Need to transport seven people in comfort across harsh terrain? Few do it better than the Shogun Sport. Plenty of alternatives are better to drive on road and nicer inside, though
Mitsubishi is a manufacturer well known for its off-roading heritage and the new Mitsubishi Shogun Sport takes it very seriously indeed. Because, while other large seven seat SUVs such as the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe claim to be good off-road, the Shogun Sport’ will actually take you even further into the undergrowth.
Only one engine option is available, a turbocharged 2.4-litre diesel engine producing 181hp, but despite its tough stance, Mitsubishi is pitching the Shogun Sport as a more luxurious off-roader. As such, there are only two trims levels called 3 and 4, both of which come loaded with equipment. As standard are things like leather seats, a touchscreen infotainment system and LED headlights, while 4 adds features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera. Prices start at £37,775 for 3 models and £39,775 for the 4.
All cars come with electric front seats and lots of wheel adjustment for a comfy driving position, although the driver’s seat will be set a little high for some taller drivers. Still, visibility all-round is good and the front space on offer is superb.
That goes for the middle row seats, too, where tall adults will find a generous amount of head and leg room and the outside pews get isofix mounts. To top it off, two adults are able to sit in the rearmost sixth and seventh seats without complaining, which can just about be achieved in a Sorento, but certainly not in a Discovery Sport. With all seven seats up, there’s enough boot space for a couple of weekend bags, but with the rearmost seats folded away flat – while there’s room for a couple of large suitcases – you’ll get more luggage in a Sorento or Sante Fe. Still, at least access to the Shogun Sport’s boot is very good.
Sadly, the standard infotainment system feels a little dated. DAB radio and Bluetooth both feature, but the 7.0-inch touchscreen is a little slow to respond and not particularly bright or sharp to look at, while you might be surprised there’s no option for a built-in sat-nav. Mitsubishi argues that few people rely on these systems, and that the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included is more useful to the majority.
Quality, too, is a disappointing compared with the likes of a Sorento or Santa Fe, and especially next to a Discovery Sport. There are soft touch materials higher up the dash and doors, but lower down you’ll find a sea of scratchy plastics and cheap-feeling switches, although given the Shogun Sports off-road intentions that won’t worry too many potential buyers.
The Shogun Sport has an old-school ladder chassis and a locking rear diff making it superb on the rough stuff. The trade-off is an agricultural feel on road
On road, the Shogun Sport isn’t as impressive as the Kia or Hyundai, and some way behind a Land Rover Discovery Sport. Its steering is slow, there’s plenty of body lean and cornering quickly isn’t particularly pleasant, although the Shogun Sport, with its more advanced rear suspension, is better in this regard than the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up on which it is based.
Don’t expect the Shogun Sport to ride as comfortably than these rivals around town, either. It struggles to smooth out broken Tarmac and bounces over potholes and manhole covers, but get some speed up on the motorway and it lopes along with more composure. Mitsubishi’s diesel engine is strong and works fairly well with the standard eight-speed gearbox, but there are quieter diesel alternatives on sale.
Of course, head off road and the Shogun Sport comes into its own. It’s steeply raked front and rear ends make attacking steep inclines a breeze, there’s strong four-wheel traction up wet slopes and a low-range gearbox and lockable rear differential for tricky low-speed sections. You’re equipped with hill descent control and gravel, mud/snow, rock and sand driving modes too, and the Shogun Sport comes with a hefty 3.1-tonne towing limit.
Euro NCAP hasn’t yet tested the Shogun Sport, but all models get seven airbags and hill-start assist. Step up to 4 trim and more advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning and a 360-degree camera all come included.
There are good reasons to consider Shogun Sport, then. It’s well equipped when compared with its rivals are the same price, will leave most for dead off-road and is a genuine seven-seater. You’ll just need to accept that it feels old-school to drive on-road and can’t compete with rivals when it comes to interior quality or infotainment.
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