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4X4 VEHICLE REVIEWS
SHOGUN (84-00)

The Shogun was a serious Japanese competitor to the Range Rover, earning respect for its longevity (it was launched back in 1983), off-road ability and reliability. And before the advent of the X5 and its ilk, was one of the best serious off-roaders to drive on normal roads. Early cars were very utilitarian, but later models possess all the creature comforts you're likely to need. The market has become flooded with Japanese imports badged Pajero. These often aren't to UK spec.

DRIVING & PERFORMANCE

Performance
Turbo-diesels available in 2.5 and 2.8 litres are strong but not swift although they do give slightly better economy than the petrol units. V6 petrol units are offered in 3.0 and 3.5 forms and are livelier and quite refined, especially the 24-valve cars. Most are manuals, but there are some four speed automatics about.

Handling
Long-wheel-base is rather a handful simply because of its sheer size - the short wheelbase is more manageable. On road manners are reasonably good with a decent ride, although reactions aren't particularly quick. Off road performance is very impressive

Comfort
Short wheelbase models are rather cramped for legroom in the rear - no such problems with the long wheelbase - whilst headroom is good all round. Diamond pack models are luxuriously specced. Some of the interior materials look dated by today's standards, but most interiors are wearing well.

Practicality
Both long and short-wheel-base have more than enough boot space for most people's needs. Long-wheel-base model has a third row of seats as an alternative to big carrying space. Seats fold to allow farmer types to lug straw bails around and interior storage space is abundant too.

Equipment
All models have a ‘Super Select’ 4WD system, uprated suspension, electric mirrors, headlamp washers and tinted glass. The Diamond option pack (from Oct 91) adds ABS and adjustable variable-rate suspension (3- and 5-door), leather seats and heated front seats (5-door only). Further revisions took place in February 94, with the launch of the 2.5 TD SWB, 2.8 TD LWB, 3.0 V6 12-valve and the top specification 3.5 V6 24-valve models. These all had restyled alloy wheels and heated door mirrors, and the 3.5 V6 24v gained air conditioning, electrically adjusted driver’s seat, and a CD autochanger. 3.0 V6 24-valve models followed in August 94. The reduced equipment 2.5 TD GLX joined the range in Jan 95, when the 2.8 TD models were rebadged GLS. These GLS and the 3.5 V6 received frontal restyling, side panels and side steps in October 97.

Behind the wheel
First class view with the sort of on-road stature that will mean you never feel intimidated by other road users. Interiors wear well, but the interior architecture is pretty dated. That means you may have to hunt for switches and the driving position could be better.

SAFETY & RELIABILITY

Safety
ABS is fitted to high spec models, early V6 models had a drivers airbag which was only fitted across the range from “94 onwards, locks were quite strong, but no immobiliser was fitted until 1998 and no alarm was offered.

Reliability
Capable of very high mileages if cared for properly and is below-average for breakdowns. However a hard life without proper care will see it become a catalogue of expenses - and its the sort of car some owners think they need not look after.

SHOGUN SPORT 1998-2007

This capable off-roader is based on a pick-up truck and from 1998-2000 was known as Challenger. It’s more at home in the country, where it can take on most mud-plugging jobs. In the town it’s a bit out of place; it feels heavy and awkward. However, it is plenty spacious enough to deal with family load-carrying, but is now long in the tooth and trailing behind others that are as good off-road but more capable on tarmac.

DRIVING & PROFORMANCE

Performance
Best bet is to go for the most modern 2.5-litre diesel engine. Early cars have 100bhp, later get 115. It's barely enough to power Shogun Sports bulks and it's an unsophisticated and rather pedestrian engine, getting to 60mph in 16.3 seconds and onto a top speed of just 93mph. But, it is good for towing and offers much better fuel consumption than the smoother, but thirsty 3.0V6, which is available with 170 or 175bhp. A four-speed gearbox is available on the 3.0V6.

Handling
It's bulky, awkward around town and off the pace on the motorway - especially in 2.5 TD diesel form. The steering is very vague, it rolls through corners and the ride is bouncy. It does pick up points for being very good off-road. It gets dual high/low ratio gearing, can switch between two or four-wheel drive and has plenty of ground clearance.

Comfort
Although it's big, the space isn't well used inside. It's narrow, so shoulder room isn't great (especially with three in the back) and legroom is quite tight. Plus the seats aren't very supportive, the ride is bouncy and Shogun Sport is very noisy on the move - the main problem is the engine.

Practicality
The boot isn't as practical as you may expect from a car of this size, the seats in the back don't fold totally flat and it's quite high off the ground. For small boxes and odd-jobs it's fine, but it's no load lugger - you're probably better off towing a trailer, if you've something larger to shift.

Equipment
The entry level model is the TD GLX with a limited slip differential and a radio/cassette. GLS adds alloy wheels, front fog lamps, headlamp washers, roof rails, roof spoiler, luggage area cover and load net and extra instrumentation. Range was relaunched as Shogun Sport in March 2000. Re-badged as Classic, Equippe (formerly GLX) and Elegance (formerly GLS) in Jan 2001.

Behind the wheel
Upright driving position won't suit all tastes and the view of the road could be better - it's quite narrow and the view out is restricted and the same can be said of the rear. That aside, it's interior is simply laid out and easy to use, if rather dated in appearance.

Safety
Not crash tested by Euro NCAP. It's an old design, too, so possibly wouldn't perform as strongly as newer rivals. It does have size on its side, however, and gets dual front airbags. Not all cars have ABS, but those from 2003 do. Basic security means that many models do without an alarm and remote central locking, though later models are better equipped.

Reliability
Mechanically robust, but the interior isn't so well built and shows its age quickly.

SHOGUN 2000-2007

The original Shogun was a cheaper alternative to prestige 4x4s. This latest range squares up against Discovery on price and features. The new generation direct-injection turbo-diesel and petrol engines perform well and suit the stylish, big bodies. Reliability so far seems to be as good as the original.

Performance
Good aerodynamics for its size. The best model is the 3.2 D-ID. It pulls well from low revs and is happy cruising on the motorway but can be hard work in town. In 3.5 V6 petrol form, it's torquey and is better-suited to overtaking.

Handling
Bulky but relatively easy to drive around town. On-road handling is weak - body roll in corners, so-so wet-weather grip. Auto 'box has a slick sequential shift and off-road abilities are unquestioned.

Comfort
Five-seater models can seat up to seven passengers (although the rearest seats are for children only). Plenty of legroom and headroom in the five other seats. Engine is noisy, especially when pushed and wind noise is evident at motorway speeds.

Practicality
Access to the rear is limited on the three-door. With the rear seats folded way, there's plenty of space, making it a practical 4x4 choice. No shortage of cabin cubby bins, either.

Equipment
GLX has tilt adjustable steering column, alloy wheels, electric heated mirrors, four-speaker stereo. GLS has colour-coded door handles, roof spoiler, wheel arches, side sills and body side mouldings, front fog lamps, headlight washers, automatic air-con, cruise control, height-adjustable driver’s seat. Range was rebadged in Jan 2001. Classic replaced previous GLX and Equippe replaced GLS. Restyled in early '03 with a new grille, headlamps and bumper and revised dashboard.

Behind the wheel
It's not the most attractive interior - there's a mixture of fake wood, cheap and quality plastics and leather on top-spec models. But everything's in the right place, it's easy to get comfortable and all-round visibility is good.

Safety
No Euro NCAP rating, but size and massive structure ensures a level of safety. Twin front airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution. Above-average preventative measures for security, but Shoguns are stolen to order, so it's safest to fit a tracking system.

Euro NCAP
Provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. Visit Euro NCAP for more info

Reliability
Shogun reputation is built on dependability under tough conditions so expect this generation to be good for 15-20 years and diesels to last 250,000-plus miles.

SHOGUN 2007 ON

The Shogun is almost recognised as a brand in its own right and has been one of the stalwarts of the large 4x4 sector. For 2007 there was a (mostly) new model, bringing with it the most significant changes to the car since 2000. Still offered in compact three-door and roomy five-door versions the Shogun gains major updates to the interior, a revised diesel engine and improved safety. However, Mitsubishi has upgraded the Shogun conscious of the fact that plenty of customers still want a vehicle that is very capable off road - and as before it's virtually unstoppable on rough terrain.

Performance
Most Shoguns sold in the UK previously were diesels, so for the 2007 version Mitsubishi has dropped the petrol version and now only offers a single diesel. Although the diesel engine is the familiar 3.2-litre four-cylinder from the old Shogun, it has been upgraded with a more efficient 'common rail' injection system. Automatic versions (most will be the five-speed auto) have 170bhp and 275lb-ft of torque, while the manual boasts 160bhp and 281lb-ft. The engine is quieter than before and offers improved performance. Short wheelbase (three-door) versions cover the 0-62mph sprint in about 12 seconds, while the long wheelbase (five-door) versions take about 13 seconds. It's still not rapid, but should cover ground quickly enough for most people, and the brakes work well enough to bring its two-tonne-plus bulk to a standstill without cause for concern.

Handling
Designed to be a dependable off-road tool, there are inevitable compromises in how the Shogun behaves on the road. Having said that, its behaviour is improved over the model it replaces with less body roll (although it still leans to a degree in bends) and better steering feel, aided by a stiffer body shell. Under normal driving conditions the four-wheel drive mode sends about two-thirds of power to the rear wheels. However, up to 50% of power can be sent to the front wheels if needed. The Shogun also has a lockable centre differential in either high-ratio or low-ratio mode should conditions become more extreme. There is an optional locking rear differential available should owners regularly take the car into very difficult terrain.

Comfort
Air conditioning and electric windows are standard on the Shogun but while the interior is roomy on five-door versions you feel perched on top of the seats rather than sitting in them. The four-cylinder diesel engine is still rather noisy, despite improvements over the previous version of the engine, and with its bluff shape, the Shogun also generates its fair share of wind noise at speed.

Practicality
In five-seat configuration, the long wheelbase Shogun offers a generous 663 litres of luggage space up to window level and a maximum of 1,789 litres to roof level with all seats folded. The three-door version has a minimum of 290 litres, or 1,119 litres with the rear seats folded. In the five-door model, with the part-time third-row seats in place there is 215 litres of luggage space behind them - about as good as most large seven-seat cars. There are a few storage compartments in the cabin, including one between the front seats, and the glove compartment is a decent size. Towing ability is a hefty 3,300kg braked (although a Discovery III will cope with 3,500kg).

Equipment
Customers can choose short or long wheelbase versions and there are four levels of equipment. Equippe models have an alarm, electronic climate control, a CD stereo, 17-inch alloy wheels, electronic stability control, six airbags, Isofix child seat mounting points, electric windows, central locking, electrically adjustable door mirrors and metallic paint. Warrior models upgrade to 18-inch alloys, leather seats with electrically adjustable front seats, leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control, satellite navigation with a 30GB music server, a rear view camera, privacy glass and chrome door mirrors. Elegance models add an electric sunroof, premium audio system, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, headlight washers and rear air conditioning, but does without the chrome highlights and privacy glass of the Warrior. Top specification Diamond models are as Elegance models, but add 20-inch alloy wheels, a unique grille and the chrome trim is restored.

Behind the wheel
While the high driving position offers a great view, the driver's seat is a little lacking in support. However, the driving environment has been transformed into something far more modern looking than the previous version of the Shogun. Most of the controls are marked clearly and easy to use. Visibility is pretty good for such a large car and models chosen with satellite navigation also have a rear-facing camera to aid reversing. Mitsubishi has also changed the position of the tailgate-mounted spare wheel, setting it lower to improve both visibility and the car's centre of gravity.

Safety
Mitsubishi claims the Shogun is good enough to gain a four-star rating out of five in official European crash tests, although it hasn't been tested by Euro NCAP. Electronic stability control, which can help correct a vehicle's line during a skid, is fitted as standard as well as twin front, side and curtain airbags.

Euro NCAP
Provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. Visit Euro NCAP for more info

Reliability
Plenty of the original 1983 vintage Shoguns are still running. Large 4x4s are expected to be reliable because they may well be used in remote areas where a breakdown or fault is more than a mere inconvenience. The new model, retaining most of the mechanical parts of the previous model, should be well proven and dependable.

SHOGUN PININ 2000-2005

When it comes to the rough stuff, the multipurpose Shogun Pinin is a real RAV4 rival with proper 4x4 hardware including a low-ratio gearbox and a diff lock. It’s not bad on-road either; small enough to weave through urban congestion, with a reasonably composed ride and good all-round visibility, but is left wanting at higher speeds. The Pinin tag refers to Pininfarina; the Italian design house that penned the shape, giving it a robust interior and chunky looks, despite the compact shape.

Performance
Due to its need for plenty of revs, the Pinin can't really hack it as a tow car and struggles a little when pushed too hard. It is ideally suited to off-roading and more than capable at it, but you shouldn’t expect too much performance on motorways at high-speeds. The electronically-controlled Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine in the five-door model sounds like a diesel unit when idling, but it’s quite lively on the move. If you use the Pinin for what it was designed for it is an easier-to-manage version of the larger Shogun, but you must be prepared to sacrifice the added space of a bigger 4x4 in return for a more condensed vehicle.

Handling
Built to handle the rigours of off-road terrain, the Pinin has excellent stability, a low centre of gravity and great traction, but it is let down by its bouncy, low-speed ride on tarmac. Although the harsh suspension impedes the ride comfort, it increases handling confidence, whilst ensuring that the Pinin doesn’t lurch on speedy bends. Overall, the Pinin’s handling is not too bad and, even if it doesn’t compare to the rival RAV4, it will certainly hammer the Toyota in the mud.

Comfort
Those sat in the comfortable front seats benefit from sufficient room, but rear space is rather limited, even in the five-door version. Despite the Shogun Pinin being designed for five people, it comfortably accommodates four passengers, but one extra might be a bit of a squeeze, especially over lengthy journeys. The firm suspension is certainly beneficial off-road, but you pay the price inside the cabin, with the bouncy ride aggravating the overall driving experience. On the whole, the interior ambience is fairly disappointing, although there is only a reasonable level of space that can be expected from a compacted off-roader.

Practicality
As a true multipurpose vehicle, the Pinin is hindered by its inability at high-speeds on-road and, although its off-roading capabilities are impressive, it is impractical as a day-to-day runabout. Only available with a choice of petrol engines, the Pinin’s lack of diesel alternatives is disappointing and could put off potential buyers. There is a reasonable level of boot space and the rear seats are designed to maximise both cargo capacity and user versatility, but if you want real load carrying ability then simply choose a bigger car.