What's the used Mitsubishi Shogun 4x4 like?
One look at that rear-mounted spare tyre and the beefed-up plastic mouldings should be enough to tip you off that the Mitsubishi Shogun, in all its variants, is not for the faint-hearted motorist or even for the sporting driver. Buyers after a rugged workhorse that’ll spend all day towing heavy objects around a farmyard and then turn up reliably at 8pm at the local country GP’s house for a smart drinks party should give it a look, though, while those after a driving experience riddled with tactile pleasure and exquisite refinement and balanced by an air of sophistication should definitely look elsewhere.
There are two Shoguns: a short-wheelbase five-seat version and a long-wheelbase seven-seater. Both are powered by the same gruff and rather old-fashioned 3.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine and drive is transmitted to all four wheels. This is actually a switchable four-wheel drive system that features four driving modes - rear wheel drive, full-time four-wheel drive, four-wheel with a locking centre diff and also low-range gearing for more extreme off-road use.
Entry-level SG2 models get 18in alloy wheels, roof rails, side steps, front foglights, cruise control, climate control, heated seats, Bluetooth, and automatic wipers and lights, while the mid-range SWB Warrior Shogun gets leather upholstery, sat-nav, electric windows, a reversing camera, USB connectivity and keyless entry. The range-topping Barbarian model comes with 20in alloy wheels, DAB radio and lots of chrome exterior trim.
The LWB models are available in SG2, SG3, SG4 and SG5 trims. Entry-level models get Bluetooth, USB connectivity, climate control, rear air conditioning, cruise control, 18in alloy wheels, and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors as standard, while SG3 models get an electric sunroof, tinted rear windows, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, sat-nav, a 12-speaker Rockford audio system, a DAB radio and adaptive headlights. The mid-range SG4 trim gets 20in alloy wheels, rear seat DVD entertainment, leather upholstery and heated front seats, while the range-topping SG5 trim adorns the Shogun with premium Nappa leather upholstery, heated rear seats, twin-rear USB sockets and ambient LED interior lighting.
On Tarmac the Shogun is a bit of a brute. It’s pretty slow in a straight line, and that engine sends plenty of vibrations into the interior and lots of noise, too. The automatic gearbox is a little dim-witted, the steering is slow, making manoeuvring an arm-twirling affair, and if you corner even moderately briskly the car pitches like a ship in sail, while grip levels are only modest. At least the soft suspension makes the Shogun comfortable for the most part, although it does struggle to keep its body level over undulating roads. Off-road, things are much better, and there’s plenty of traction for traversing muddy fields.
Inside is a smattering of soft-touch material up high, and huge swathes of cheap-feeling plastics lower down. The driving position is not the most adaptable, and the overall feeling is rather agricultural. The seats are flat and unsupportive too.
Space-wise, the three-door short-wheelbase model has room only for five, less rear leg room and a smaller boot than the long-wheelbase seven-seater. With that in mind, families will be better off looking at the biggest Shogun. Space up front is good in both, however, while rear seat leg and head room is reasonably generous. In the long-wheelbase version, the third row folds out of the boot floor, although it’s not as easy to do as in most rivals. The seats are big and heavy, requiring a bit of muscle to pull them into place. Once in place, there’s good head room for the rearmost passengers, but a high floor makes it uncomfortable for adults on longer journeys.
The boot in the seven-seater car has occasional-use room with all the seats up, excellent space with the two rear seats folded away and an absolutely vast amount of space with the middle-row seats down too.
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