Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- A good looking car
- Practical and spacious
- Great off-road abilities
- Not as confident on roads and streets
- Cheap interiors for the price tag
Approaching the Millennium, Mitsubishi Motors found itself under an increased pressure from competing off-road vehicle manufacturers. Instead of just upgrading the classic Shogun, it was decided to create an entirely new car that was stronger and safer. Although the 2nd generation Shogun couldn't be considered a prestige 4x4, the 3rd generation was designed with a hint of luxury.
Exterior and Interior
Although the 2nd generation Shogun was still a very popular car, the increased competition in the 4x4 market meant that Mitsubishi had to upgrade their veteran. The famous Italian design studio Pininfarina was commissioned to carry out the design. It seems they've done a great job. The car looks modern and dynamic. Although it was created by Italians, they've managed to keep its distinctively Japanese image, which many customers find charming.
The Shogun finally dropped the classic body on frame configuration and received a monocoque body just like the other mainstream off-roaders. The exterior is not as refined as in a Toyota Land Cruiser but it is still a good effort and the car has certainly moved upmarket since the previous Shogun generation.
Not only upmarket, it has also become larger. The short wheel base version has extra 5 inches in its wheel base. It is now significantly wider, but it has been lowered to aid the aerodynamics. There was very little to be excited about in the older Shogun, apart from its utilitarian value and off-road capabilities, whereas the 3rd generation vehicle is more comfortable and overall a much nicer car. Improvements, however, do come at a price.
Performance and Economy
Considering the Shogun is competing with the Land Rover Discovery and is expected to provide great off-road capability, the high-rev petrol engines don't quite suit the car's image. If you don't anticipate doing much in the way of off road activities, and you don't mind paying extra, the 3.5-litre petrol engine is a good choice. What's not so good is the fuel consumption, it only returns 21mpg.
The large 3.2-litre diesel is more efficient. It delivers 29mpg and is ideally suited for a large 4x4 like the Shogun.
The Mitsubishi engineers have put a strong emphasis on electronic assistance systems. They take this obsession to a new level with the 2003 facelifted Shogun. The car features a system called EBAC ‐ it helps descending down a slope. Although the die-hard off-roaders prefer to descend without assistance, it is often dangerous, especially considering the terrains they often try to conquer. The EBAC detects the moment when one of the wheels loses traction and prevents it from spinning.
Another system called MASC monitors the car to detect it spinning out of control. It simultaneously looks at the cruising speed, steering angel and body roll. If a dangerous situation is detected, the car will adjust the engine load and braking accordingly.
There's also the MATC ‐ it replaces a transaxle differential and re-distributes torque when one of the wheels loses traction. Luckily, the Shogun is still available with the classic mechanical transaxle differential and that's what the serious off-roaders choose.
Like to Drive
It's a good, strong car and it really tries to claim ruling the both worlds, it wants to be the king of the road and the dirt. Although its off-road ability is undoubted, the suspension doesn't perform well enough to provide a great drive quality in a city or highways. It's not bad, but you'd expect more for a car that costs so much more than its predecessor. On a positive side, its steering is very light and the turning radius is much shorter than with other large 4x4s. This helps to make city driving less of a headache.
Faults and Repairs
The Shogun is a solidly built car. It is reliable and doesn't bother its owner with serious faults. The auto gearbox may be an area of concern especially if it has been used off road a lot.