ROAD TEST: Why the Mitsubishi Shogun Sport is the motoring equivalent of a rugby forward
It's entirely fitting that Mitsubishi is the official performance partner of England Rugby. Why? Well, after a weekend behind the wheel of a Shogun Sport 4 on and off-road, the similarities between the company's flagship SUV and some of the elite players in the oval ball game have become increasingly apparent.
Not the fancy dans in the backs, though. Oh no, this car is definitely the equivalent of a rugged forward. It's big, tough, unpretentious and will tackle anything in its path. A muscular motorised Joe Launchbury, if you like.
As you approach the seven-seat Shogun, it certainly has a powerful presence. In smart Atlantic Grey sitting high on 18in alloy wheels, it would be equally at home in the country or doing the weekly supermarket shop.
Use the keyless entry button, climb in with the aid of side steps and pillar-mounted grab handles and you'll find a versatile, well-equipped cabin with plenty of space. The middle and rear seats fold down depending on how many passengers are on board and what you need to carry.
This may be a very practical vehicle (it can tow up to 3.1 tonnes), but there are touches of luxury too. The heated black leather seats are comfortable, with electric adjustment, and there's a 7in touchscreen with integrated DAB and Bluetooth connectivity - perfect for satnav or sounds. Dual zone climate control keeps you comfortable whatever the temperature outside.
Safety features include seven airbags, reversing cameras and sensors and a Forward Collision Mitigation System, which uses laser radar technology to detect the possibility of an impact and apply the brakes.
There are also useful blind spot warning indicators in the wing mirrors, plus rain sensor wipers and a reversing camera and park distance control.
A push of the start/stop button fires the all-aluminium, 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine into life. The Shogun Sport defaults to rear-wheel drive as a fuel-saving measure, but the Super Select system allows you to use a central rotary controller close to the gearlever to manually select four-wheel drive mode and tackle any terrain.
You can easily switch to 4x4 when towing or to add traction in slippery conditions, while there are also options to provide even more stability with a locked centre differential and a lowered gear ratio for climbing and descending steep inclines or powering through snow, mud and sand.
It all means that the Shogun Sport will effortlessly deal with whatever the British weather throws at it - and then come back for more.
On the road, the engine pulls well and column-mounted paddles let you override the auto box if you like control over gear changes. Acceleration is good for a big vehicle and the high driving position gives you great visibility and a sense of reassurance. For longer journeys, cruise control is there if you need it.
If you're looking for a practical, durable, dependable drive that can lug big loads, is as happy on Tarmac as it is in muddy fields and can carry up to seven passengers in comfort, then the Shogun Sport should be on your list.
You can explore the Shogun Sport by booking a test drive at Sparshatts Mitsubishi in Fareham. The dealership has a Shogun Sport 3 and a Shogun Sport 4 demonstrator for sale. Both in Atlantic Grey, they are £29,995 and £32,363 respectively.
For more information, call 01329 828727 or click here
MITSUBISHI SHOGUN SPORT – THE FACTS
Price new: From £37,775
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 11 seconds
CO2 emissions: 223g/km