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Faithful to its off-road roots.

Byline: Steve Orme

THIS month, as the water lapped about our feet, a group representing developers refused on the grounds of cost to 'soften' future home building through landscaping and surface draining cleverness.

This is great news for anyone wishing to imitate Kevin Costner and grow webbed toes and attractive new gills.

For the rest of us it has put a bit of a dampener on the new year.

Of course the other alternative is not to build on flood plains. The clue is in the name.

Look, if you built on top of a mountain you would expect great views and an angry postman.

A home in the desert obviously demands a good strong Dyson cleaner and if you owned a house in the Arctic circle a barbecue and hot tub in the garden would not be a priority.

So if you live in a house with a resident duck population expect trench foot.

The recent appalling weather has at least brought self-satisfied smugness to those with the foresight to buy a 4x4.

Trouble is that a lot of these are crossovers which while coping well with moderate conditions come nowhere near the rugged abilities of the full-fat version.

If you really want to know what a modern transfer box and chassis engineering is capable of drive something which, should it be stolen, will end up in the backdrop of a live news report from Mogadishu.

Insomuch as it could probably subjugate a small cocaine republic single handed, I suggest a look at the Mitsubishi Shogun, above.

Unlike the Range Rover, which the Shogun once outshone for comfort and smoothness, Mitsubishi has forsaken the limousine road and stayed faithful to its renowned off-road roots.

So forget that acceleration is little more than a trickle at 11.1 seconds to 62mph, or that the 3.2-litre diesel is not the smoothest or quietest on Tarmac or that although promising 32mpg the test car pleaded its own guilt by posting 26mpg on its computer, this is a car which can lay low the mountains of the earth.

We are not playing games here, all models have low ratios and diff locks. Happy hours lie ahead conquering all that nature can throw at the Shogun. Even potholed Britain.

Ground clearance is good and there are no departure angle issues. Go west young man, not to mention south, north and east.

On top of that among those who appreciate such things, there is the matter of style and desirability.

For country sports and rampant agricuturalism there is a ready demand.

The entry level SG2 five-door cost PS25,600 and comes with most rural life needs.

The model I drove was a SG4 auto which costs PS36,800 and comes fully fitted at a price some want for a pick-up.

Equipment includes all the expected entertainment and climate electricals, automated lights, reversing camera and leather upholstery along with a rear seat dual -DVD set up. Oh, and the option of either acres of boot space or using the third row of seats.

The off road intentions of the Shogun are also reflected in the cabin. It is clear that the car is expected to earn its living and while the materials are not as classy as others it is practical and clearly tough as a rubber chicken.

The Shogun isn't a cheap car even with some sales-boosting finance and price cut offers.

It's in the top company car tax bracket at 35% and that fuel bill won't be small.

Conversely it will last a lifetime and be trouble free. I know, I have one still going strong after 15 years.

So, go anywhere and do anything is Shogun's proud boast. It will wade, plug mud and climb debris. Just the job until all terrain vehicles include boats.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2014
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