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First Drive

2015 Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2 DI-DC SG4 review

We drive the freshened-up Mitsubishi Shogun that gets a tweaked front end, improved sound insulation and better standard kit in an attempt to appeal to more SUV buyers.

Words ByNigel Donnelly

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The Mitsubishi Shogun is around eight years old in its current guise, and Mitsubishi hope that the 2015 face-lift will be sufficient to ensure the Shogun keeps pace with the SUV pack.

The most obvious changes are to the front of the car, which incorporates daytime running lights and xenon headlights. Automatic models have also received beefed-up sound insulation to quieten things down in the cabin.

Ultimately though, the large SUV market has moved on significantly and genuine off-roaders such as the Shogun are viewed as a little too capable and focused on their ability off the Tarmac, often at the expense of on-road refinement.

Huge prices cuts a couple of years ago have helped shore up Shogun sales, but are the latest updates enough to put the big Mitsubishi on the shopping lists of SUV buyers?

What’s it like to drive?

Nowhere does the Shogun feel more outdated than in the way it drives on the road.

The 3.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is very gruff, although it pulls strongly enough. Road and wind noise are both very apparent and refinement is generally poor. The five-speed automatic gearbox in our test car was easily wrong-footed and regularly hunted for the right ratio. A five-speed manual gearbox is also available.

The Shogun leans heavily when going round corners and the ride is restless and fidgety at all speeds, getting really quite uncomfortable on heavily scarred road surfaces. The steering is also slow and vague. However, this is not a car which even pretends to reward spirited driving and the Shogun is happiest at a sedate pace.

This is a serious off-road vehicle, however. The Shogun has low-ratio gearing and a differential lock to ensure you’ve got the best chance of getting it out of even the stickiest situations.

What's it like inside?

The Shogun is not a luxury car, but it is equipped like one. SG4 trim brings a sunroof, leather seats, DVD screens in the headrests, Bluetooth, a reversing camera, and all manner of other toys. The cabin feels very solidly screwed together, albeit out of tough rather than handsome materials. The problem is that so many rivals have cabins that are far more pleasant places to be.

The dashboard is dated and many of the more minor buttons appear scattered around it without much thought. The multifunction display has loads of information available, including an altitude meter and a barometer, indicating that this is a car with loftier ambitions than the school run or trips to the supermarket.

What is something of surprise is that getting comfortable in the Shogun takes some effort. The electrically adjustable seat has reasonable range of movement but there is not much movement in the steering wheel. Subsequently, getting comfortable takes quite a lot of fiddly about. That said, the seats are supportive and comfortable at least, and the large glass area gives a genuinelly commanding view of the road.

Rear seat space is pretty generous, however, and the boot is huge. If the third row of seats are used, a modest amount of boot space remains. The back row seats may have three-point belts but limited legroom means they are really only suitable for children; access is also tricky.

The infotainment system has been improved; it's the same as that offered in the Outlander. While it's better than the outgoing system, it's pretty clunky to use. The fact that it is set in the middle of the central dashboard area, means that the sat-nav screen cannot be seen without taking your eyes off the road.

Should I buy one?

For the vast majority of large SUV buyers, the Shogun is so far off the pace as to warrant very little consideration at all. By the standards of rivals such as the Hyundai Sante Fe, it is astonishingly crude, with poor refinement and slow-witted responses to steering, braking and throttle inputs. It will also cost you Β£280 a year in road tax.

That, however, slightly misses the point. This is a car that you can put to work and take to places that more road-focused SUVs will simply not get to. If your days are spent working the land, dealing with difficult terrain or you need to pull large trailers, the Shogun makes a little more sense. It is a fraction of the cost of a Land Rover Discovery or something similarly capable.

We’d suggest that avoiding the plushest trim levels is the best idea: the entry level SG2 model has the same ability to graft but at a more palatable price.

Ultimately though, for most motorists, there are far better SUVs available.

What Car? says:

Rivals

Hyundai Santa Fe
Ssangyong Rexton W

Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 DI-DC SG4

Engine size 3.2-litre diesel

Price from Β£28,599

Power 197bhp

Torque 325lb ft

0-62mph 11.1 seconds

Top speed 111mph

Fuel economy 33.2mpg

CO2 224g/km