Mitsubishi Shogun SUV
Price: £26,874 - £37,474
- Virtually unstoppable off-road
- Decent passenger and luggage space
- Mitsubishi's reputation for reliability
- Unsophisticated to drive on the road
- Loud engine, wind and tyre noise
- Hard, cheap-looking plastics inside
"Rugged and dependable, the Mitsubishi Shogun is a worth a look choice for those seeking a tough 4x4 with excellent off-road ability."
The Mitsubishi Shogun remains a sturdy off-road 4x4 SUV, while other rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery 4 have moved upmarket to offer more luxury, they cost substantially more than the Mitsubishi. The Shogun has a reputation for being almost unstoppable off-road, and it has built up a loyal customer base that appreciates its dependability, strength and rugged looks. But you pay for its simple design and off-road ability on-road, where the Shogun starts to feel coarse and agricultural to drive compared to its more sophisticated rivals. There's lots of space inside, with seven seats in the SG4 long-wheelbase model, but the interior is solid and practical, rather than luxurious and stylish, and it has lots of hard and shiny plastics used throughout. The Shogun comes in short and long-wheelbase form and can be had with five varying levels of specification.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Expensive to tax and fill up
Be ready to empty your wallet when you take your Shogun to the petrol station. Even the most efficient model returns economy of just 35mpg and emits a hefty 213g/km in CO2, meaning it will cost £280 a year in annual road tax. Add the automatic gearbox and economy drops to 33mpg, while road tax remains the same. Fixed-price servicing is offered on the Shogun, however, which should help to rein in running costs.
Interior & comfort
Falls behind rivals in comfort stakes
When compared to its main competition, the Mitsubishi is simply outclassed in terms of comfort. As an old-style SUV – which focuses on off-road ability – tyre, wind and engine noise are all factors that could be improved upon. The Mitsubishi's saving grace is that the six-speaker stereo system is loud enough to drown it all out. The seats are firm but too flat, not offering enough bolstering to be properly supportive, while the heating and ventilation system is just okay. The steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach either, which means many drivers will struggle to get completely comfortable.
Practicality & boot space
Five-door version has huge load space
Fold down the standard-fit split-fold back seats and the five-door, long-wheel base model of the Shogun offers storage capacity to rival a van. The shorter wheelbase of the three-door models means it lacks the longer car's larger load carrying capacity – and its third row of seats. In the five-door, those extra seats actually fold down into the boot floor, while the second row folds, reclines and tumbles out of the way, if necessary. The boot offers a maximum space of 1,120 litres. Access to the third row of seats can be a bit tricky, and their size means they’re only really suitable for children. A deep storage box between the front seats is handy and the glove compartment is a decent shape, too. However, the side-hinged boot door can be a nuisance – it needs a lot of space to swing open, which is difficult if someone parks behind you.
Reliability & safety
Tough as a Tonka truck and safe to boot
The Shogun doesn’t feature in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Mitsubishi itself held onto to its middling 19th out of 32 ranking in the survey's manufacturers chart. Reliability was one of its best performing categories, though. The Shogun is built to be dependable, so it should prove durable. In terms of safety, electronic stability control (ESP), traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, front, side and curtain airbags and Isofix child seat anchor points are all fitted as standard. The Shogun hasn’t been put through the Euro NCAP crash safety test, however, and its old design means that it probably wouldn’t fair particularly well against the more modern competition.
Engines, drive & performance
Strong engine and 'go anywhere' ability
There's only one engine available in the Shogun – a 197bhp 3.2-litre diesel that is powerful, but noisy. Lots of vibrations make their way into the cabin and the engine sound never goes away completely. It is gutsy, however, accelerating the Shogun with little effort and allowing it to tow virtually anything. The suspension has some real difficulties on-road, suffering from lots of body roll through the corners and an unsettled ride on anything but the smoothest road. The manual gearbox is also far from precise, so the automatic gearbox is the desirable choice even though it compromises what little economy the car offers. Take it off-road and the Shogun excels, though, as it can clamber, climb and wade where other more road-biased SUVs wouldn’t dare to venture.
Price, value for money & options
Not bad value, but outdone these days
If all you need is space and excellent off-road ability, then the Shogun makes a lot of sense, because its simple design means it undercuts most of its rivals on price. Standard equipment is fairly comprehensive, too, with all models coming fitted with alloy wheels, an MP3-compatible audio system, climate control and cruise control. Opt for mid-range Warrior specification and satellite navigation and a rear-view parking camera joins the list, while the top-spec SG4, which is only available as a five-door, gets a rear seat DVD system and two extra seats.
What the others say
As for the manual transmission version, it's even cleaner, dropping from 246g/km to 212g/km. Of its competitors, only the BMW X5 emits less CO2. The Shogun's claimed 33.2mpg combined economy is up drastically from 26.7mpg, making it one of the most frugal large 4x4s you can buy.
A rugged, hard-worker that can tow heavy loads without breaking sweat and conquer terrain that would faze nearly all of its rivals.
The Shogun performs superb off-road and feels robustly built. It seats up to seven and is well equipped, but it may be the Tonka Toy looks that really appeal
The second-generation Outlander is the best car Mitsubishi has produced in years. Nearly all models come with seven seats, making it a good choice for larger families, while the interior is well built and durable. There's plenty of cabin space, it's very good to drive and comes well equipped - even in entry-level trim. Unfortunately it isn't quite as refined or as practical as other offroaders with a narrow load space and a firm ride.
Last updated: 21 Feb 2014