Tuesday, 5 May 2015

REVIEW - Mistubishi Shogun SG4

I don’t have much use for a large 7-seater SUV myself, but there does seem to be a lot on the road. A lot do seem to be your usual suspects; Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Sport. But what about the Mitsubishi Shogun. The model has been around for a very long time, and is a very capable off-roader. The latest long-wheelbase version is rather large so should tick all the boxes in terms of space, and the SG4 model promises to offer a lot of equipment as standard. So I was rather looking forward to having one on the drive for a week. So is the Shogun a hidden gem? I wanted to find out…

Looks – 9/10

The Shogun has undergone a series of facelifts over the years, and for 2015 it has had a few more cosmetic tweaks. The exterior image is rather impressive to say the least. The first thing you notice is the sheer size of the car. It’s not so curvy, but instead opts for bold square-ness. It’s certainly a tough-looking car, with a striking front end. The bonnet is chest height for most people, which translates into quite the rear-view-mirror-filler. The 20-inch alloys really add to the exterior, and with the tinted windows and daytime running lights you get the premium touches too. The spare wheel on the tailgate and the side steps give a nod to the off-road capability, and the car looked surprisingly good in pearl white.

Inside the SG4 is a plethora of leather and luxury touches. Take the DVD screens in the headrests, which anyone with children would be grateful for. Best of all, the wood-effect trim is no longer anywhere in sight. Instead there’s gloss black and aluminium-effect trim which just massively changes the feel of the cabin, and was a much-needed improvement. The dials are nice and the large media screen sits nicely in the centre console. If I had any complaint it would be that some of the switchgear was a bit basic, such as the heated seat controls. And the trip meter looks like it hasn’t changed in years!

Handling/Performance – 8/10

The power plant under the bonnet of the Shogun is a 3.2-litre diesel engine. It has 4-cylinders and a turbocharger, offering up 197PS and a plentiful 441Nm of torque. The only gearbox available is a 5-speed automatic, although it is a rather smooth one which utilises the torque curve rather well. Power delivery is smooth, although I wouldn’t exactly describe the Shogun as nippy. The 0-62mph of time of 11.1 seconds and top speed of 112mph do leave a little to be desired but then again there is a lot of car to move. The overdrive in fifth gear means the diesel engine doesn’t have to work as hard on the motorway, which is a good thing because above 3,000rpm the diesel does become less smooth and more rattle.

The Shogun handles as you would probably guess from looking at it. Through town it rides well. On the motorway it’s comfortable. But show it a road with corners and all of a sudden you find the typical lean associated with tall cars such as this. And the steering isn’t the most direct either, so cornering isn’t a strong point for the Shogun. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t expect it to be. If you want to fly round country roads then go and buy a hot hatch. There is a selectable 4WD system which for the majority will run in rear-wheel-drive, but it is definitely reassuring to know that you can send power to all four wheels if conditions worsen.

Economy – 7/10

A downside of the Shogun’s size is that it gets through some fuel. The 3.2-litre engine isn’t designed to save the world, and the CO2 emissions of 224g/km will hit you hard in terms of road tax. For the Shogun that equals £640 for the first year, and £290 thereafter. Admittedly the first year will be hard to stomach, but £290 isn’t too bad when you consider just how much car you’re getting. Combined fuel consumption for the SG4 is 33.2mpg, and from spending a week with it I am happy to report that it will achieve these figures. Again you have to consider that you can have 7 people in this car and that a lot of its rivals will only offer similar figures, so the Shogun does alright here.

Practicality – 10/10

The Shogun is a car that offers more than you could ever want. For a family car, you would have no choice but to love it. For starters it seats 7 people. And although the rearmost seats are probably not the most comfortable option on a longer drive for an adult, for kids there’s more than enough room. And for the middle row passengers the entertainment system will be an absolute godsend. It even has an in-built games console which offer up some basic games to keep the kids happy. For the driver there’s cruise control, iPod connectivity, Bluetooth hands free, heated seats, climate control, satellite navigation and a reversing camera. Then there’s the selectable 4WD system, which ensures you can keep going should you find yourself in a sticky situation.

Fun – 8/10

I grew rather fond of the Shogun after spending a week with it. It might not be the most sophisticated of vehicles, and isn’t up there with a Range Rover in terms of quality and finish, but that didn’t stop it putting a smile on my face. Despite me being a petrol head who likes the handling of a nimble hot hatch, I have a soft spot for commanding road presence. The high driving position makes for nice motorway driving, and it feels good having to practically jump down from the Shogun in a car park. You rarely lose it as it simply towers above everything else. I also like the fact it’s less common than a Range Rover too, because it gives you a sense of exclusivity. And when the children have their headphones on and are quiet you will definitely be smiling.

Concluding Remarks

So that’s my week with the Shogun. I think Mitsubishi have done a good job with the styling, making it bold and rugged. The build quality is solid, and the engine is torquey. The list of standard equipment on the SG4 model is comprehensive to say the least, and the price for this range-topping model is £37,049. Initially this may seem like a lot, but I reckon that’s some £30,000 less than the equivalent Range Rover Sport. Admittedly the Rangey is a better car, but is it £30,000 better? I’m not so sure. And don’t think the Shogun is all show, because this is a capable off-roader as well. So after spending a week with the SG4 I was rather impressed. It’s definitely a hidden gem in the 7-seat SUV sector.

Total Score – 42/50

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