QUESTION: When does a treat become really special? Answer: When it is offered only occasionally.
Over the years, many motor manufacturers have proferred the proverbial treat to car buyers in the form of Special Editions. Some makers, at times tending to overdo things a little, making them almost a regular feature, while others take a more selective approach.
Mitsubishi has been in the UK 4x4 marketplace now for a couple of decades. The dependable, durable Shogun has performed well in the serious off-road sector since 1983, with the long wheelbase model, in particular, giving the likes of the Range Rover a good run for less money.
While the Shogun range was the subject of re-badging a couple of years back, with the introduction of the Classic, Equippe and Elegance trim levels, Mitsubishi has resisted the temptation to offer Shogun special editions - that is, until now.
As competition in the world of the 4x4 continues to accelerate, the serious off-roaders face a veritable army of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and the emergence of new mud pluggers, all seeking a piece of the action.
So, the Japanese off-road specialist has boosted the Shogun range with a trio of high profile Special Edition models, the Shogun Field, Shogun Warrior and the Shogun Sport Warrior, in a bid to head off the opposition at the pass.
Recently, I spent some time behind the wheel of the Shogun Warrior, a car which comes in three or five-door guise, designed, says Mitsubishi, to give the real "wow on wheels" factor to the motoring world in its black or silver livery.
My test car was the three-door option in black, casting a distinctive dark shadow from an imposingly high, firm-looking stance on the roadway.
The cabin is roomy enough. The high roof gives an airy feel to an interior in which access to the not ungenerous rear seating comes courtesy of a "walk-in" system although, despite the provision of a running board, the lack of grab handles may prove a handicap to some.
Mitsubishi has gone for an upmarket appearance to theinterior with titanium embellishment on the neat dashboard and window switches, leather trim for the upper door panels plus a distinctive Warrior logo worked into the floor mats to allay any doubts you may have regarding what you are driving.
There are a number of places in which to hide your bits and bobs, including an upper and lower glovebox and front door pockets, cupholders to service all seats, while the luggage bay houses a useful underfloor compartment to keep your things away from unwanted prying eyes.
The standard kit level on board is pretty generous with climate control, air conditioning, electrically adjustable, heated and flat-folding door mirrors, multi information display, electric front windows with one-shot open and close for the driver and cruise control leading the way.
In addition, in-car entertainment comes courtesy of a six-speaker stereo radio/CD with transmission via an element-type aerial in the rear windscreen, which should be a boon to people like yours truly, who have been victims of the bee-sting trophy hunters on more than one occasion.
Mitsubishi has provided the luxury of heated leather seating in the Warrior in a cabin where a slide adjustable centre armrest (which doubles as a storage box), tilt adjustable, leather-clad steering wheel and electrically adjustable pilot seat all combine to provide an agreeable driving position.
On the tarmac, the black liveried Shogun Warrior promotes a stylish image, chrome headlamp surrounds and attractively flared wheel arches adding a touch of street cred to its businesslike appearance.
The 24-valve 3.5-litre V6 petrol power source is mated to a five-speed auto box with clutchless manual shift facility and will ease you from 0-62mph in 11.7 seconds, towards a potential top speed, where legally allowable, of 115mph.
Ride quality is on the firm side and, while on the road, the Shogun Warrior responds well to a more sedate driving style. But, when the tarmac runs out, it really comes into its own with confidence-inspiring use of its off-road acoutrements, high and low ratio transfer box, good ground clearance and a tight turning circle.
Overall, this is a good effort by Mitsubishi to join the image makers by producing a more SUV-like Shogun and, while there is a price to pay in sub-20mpg fuel consumption, CO2 levels and therefore high BiK taxation for those who choose it as a company car, the Warrior will certainly bring a much more upmarket look to the rural scene.
Mitsubishi Shogun Warrior 3-dr
Mechanical: 200bhp, 3,497cc petrol engine driving all four wheels via 5-spd automatic gearbox
Max speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 11.7 secs
Combined mpg: 19.9
Insurance group: 16
CO2 emissions: 339g/km
BiK rating: 35%
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles; 6yrs anti-rust