for centre rear occupants, but the foldaway rear pair are really suitable for smaller children only; however they do fold neatly out of the way to leave a flat, uninterrupted load space for luggage instead - thereís no boot room when theyíre in use.
   The rear load sill is flat and thereís 101cm of load aperture height, with a convenient cubic shape inside too.
   Because of the Shogunís lofty build and generous ground clearance, the seat cushions (at 81-86cm above ground) are really too high for the less agile. Sill steps are provided, as are prominent rear grab handles, to help shorter people to get in, but most will still soil their legs when getting out.
   This is especially true after excursion off the beaten track; the Shogun performs its duties in the most atrocious conditions with aplomb. Our automatic was able to claw its way upwards, way past the point where lesser vehicles would loose grip or ground - and do it in slow, measured fashion, with such decorum.
   Yet back on tarmac (and bearing its price and alternatives in mind) the diesel left us unimpressed. Itís a noisy engine, despite its up-to-date specification, and both performance and economy are well down on what one can generally expect these days.
   The suspension and steering donít work on-road, any better than a Ford Transitís and, particularly with the optional all-terrain Goodrich tyres, the ride is all of a fidget on anything other than billiard-table main roads.
   We also drove the latest top-of-the-range V6 petrol with Elegance leather trim and standard tyres. It still offers fantastic grip on mud and proves distinctly smoother-riding on road, while the smoother, quieter engine will help justify the 20mpg-if-youíre lucky fuel thirst, for some prospective owners.
  considering size, price and rivals
Letís face it, thereís no objective justification for buying a Shogun (or several rivals) for this kind of money and then using it only on ordinary roads. It follows, therefore, that if you want one in any case, you might as well buy the V6 and totally disregard costs. For owners who have a serious off-road purpose in mind, however, this Mitsubishiís rugged and reliable reputation, combined with reasonable comfort and accommodation, make it a sensible choice. The Discovery may be more accomplished in the way it drives, but the Shogun is less likely to let you down.

engine 4 cylinder 16 valve, double overhead camshaft diesel with turbocharger and intercooler; direct injection
transmission 5-speed (stepped) automatic; electronic transfer shift with rear diff lock; sequential manual shift mode
suspension front: independent double wishbones, coil springs
rear: independent multi-link, coil springs
wheels/tyres 7 in alloy with 265/70R16H tyres; spare on taildoor
brakes ventilated discs front and rear with internal drum handbrake; ABS standard
CO2 emissions 278g/km (manual 251)
0-62mph* 13.8sec (manual 12.0sec)
official mpg~ 21.2/32.1/26.9 (manual 23.2/35.8/29.7)
* maker's figures  ~ official mpg

size and type upper-medium, 3- and 5-door all-terrain, off-road 4WD; mid-priced   trim levels Classic, Equippe, Elegance
engines petrol: V6 cylinder/3.5 litre/200bhp
diesel: 4/3.2/158
  drive Part-time four-wheel drive with second selector for 2 to 4WD and diff locking, plus high/low range. 5-speed automatic or manual main gearbox

  in centimetres (x)
  easy to park/garage?
© The Automobile Association Limited 2019