IF you are seriously planning to go on the pull, Mitsubishi’s square-jawed Shogun has it all.

Bold, muscular and stylish, the Shogun has the heavyweight credentials to back up its macho looks.

Changes made to this year’s model mean an improvement in standard equipment and comfort, better fuel consumption from the 3.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and a 20 per cent drop in emissions.

But it is the built-in frame monocoque chassis that sits under the bodywork, combined with a tough four-wheel-drive system and front wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, which gives the Shogun its rounded, rugged ability.

Its pulling power is truly awesome with the five-door test model having a braked towing capacity of 3,500kg, making it a favourite for people towing caravans, horse trailers, boats and the like.

Couple that with its abilities to cope in the toughest off-road conditions and it is easy to see why it has won so many friends.

On the road, Mitsubishi’s flagship is composed, calm and quiet, but while many 4x4s spend the vast majority of their life on the straight, smooth and narrow, the Shogun offers the prospect of far more adventurous motoring.

That hint of a more exotic life off-road is underlined by the fitting of both an altimeter and a barometer to all models.

But it is the small lever to the left of the centre console that offers the real passport to adventure. It allows the selection of four driving modes – rear-wheel drive, full-time four-wheel drive, a setting that locks up the centre differential when the going gets tough, and a final setting for seriously extreme, low-ratio off-road work.

Priced from about £25,000 for the three-door, entry-level SG2 model, the Shogun comes in either three-door five-seat, or five-door seven-seat versions, and a choice of four trim levels.

The three-door and five-door Shogun models have distinctly different styling, with a chunkier, sportier three-door model and a more family-oriented five-door Shogun, with a third row of seats, which lie beneath the floor of the boot.

As well as an array of standard safety equipment including stability and traction control, twin front, side and curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes, the SG2 model has standard alarm and keyless entry, climate control, 18-inch alloy wheels and a leather-covered multi-function steering wheel.

The long wheelbase test model in SG3 trim packs in some luxurious pieces of equipment from a Rockford Fosgate 860W 12-speaker audio system, powered sunroof and high-intensity discharge headlights with washers and automatic levelling, to rear air conditioning, automatic headlights, rain sensors and privacy glass.

The 2012 Shogun is very much an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary model, and Shogun fans will love it.

Auto facts Mitsubishi Shogun LWB 3.2

  • Price: £37,999
  • Insurance group: 33 (1-50)
  • Fuel consumption (Combined): 33.2mpg
  • Top speed: 111mph
  • Length: 490cm/192.9in
  • Width: 187.5cm/73.8in
  • Luggage capacity: 23.4 cu ft (five seats in place)
  • Fuel tank capacity: 19.3 gallons/88 litres
  • CO2 emissions: 224g/km
  • Warranty: 3 years/unlimited mileage