A mainstay of the SUV market Mitsubishi’s Shogun has sadly come to the end of its life, production of the current model is winding down and the car to take its place (for the time being at least) is the Shogun Sport.
This isn’t a new car in the general sense of the term, it’s already been on sale for a number of years in different markets around the world, but badged as the Pajero Sport, so what’s it like?
For starters, there will be two trim levels, the ‘3’ and the ‘4’. 3’s start at £37,465 while the 4 just squeezes in under that ‘luxury car’ road tax figure at £39,465.
Now it’s hard to make a big ‘ole SUV pretty, just ask Land Rover *ahem Discovery* somehow Mitsubishi have pulled it off.
It features the same front face as the rest of Mitsubishis line-up, dubbed ‘Dynamic Shield’ for some reason. Mostly flat sides keep the design looking clean, and the rear end sees the vertical brake lights pushed out to the edge in a somewhat Escalade way.
Mitsi says the front bumper has been designed to stop water from flowing up over it when wading, which it seems to take care of pretty damn well. More on that later.
The rear C pillar is a smart angle, the way it matches the indent of the rear lamps is super slick. Overall it’s a handsome looker for being a whacking great off-roader.
Powered by a 2.4-litre diesel engine, the Shogun makes 179 BHP and 430 Nm of torque. So not many horses, but plenty of welly when it comes to towing. That propels the 4.7-metre beast to 62 in 11 seconds flat, top speed is 112 MPH.
Now 11 seconds isn’t all that spritely these days, but when you compare it to some other large SUV’s and pick-ups, it’s not half bad. It also doesn’t feel as slow as it sounds, mainly thanks to all that torque. You’ve got to remember it’s lugging around just over two tons.
Being based off the L200, the ride is as you would expect from a pickup, a little jittery now and then. It’s mainly over small imperfections or undulations that you get that tell-tale wobble in the seat of your pants.
In a truck, that problem goes away once you’ve gained some weight in the back, so throw a few kids in the second and third row to balance it out.
There’s also a fair amount of body roll when cornering spiritedly, but it’s well controlled and predictable. Braking is excellent, there’s a nice progressive feel, and you can quickly bring the Sport under control when needed.
Even the eight-speed ‘auto box is decently smooth, there’s no rough jerking along everyday driving, and it even keeps the engine well hushed at motorway speeds. That’s in part due to extra sound insulation, as well as vibration damping in critical areas. There are also larger body mounts that help remove vibration from the engine and drivetrain.
Mitsubishi have done an excellent job at making the Shogun Sport a quiet place to be. Accelerating up to motorway speed is met with a faint diesel murmur from up front, and once up to speed, the only thing you can hear is a faint amount of wind noise.
Where the Shogun Sport really shines though is off-road. We headed into a live, working quarry to see what it could do. To add to the extremity of this, Mitsubishi had an off-road course bulldozed out for us, this wasn’t your run of the mill, tailor-made course. It was as realistic as you could get. The only change made to the car was some knobblier tyres as the rock was rather sharp, these can be specced as an option upon purchase.
A high ride height and taught overhangs give the Shogun Sport an approach angle of 30 degrees, breakover at 23.1 and a departure of 24.2. It’s more than capable when you depart the tarmac.
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Axle articulation, mud plugging, wading up to the full 700mm all passed without issue.
Flicking through the different modes along the way there is Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock. You also have the choice to select form 2H (two-wheel drive), 4H – a 40:60 split front to rear, 4HLc – which locks the centre diff to provide the best traction in snow or sand, and then finally there is 4LLc which uses low gearing.
You can also lock the rear diff in 4HLc and 4LLc when the going gets really tough.
Quality is unusually high on the inside, all of the dash plastics are of decent quality and soft touch for the most part. The only cheaper items to be found are the heated seat switches and the silver trim that’s located around the central tunnel.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as are the seven airbags and all the off road toys.
Both ‘3’ and ‘4’ trims come with leather seats and are both seven-seaters, those in the third row will have to be small though as rear headroom is pretty restricted along with legroom. Boot space in five-seat configuration measures in at 502 litres, which can be increased to 1,488 litres with the second row folded flat.
If that isn’t enough practicality for you, there’s also a commercial vehicle version that removes all the seats.
As a tool and a family lugger, the Shogun Sport is impressive. It’s super capable off-road, a real go anywhere machine, yet you could also pile in the five kids for a day out.
You may as well plump for the ‘4’ model too, it adds a host of safety tech including forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise, blind spot warning, all-around cameras an uprated stereo system and heated front seats.
The main competition comes from the Toyota Land Cruiser, that features a 2.8-litre diesel with 179 BHP but only 194 g/km of emissions. Sadly that tips the scales at £40,260 so incurs the premium yearly VED.