From December 2010 issue

List price when tested: £34,999
Kerbweight: 2300kg
85% match: 1955kg
Max towing weight: 3500kg
Towball limit: 135kg
30-60mph: 13.6seconds
30-0mph: na

IT’S A BIG OLD beast, the Mitsubishi Shogun. With a kerbweight of well over two tonnes it will happily tow just about any caravan.

The 3.2-litre engine means it has the muscle to do the job, too, putting out 197bhp and 325lb.ft of torque. Hitched up to a Sprite Quattro with a Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass of 1569kg the Shogun accelerated from 30-60mph in 13.6 seconds. We’ve tested plenty of quicker towcars over the years, but the Shogun’s engine feels like it will never give up.

Vague steering under pressure

The hill start test was easy enough, in first gear and reverse. However, the Shogun let itself down badly in our emergency lane-change test. Even at low speeds the car leaned heavily and vague steering gave the driver little idea what was going on at the front wheels. At higher speeds the front tyres ran out of grip and the back of the car began to be shoved off line by the caravan.

To be fair, this is a deliberately extreme manoeuvre. On the public road we encountered no such problems, and at motorway speeds we were happy with the Shogun’s stability.

With or without a caravan on the back, though, the Shogun’s ride is unsettled over bad surfaces. What’s more, the engine is noisy when really put to work.

On the other hand, this is a practical car with a roomy, seven-seat cabin. There are air vents to blow cool air at passengers in all three rows, something the kids will be glad off on hot days. Although luggage space is poor with all seven seats occupied, stow the rearmost seats and there’s plenty of room.

There’s a lot of luxury kit as standard, all at a reasonable price.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 2/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 3/5

Verdict: 3/5 – Big, heavy and practical but disappointing to drive.

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