Shogun 3.2 DI-DC Elegance Automatic 5-door
owners strike back! Sales of
SUV and 4x4 vehicles are 15% up and
now account for one in eight new
A good time to check
out the latest Mitsubishi Shogun...
MITSUBISHI'S HIGHLY RATED AND LONG SERVING SHOGUN range was first
brought to the UK in 1983 in three-door form and, two years later five-door,
seven-seat versions arrived to make it the first heavyweight 4x4 with a multi-seat
layout. In fact, the Shogun's introduction is credited with Land Rover
being forced to bring their middle-of-the-road workhorse Discovery to market.
The Shogun was pitched at the right time between the hard working Land Rover
and the elitist Range Rover. It appealed on price, durability, a long warranty
and pure on- and off-road good driving manners and capabilities. Being a multiple
winner of the Dakar Rally helped as well.
Today, next to the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Shogun (or Pajero and Montero as
it is known in other countries), is the world's best-selling 4x4. It can be
found in most countries working for a living as well as providing day-to-day
transport for all classes of people from royalty to renegades.
In the UK, the Shogun finds favour not only with private users in towns, cities
and the countryside but it is in service with the Police, Fire and Rescue Services,
Utility providers, the Airport Authorities and, of course, the high profile
long-serving Shogun heavyweight 4x4 has recently received a series of updates.
All models, both three- and five-door, now use an updated, cleaner, more efficient
3.2-litre, DI-DC direct injection turbodiesel with more power and torque.
on price or capability
Power has gone up from 168 to 197bhp; torque is up as well, from 275 to 325lb
ft. There is more good news: the engine also has a 14 to 20% reduction in CO2
emissions, depending on the model and transmission, now ranging from 212 to
224g/km. Fuel economy has improved in line with those figures with three-door
models improved from 30.7 to 35.3mpg and the main selling five-door automatics
from 26.7 to 33.2mpg.
The improved eco figures have not slowed the Shogun's performance: top speed
is increased to 111mph and 0-62mph now takes 11.1 seconds par for the
course for a diesel powered mud-plugger. The increased torque has certainly
improved mid-range response and will not only benefit its towing performance
but also its ability to climb very steep gradients or wade out of tyre-clinging
Customers have the choice of manual or automatic transmissions depending on
which level of specification is chosen the five-speed automatic has a
tiptronic-type sports mode. Traction Control and Active Stability Control are
both standard fit items. Prices range from £26,499 to £37,999 and to keep running
costs to a reasonable level Mitsubishi offers a three-year/37,500-mile service
plan for £420.
There are Equippe, Elegance, Warrior and Diamond versions covering all the customer
bases from workhorse to executive business users. All are heavyweight 4x4s
imposing to look at with reasonable on-road handling and brilliantly capable
off-road or in bad road conditions.
All models have a selectable all-wheel drive system: high ratio two- and four-wheel
drive; high ratio 'locked' differential four-wheel drive; and low ratio 'locked'
all-wheel drive. The use of these different modes couldn't be simpler: a transfer
gear lever is just pushed to the function required no clumsy iControllers,
computer scroll switches or push buttons. Just select what drive you need and
it is there immediately with no guesswork at all.
the past, Shoguns had the option of a 'lock' for the rear differential but this
has now been superseded by a limited slip rear differential which improves the
on-road manners, traction and handling.
Shogun Elegance 5-door
automatic costs £34,999.
Not cheap you might
think, but still
competitive when you
compare it against
the heavyweight 4x4
competition for ability
test model was the 3.2 DI-DC Elegance 5-door automatic priced at £34,999. Not
cheap, you might think, but still competitive when you compare it against the
heavyweight 4x4 competition for ability and specification.
I have been lucky enough over many years to have driven Shoguns of many generations
in many countries around the world: on road and off; in sand, snow, swamps,
jungle, over mountains, in the sea, in motorsport action and even an amphibious
Fitted with the appropriate grippy tyres, the Shogun is close to being the ultimate
off-roader but not at the expense of it being horrible to drive on road
there is no point having ultimate off-road traction if the on-road performance
is too poor to live with. In fact, that really has been the success element
of the Shogun: real 4x4 capability plus strength and durability, a versatile
interior for multiple passenger carrying or load space and a high level of specification.
Today's Shoguns are also very capable tow vehicles with braked towing weights
ranging from 2,800 to 3,500kg. No surprise, then, of their popularity with the
recovery services, farmers, caravaners, boat-towers, equestrians and, of course,
Depending on personal taste the Shogun visually will not appeal to all-comers.
Perhaps it is a bit too brash and glitzy for some 'sophisticates' and its Tonka
Toy styling might not go down with the 'yummy mummy' brigade on the school run
but it is big, strong, offers excellent vision from the interior, is easy to
get in and out of and roomy. It's also tough and shrugs off the dents and scrapes
which occur in the urban or rural jungles we all have to negotiate daily.
In addition it serves up a comfortable ride, pretty well balanced for a big
4x4 although it rolls during cornering but never so much as to feel unstable.
The five-door model is easy to drive; better than its 4,900mm length would suggest.
The handling is trustworthy, the visibility first rate, the steering positive
and the braking strong. In automatic form, gear selection is a doddle and even
the transfer lever selection is, literally, child's play.
is very comprehensive and includes electrically-operated windows and door mirrors,
climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a full array of airbags,
alarm and keyless entry and 18-inch alloy wheels. And a special mention, too,
for the impressive 30GB hard disk drive navigation system with Rockford Fosgate
860W 12-speaker premium audio system a music server complete with colour
touch-screen and rear-view camera.
A special mention,
too, for the impressive
30GB hard disk drive
navigation system with
Rockford Fosgate 860W
audio system a music
server complete with
colour touch-screen and
The rear row of two bench seats that gives it maximum passenger carrying options
folds flat into the floor when not in use, creating a large load space of 1,790
litres. The rear seats can only really be used for short trips as they provide
minimal comfort and are difficult to get in and out of.
However, they will appeal to some families where their children have playmates
or the school run is a shared rota system. I know been there done that,
sorry, my wife has. With the third row in use, boot space is a minimal 215 litres.
Reasons to buy one include superb off-road ability, easy to drive on road, much
improved engine performance, better fuel economy, lower emissions, high specification,
strong and well built, seats up to seven and comes with three years' unlimited
mileage warranty. My only criticism is that it's overdue for a styling change
rather than another facelift.
Because of its workhorse status the latest Shogun is not going to be acceptable
for all customers in the heavyweight 4x4 market. I'm sorry to say there is still
considerable snobbery involved in this sector: "mine's posher than yours, old
chap" still applies in some social circles. But while it isn't a perfect vehicle,
the Shogun is a very good one. One that cannot be overlooked on price or capability
by anyone who is remotely astute.
Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 DI-DC Elegance Automatic 5-door | £34,999
Maximum speed: 111mph | 0-62mph: 11.1 seconds | Overall test MPG: 28.6mpg
Power: 197bhp | Torque: 325lb ft | CO2 224g/km