A week of mixed farming work provided the ideal opportunity to test the latest Mitsubishi Shogun Sport.
Following the phasing out of the full fat Shogun earlier this year, Mitsubishi’s large SUV mantel is now in the hands of the Shogun Sport; a slimmer, edgier, more dynamic version compared to its former heavy duty stablemate.
Three versions of the latest Shogun Sport are available – Sport 3, Sport 4 and Sport Commercial – all sharing the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 181hp, and eightspeed automatic transmission.
Our test subject was the highest spec Sport 4, boasting radar distance control, adaptive cruise control, 360 degree parking cameras, hill descent control and the ability to support both Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
Sharing family styling and a chassis with the recently launched L200 pickup, its high stance and angular looks make it look fit for purpose. While this does make it a bit of a climb to get into, it does mean that this car is capable of genuine off road work and can tackle less than ideal surfaces.
Stock checking across wet fields and valleys put the Shogun Sport’s tractive capabilities to the test, not to mention its wading depth of 700mm.
Its hill descent control works well too, and it is relatively nimble, more so than its boxy stature suggests.
The car effectively has four traction modes, accessed via a dial in the centre console – 2WD high, 4WD high, 4WD high with centre differential locked and 4WD low with centre differential locked.
The first two modes can be flicked between on the move, while selecting the latter two requires the car to be stationary.
When using one of the two diff-lock modes, one of four driving scenarios can be selected – gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock. Once selected, the Shogun Sport’s engine output, transmission settings and braking adjust accordingly.
On-road, the suspension is supple enough to absorb Britain’s potholeriddled highways, but just stiff enough to avoid any excessive body roll.
Up front, its 2.4-litre motor is quite a vocal, revvy engine. We would not call it sporty, but it gets the job done with little mither, which goes a long way to making the most of its 3,100kg (braked) towing capacity.
Not including towing, our average fuel consumption regularly hit a respectable 32mpg, which is not a million miles off the manufacturer’s claimed combined figure.
There is no manual option, but its automatic gearbox is smooth.
A downside is it can be a bit indecisive at times, mainly on winding country roads, as it can struggle to decide which gear to be in mid-corner.
To overcome this, you can put it into ‘flappy paddle’ mode, but eight gears will keep your hands busy. Also, let’s be realistic – this is a 4x4, not a roadster.
Driving position is more car like compared to a large SUV, being much more laid out than bolt upright. On the whole, the electric seat adjustment allows you to tailor the seat to how you like it, but it does lack lumber support.
Interior styling also seems to have triumphed over practicality, as the sculpted rails either side of the centre console do eat into leg space.
This said, the switchgear layout of the Shougun Sport is pretty much spot on, leaving you in little doubt as to what all the buttons and knobs do.
A slight afterthought, especially when compared to the more premium feel of its primary controls, is the bank of random buttons in the lower portion of the centre console which look after things like rear fan and heated seats.
Steering wheel buttons are logically laid out, with infotainment controls to the left and car controls to the right.
Likewise, the dash is a tried and tested combination of clear, large dials and a LED centre section.
Information viewed in the latter can be scrolled through, which also includes a mark out of five for economical driving. If nothing else this will provide some mild competition on long journeys between driver changes.
As infotainment systems go, the Shogun Sport’s works well and is mega easy to use.
Its touchscreen is responsive and navigation is intuitive without having to trudge through too many layers. However, it could do with a more comprehensive physical navigation method, useful for when on the move.
It does have controls for this on the steering wheel, but these are limited to what they can do.
Rather than feature its own in-built sat-nav, you can simply pair your phone with it and use Google maps, for example. It handles multiple device pairings well, and its 510-watt sound system is enough to drown out the kids.
Rear seat configurations are plentiful, with a rear folding mechanism enabling the Shogun Sport to be converted into a seven- seater in seconds. Those occupying these two rear seats get a decent amount of space, too.
With all five rear seats folded, the resulting area becomes a useful flatbed.
However, the spare wheel and folded flat rear seats impact on the depth of boot space and result in a ‘step’ to navigate as you load up.