Such hardy traits are very important to hardcore owners of Mitsubishi SUVs; the company estimates that, from the 18,500 examples of the previous Shogun Sport sold in the UK between 2000 and 2007, an impressive 12,000 are still in active service.
Understanding the Shogun Sport's most appealing aspect
Mitsubishi is confident that it can sell 3000-3500 Shogun Sports per year in the UK in what is a growing large SUV market. However, perhaps more so than some rivals’ models, Shogun Sport customers will be quite singular of purpose; it is estimated that about 90% of Shogun Sports will be specified with a tow bar. The car has a claimed braked trailer towing capacity of 3.1 tonnes, narrowly eclipsing the claimed hauling muscle of a key rival, the Toyota Land Cruiser.
Just two trim levels are being offered, both with the same technical package: a 2.4-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder that produces 179bhp and 317lb ft, mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Don’t expect to find an electrified powertrain here any time soon; Mitsubishi chiefs are adamant that, for now, only diesel can offer the power and torque needed to tow, go off road and/or carry seven.
The Shogun Sport 3 costs from £37,775 and comes with 18in alloy wheels, leather seats all round, LED lights, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, privacy glass, automatic lights and windscreen wipers and a touchscreen infotainment system with a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The top-spec 4, which starts at £39,775 and is expected to be chosen by three-quarters of Shogun Sport buyers, adds — among other items — heated front seats, an uprated audio system and adaptive cruise control.
Inside the Shogun Sport
It doesn’t take long to look beyond the bold exterior design, which is redolent of the most contemporary of smaller models in Mitsubishi’s SUV family such as the Eclipse Cross, to determine that underneath the Shogun Sport puts an emphasis firmly on good old-fashioned functionality.
The generous clearance between the tyres and wheel arches emphasises as much, as do the pillar-mounted grab handles, which aren’t just for show; many occupants will find they actually require these to haul themselves up into the elevated cabin.
The middle and rear rows tumble forward and fold down via a yank of toggles and levers, but the various seat sections are quite cumbersome and bulky, and manipulating the seating arrangement isn’t a particularly intuitive process.
When you do get everything folded down, there’s a 1488-litre load space, although in terms of usability the floor that’s formed by the folded seat backs isn’t completely flat. The rear wheel arches encroach into the available space on either side but nevertheless there’s a decent metre-wide space to play with.
In five-seat configuration, there’s a 502-litre boot, but with all seven seats upright there’s only a slim, upright 131-litre space for storage. Although the Shogun Sport isn’t alone in offering such a small space in this format, its boot space in five-seat layout is more than 100 litres down on a Kia Sorento’s and is even more stingy compared with a Ssangyong Rexton’s load capacity.
At least the rearmost pair of seats in the Shogun Sport should prove suitable for all but very large adults, unlike the chairs in some ‘5+2’ rivals. There is plenty of knee room back there, although the seats place their occupants in a slightly cramped sitting position, with knees drawn up and close to the body — this could prove uncomfortable during longer journeys.