You don’t have to be a petrolhead to realise that a lot of cars look pretty much the same these days. And I don’t just meet the corporate ‘branding’ either.
The worst offenders are in the SUV sector. There’s only so much you can do to a five-seater with four-wheel drive and boot space to make it style differently.
Which is probably why the ageing looks of the Shogun actually give it a bit of kudos these days. All those curves and muscle-bound wheel arch extensions – it’s a throwback to the turn of the century.
I’ve surprised myself with a growing liking for the Mitsubishi parked outside this week. It’s not an angular beast like many utility vehicles. I like it because it does stand out from the crowd and stay true to Shogun roots.
Back in London for a meal at the Australian Embassy tonight. My trousers are still busting from yesterday’s afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel, in Kensington. You haven’t been? It’s like stepping back in time – amazing.
The Shogun and I have trundled up to Maida Vale to catch the Tube down to the Strand later. Oddly I’m parked next to an exact replica – except it’s a three-door Shogun, with wrecked alloys from serving it’s time in the capital.
The Shogun isn’t really cut out for high-speed motorway work. It’s noisy when pushed hard, although it it one of the few places where the inadequate chassis isn’t upsetting the ride quality.
Will I miss the Mitsubishi? Possibly. It gets under your skin after a while. The Shogun has retro charm and the styling is distinctive. I know that it will cope with anything I want it to do off-road and that 3.2 four-cylinder engine will keep going and going for years.
However, although it competes well with the likes of Land Rover and BMW on price, I think I want my SUV to be a little more well-mannered on the road – and visually more appealing both inside and out.
You could never accuse the Shogun of being a ‘Chelsea tractor’ – which is exactly where I am today. I saw a posse of them in Gloucestershire on the drive up this morning but not a single one around Sloane Square.
The Mitsubishi was always aimed at the country set and it sold incredibly well because it was robust and great in the mud. The problem now is that even the green weepy brigade prefer a car that can tow a horse box AND be a luxury people-mover too.
Which means that while the Shogun can’t compete with the upmarket Porsche Cayennes and Range Rovers (even though it is much cheaper than both), there are also loads more 4x4s on the market today that cost less than Shogun – and are just as good!
My advice? If you are after a Shogun for its mud-plugging ability, go for the entry-level versions and not the luxurious SG4. Three door versions start at just over £26k, and the five door at £28.5k. Now that’s good value for money.
The devil is in the detail and after four days in the Shogun, I’ve compiled a list of minor irritants which potential buyers might want to consider before opening their wallets. None of them are major but they are the sort of issues you only discover after owning the car for a few days – and perhaps not on a ten minute test drive!
Adult passengers sitting in the back can’t get their feet under the front seats unless the electric height adjustment is raised. You can, however, recline the rear seats.
The side-hinged, rear-door is very heavy because the rear wheel is attached to it. It also sounds incredibly ‘tinny’ when you slam it shut. This is not a Land Rover.
Steering is vague at the best of times. There have been a number of ocasions when I have steering into a low speed corner and had to correct my line. It’s obviously more noticeable at higher speeds.
There are an assortment of rattles! Our SG4 is the top spec model but has only covered 17,000 miles. It’s surprised how much noise vibrates from the interior.
The Shogun does not have a DAB radio, which is kind of odd considering it cost £37k.
I left my wallet in London last week. It’s safe but I won’t see it again until Wednesday and the prospect of being without cash or a Visa card for five days is something of a nail-biter. Not least, do I have enough fuel in the Shogun to see me through?
The SG4 model is claimed to average 33mpg but just like every other car sold in this country, it’s impossible to get within a gnat’s crochet of the official figures. I don’t entirely blame Mitsubishi for this – it’s just totally misleading for the car buying public when they look at the figures and calculate their own future fuel costs.
The manufacturers would argue that all cars are now tested on the same level playing field for fuel consumption, so it is the fairest method. I would would still say that there has to be a better way to give motorists an accurate figure!
So despite a light right foot since discovering the wallet missing, I’m only achieving only 27.4mpg. And I’d like to think that I can drive fairly economically when required after all these years of testing cars. We are being mislead but nobody seems to want to do anything about it…
If you want to ogle some serious, heavy-duty vehicles, head down to Gatcombe Horse Trials. The event is well under way today in Gloucestershire and it’s packed with mud-splattered, off-road exotica.
You might think the Cotswolds is prime territory for Land Rover but Mitsubishi has a strong following here – partly thanks to the company being based in Cirencester. Yep, Waitrose car park is rammed full of them.
Mitsubishi has made subtle changes to the Shogun over the years but it still instantly recognisable. These days the styling looks outdated and even in its most luxurious form, lags behind the rest.
People who buy a Shogun aren’t generally looking for street chic, they want something that will handle a horse box and plenty of go-anywhere ability. That’s where the Shogun scores – boosted by an extensive equipment list that you won’t find on a similarly priced, entry-level Discovery, for example.
Unfortunately, first impressions of the Shogun reveal it feels cumbersome and heavy, with rather vague steering. All that off-road ability means that it’s compromised on-road. And with many of its rivals offering a better combination of both, the big Mitsubishi doesn’t feel like the king of the road anymore…