It was immediately after World War 2 that the commercial 4X4 came into being. The Civilian Jeep (CJ) models served America’s rural needs and in the UK, Rover’s Managing Director saw his own ex-army Willys Jeep as a basis for a potential export earner for Rover Cars. This “Land Rover” was born in 1948 and as the saying goes, the rest is history. The Japanese giants of Toyota and Nissan then dominated world markets through the second-half of the 20th Century but Mitsubishi had built its first 4X4 vehicle in 1928; it’s no new-boy. The Shogun came to the UK as a mid-range workhorse, not as luxurious as a Range Rover, but more comfortable than a Land Rover and has ploughed this middle furrow ever since. Like the Fourtrak, Terrano and even Land Rover’s own Discovery its commercial variant is merely the passenger model with the rear seats removed and opaque rear side glazing, rather than a bespoke commercial such as the Defender. It works well, is a cheap solution, retains the car-like feel and simplifies servicing and parts.

Since it’s an adaptation load volume and paylaod trail bespoke vans but with up to 1.8 metres of load length and 755 kgs of payload in the LWB 5-door version, it’s not at all bad. Add to this a 3,500 Kgs towing capacity and the 4Work nomenclature seems valid. Loadspace height and the rear door width hover just above the one-metre mark but that would be missing the point. The Shogun is not a pallet delivery van, it’s for trades people working off the beaten track or all year round. The 3.2-litre diesel turbo and 4WD system excel here. Sure the big four-pot is pretty lumpy next to a Discovery TDV6 and despite multi-modes the 4WD system cannot match Land Rover’s in using low-ratio on tarmac for trailer manoeuvring.

VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Service Agency lists just one recall on the Shogun of this era proving its quality reputation is deserved. It relates to either passenger vehicle or commercial derivatives. The recall is number  R/2008/004 dated 07/01/2008 and relates to “drive shaft securing nuts may loosen” and covers vehicles built between 01/05/2007and 31/10/2007 but no VIN numbers are recorded. A few reliability issues outside of this relate more to usage; rear dampers can become tired easily if high payloads are the norm, and one or two electrical glitches relating the automatic transmission and central locking have come to light. However, as with all of these things it can be isolated and often down to operator abuse, so the general quality seems high. As ever, main dealer service history is worth far more than a bit less mileage on the clock, but check thoroughly underneath for signs of off-road abuse and wear on the inner edges of the rear tyres which can indicate over-loading.

Second-hand buys

The Shogun 4Work seems to be most common in 3-door SWB form and the used van locator reflects this, but one or two LWB 5-doors cropped up too.  For starters what about a 2007  57-plate SWB Equippe with 140,000 miles on it for at £5,295 or for a straight seven-grand a 2008 SWB with 103,000 miles under its belt. Just under eleven thousand buys a SWB 2010 59-plater with 70,000 miles on the clock. If you need more space a tidy 2011 LWB 5-door can be yours for £11,500 having previously seen 86,000 miles.