Before we drove cars we rode animals - the Mitsubishi Shogun is like riding a big grizzly bear. With a diesel that can scare small children and make puppies cry, this model is a real tough, no-nonsense vehicle.
The Mitsubishi Shogun is rugged and ready to go. Charlie Flindt likes a throwback, especially one with a proper parking brake. For more motoring fun read about the gentleman drivers who risked it all. And for those planning to buy a quad bike this summer, see our suitable suggestions from our best farm vehicles: the ATV or the UTV?
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN – REFRESHINGLY OLD-FASHIONED
There’s something wonderfully old-fashioned about the Mitsubishi Shogun. You get in (with great ease, thanks to the high roof and bum-level seats) and notice that there’s a slot for the key, which you then turn to make the engine start. To drive away in the Mitsubishi Shogun, you release the parking brake using a stubby lever with a knob on the end, next to your left thigh. Such common-sense simplicities are a rarity today.
While the modern trend for sophisticated off-roading gearboxes verges on patronising, the Mitsubishi Shogun gives you a simple range of ranges – and assumes you know what you’re doing. There’s no choice of suspension settings, no complicated engine-management modes all waiting to go horribly wrong in the middle of your foray into the Gobi Desert.
It’s hugely refreshing. It’s true that the old-fashioned theme continues into the engine bay, with a diesel that can scare small children and make puppies cry within five miles of your overtaking kick-down (and has old-fashioned fuel-consumption figures that might reduce you to tears, too). But there are big windows and narrow pillars in the Mitsubishi Shogun, giving a commanding view. It’s quite fun to drive, although the steering is a bit jittery. It’s not small, so the suspension has been tightened up to cut down on body roll but this doesn’t give the softest of rides. Off road is a doddle: select a range, lock a centre diff if necessary and away you go. I came unstuck (stuck, that is) temporarily in a wet wood but my press car had the inevitable motorway slicks on.
Full marks should be given to the Mitsubishi Shogun for agreeing that a full-size spare is vital in both the Gobi Desert and Hampshire but there seems to be no room to store it apart from dangling it clumsily and voluminously on the back door. Any room under the boot floor is taken up with the third row of seats and modern suspensions and drivelines seem to eliminate any room behind what would once have been a solid rear axle. The end result is a heavyweight rear door, reversing cameras and a tow bar a foot-and-a-half longer than usual. But at least it’s a proper spare.
For all its old-fashioned ways, the Mitsubishi Shogun isn’t cheap. Running costs will be high but reliability should be as good as ever. The new five-year warranty that Mitsubishi is offering will be good for peace of mind and perhaps lift second-hand values in a few years’ time. However, with the Shogun’s record it’s not really a big selling point.
The attraction of the Shogun is simple: it’s simple. It’s an old-school off-roader with the basics done well. It has a no-nonsense image – there’s no prestige or snob value in owning one. You won’t see many in a Premier League training ground car park or badly parked on a prestigious London residential street. For many years, the Shogun has been a working vehicle first and foremost and has never earned the title of status symbol. This proud tradition will continue with the latest Shogun.
Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG4
Engine 3,200cc diesel
Max speed 112mph
Performance 0 to 62: 11.1 seconds
Combined fuel economy 33.2mpg
Insurance group 34
Would suit a simple chap