It may be most famous for its Evo rally cars but big, tough off-roaders have been a core part of Mitsubishi’s range for decades. The Mitsubishi Shogun Sport is the latest.
It’s based on the same separate chassis as the L200 pickup, albeit with an all-new multi-link rear suspension setup, rather than the truck’s leaf springs. There’s a low-range ‘box and locking rear differential, as well. All of which means it should be pretty much unstoppable off-road.
And so it proves to be. Even Millbrook’s difficult ‘black route’ didn’t tax it. The dry, sandy surface was slippery in places, but the Sport easily found traction. Ground clearance of 218mm isn’t all that much, so it might bottom out over bigger ruts and bumps. But it will wade through water 700mm deep and the suspension has a lot of travel. Body control proved to be good, with no lurching about as the terrain rose and fell. And the steering is light and accurate.
The engine has enough torque that little more than a tickle of throttle was needed on all but the steepest slopes. The automatic gearbox coped well, too. There are various modes for different types of surface and the Super-Select II four-wheel-drive can be switched between rear- and four-wheel-drive at up to 62mph.
Brakes are strong and easy to modulate. Indeed, the hill descent control isn’t really necessary.
There’s room for seven inside, though the third row of seats is only suitable for children. Everyone else gets tons of space. With that third row in place, the boot is tiny. With the seats folded into the floor, it’s massive. And positively van-like with the second row folded down. Indeed, there is a van version in the Shogun Sport range. Towing capacity is a useful 3.1 tons.
Material quality isn’t up the standards of more car-like rivals, but they’ll be well able to cope with the rigours of a working life. The gadget cupboard comes well stocked in this top-grade Shogun Sport 4, and the dashboard is well laid out.
I only got a brief, low-speed drive on a sealed surface, where the Shogun Sport couldn’t hide its truck-based underpinnings. The engine is gruff, the ride is bouncy and there’s quite a lot of wind and road noise.
The Shogun Sport is unlikely to tempt urban families out of their Kia Sorentos and Volkswagen Tiguans. But for those in need of a family-friendly SUV that can work for its living, hauling heavy stuff across rough terrain, it’s well worth a look.
Model tested: Mitsubishi Shogun Sport 2.4D 4 Auto 4WD Type: Big rugged off-roader Price: £39,840 Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel Power: 181hp Torque: 317lb/ft Transmission: 8-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive Performance: 0-62mph in 11.0secs, top speed 112mph Economy: 32.8mpg combined, Co2 emissions 227g/km Length: 4,785mm Width: 1,815mm Height: 1,805mm Weight: 2,105kg Boot capacity: 131l seats up, 1,488l seats down Towing weight: 3,100kg Rivals: Toyota Land Cruiser, Ssangyong Rexton, any double-cab pickup