Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin

Test venue: Shropshire

The Cirencester-based Colt Car Company first introduced the new Shogun Pinin Warrior in March this year and the car has become a popular model in the Japanese manufacturer's all-terrain range. Mitsubishi have marketed the Pinin around the catch phrase 'big in the country, small in the city' to reflect its similarity to the range-topping Shogun.

The nimble little Pinin gets its name from striking Pininfarina styling. It is equally at home on the motorway or a town centre environment as it is on a narrow country lane in deepest Wales. The five-door 2.0-litre Warrior manual model I tested is priced at 16,999, although you will pay an extra 1000 for the automatic version. Prices for the 1.8-litre Equippe range start at 12,999.

The new Warrior features colour-keyed bumpers and a refined air grille. It is powered by a torquey and responsive 2.0-litre GDI engine and comes complete with an impressive array of standard accessories. My test model was equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, black leather seats, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), a CD player, side airbags, a roof spoiler, Titanium interior trim and front fog lights. It is available in either black or silver.

The entire Pinin range is powered either by 1.8 MPI ECI-Multi or 2.0-litre GDI engines. Both units conform to European Step III emission regulations. The 1.8-litre model features permanent four-wheel drive, although the diesel model is sold with Mitsubishi's SS4-l on demand four-wheel drive system. This enables the driver to switch between both two and four-wheel drive options up to 62 mph.

The 1.8 MPI engine delivers 113 bhp. That figure rises to 127 bhp for the 2.0-litre unit, which delivers an impressive 140 lb ft of torque and will take you to illegal speed territory in 10.2 seconds. Mitsubishi claims a top speed of 106 mph for the manual model and 103 mph for the automatic.

Fuel consumption figures vary between 23 mpg on the urban cycle rising to 35 mpg on the open road. An effective green GDI Eco light on the dashboard tells the driver when he is driving in lean burn or economy mode.

In an urban environment the Pinin drives very much like a conventional saloon car, with the added advantage of a raised driving position. Its dimensions mean it's easy to park in tight situations and there are limited blind spots to interfere with reversing procedures or to detract from all-round visibility.

The driving position is comfortable, the gearchange is precise in the manual model I tested in Shropshire recently and it is quite straightforward to switch into four-wheel drive should the weather take a turn for the worse this winter.

The Pinin pulls strongly in first gear and the gear ratios are nicely spread to allow for swift and comfortable progress. The Pinin does not suffer from some of the rattle, jar and choppy ride of other all-terrain vehicles, although cruising slowly in an urban environment or in traffic in second gear can become annoying. The accelerator pedal is particularly sensitive and the ride can become a little erratic.

The comfortable ride on the road is largely due to the use of front coil spring suspension and a five-link multi-suspension rear set-up with coil springs. The Pinin also features a front anti-roll stabiliser bar and a lower centre of gravity to reduce body roll and instability during cornering.

All Pinin models are sold with driver and passenger air bags, air conditioning, roof rails, central door locking and front electric windows. There is plenty of leg room for rear seat passengers and sufficient rear storage space to avoid the need for using the folding rear seat facility.

The Pinin was voted 'Best Compact 4x4' and 'Best Budget 4x4' by 4x4 Magazine in 2002. There's no doubting its all-round versatility, impressive pricing and on-road and off-road potential. The introduction of the five-door Warrior is sure to enhance its status in the Compact 4x4 market sector.

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
Holly House, Station Road, Newport,
Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7831 123153 (UK)

Email: ndppublicity@googlemail.com

Web: www.ndp-publicity.com

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