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By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist

In 1982 Mitsubishi Motors Corporation launched a brand new breed of vehicle: a 4×4 which was tough enough to go where others feared to tread, yet enjoyed the sort of sophisticated specification more normally associated with top end saloons. More than thirty years later the Shogun is a living legend.

The 2015 Mitsubishi Shogun has a bold new front end, distinguished by a deeper more integrated grille and chic LED daytime running lights. The design changes for this year represent a progressive evolution of the hard-hitting Japanese off-roader.

Naturally, the Mitsubishi keeps its go-anywhere, self-assured and powerfully built presence. This is characterised by its short front overhang, upright windscreen, strong high flanks, flared wheel-arches and rear-mounted spare wheel. These are all key Shogun styling cues that underline its mud-plugging aptitude.

Indeed, standing next to the Shogun makes you feel pretty small. The vehicle is enormous and looks rather intimidating to drive. But once you haul yourself into the cabin, turn the key, select ‘Drive’ from the automatic gearbox and get rolling, any unease evaporates.

By no means is the brute always a delight to drive on the road though. Sure, it’s easy to point the Shogun down a motorway and stay there, but any cross winds do knock you about a bit. That’s no surprise as it’s a tall vehicle – and because of that you can also forget tearing around bends on country roads, unless you like lots of lean.

Instead, the new Mitsubishi Shogun is about muscle and ruggedness. The top of the range Long Wheel Base (LWB) SG4 model, on test here, pulls like a train with its 3.2-litre, 194bhp,four-cylinder diesel engine. 0-62mph arrives in 11.1 seconds and top speed is 112mph. More importantly it has low-ratio gearing and a differential lock to make sure you’ve got the best chance of getting it out of even the most challenging of non-tarmac situations.

The Mitsubishi Shogun is not only a giant of a 4×4, its cabin feels solidly screwed together and comes crammed with luxury features. As well as improved sound deadening, SG4 trim brings leather seats, Bluetooth, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a five-speed automatic gearbox.

Staying inside the cabin of the Shogun, its multifunction display has reams of information available. This includes a barometer and an altitude gauge, indicating that this is a vehicle that has motoring ability stretching way beyond a farmer’s field.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the large glass area provides first rate views of the road or rugged ground around you.  Rear seat space is colossal, and load capacity seems immeasurably big.

A third row of seats can be popped up too, turning the Shogun into a seven-seater. This is convenient if you’re taking a group of friends into the rough or you’ve got a posse of children you need to drop off at school.

Away from the much commented luxury soft-roaders, heavy-duty workhorses such as the Shogun have carved out a unique niche in the market where ability and dependability matter first and foremost.

Since a price decrease in July 2013 Shogun sales have gone from strength to strength. With its new design and improved specification, the Mitsubishi Shogun now offers even better value for money.

Fast facts

Max speed: 112mph
0-62 mph: 11.1 secs
Combined mpg: 33.2
Engine: 3200cc 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo diesel
Max. power (bhp): 194
Max. torque (lb/ft): 325
CO2: 224 g/km
Price: £37,489

Pros and cons

Pulls well

Off-road ability

Spacious

Visibility

On road manoeuvrability

Follow Tim on twitter @carwriteups www.carwriteups.co.uk

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