19 June 1998

SWB SHOGUN GETS MORE DIESEL BEEF

WHEN car manufacturers have new vehicles in the offing, their outgoing models are often facelifted to provide fresh appeal during the interim period – and this is just what Mitsubishi has done with its now long-in-the-tooth Shogun range, writes Geoff Ashcroft.

The current rounded style of the Japanese marque has been around since 1991 so it comes as no surprise to learn the Shogun has received a significant steroid injection to its front and rear wings, as well as built-in running boards and improved overall specification.

And along with the bodywork enhancements, the firm has now fitted its 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine from the five-door Shogun into the short wheelbase, three-door model and its this model which farmers weekly recently put through its paces.

Upping the power from the 98hp, 2.5-litre to the 123hp, 2.8-litre motor could be perceived as a positive measure on such a short wheelbase vehicle – performance of the five-door version was never great but with a more powerful engine, there was initial hope for the stunted Shogun.

But dont expect a high-performance oil burner. The load-lugging characteristics for the short wheelbase 2.8 are good – providing you put the load on a trailer because it wont fit behind the rear seats – but its 0-62 time is reassuringly mellow, and after a few miles behind the wheel, the initial urgency of 123 turbodiesel horses soon dissipates into more of a Sunday afternoon calming effect.

While most of the changes to this Shogun are external, the 98-spec does benefit from goodies such as passenger side air-bag, leather trimmed steering wheel and of course, Mitsubishis diamond option pack – though it still doesnt lift the plastic-feel of the interior.

The verdict: Destined to appeal to the Chelsea tractor brigade, the three-door Shogun still disappoints slightly in the performance stakes. Styling is bold but not completely aesthetically pleasing and after seven years of the current model, perhaps its time to welcome the Shoguns replacement.

A sheep in wolfs clothing? Short wheelbase Shogun get more power but performance is still relatively tranquil.

SHOGUN DATA

&#8226 Model: Shogun 2.8GLS, three-door.

&#8226 List price: £23,200.

&#8226 Engine: 123hp, 2.8-litre, four-cylinder, turbo intercooled diesel.

&#8226 Top speed: 97mph.

0-62mph: 15sec.

&#8226 Test fuel consumption: 24.7mpg.

&#8226 Insurance group: 13.