22 September 1995

CUT-PRICE BUT

IT DOESNT

DISAPPOINT

In this months Country Car Andrew Faulkner finds out whether less is more in Mitsubishis budget Shogun, the GLX, while Peter Jones takes a drive in a diesel-powered version of Rovers mid-range 600. We also compare the Land Rover Discovery Commercial with an old farming favourite, the Land Rover 90 turbodiesel

PRESTIGE 4×4 motoring in the UK tends to mean either Range Rover, Land Cruiser or Shogun. One is from Solihull, the other two the Orient. All vehicles represent off-roading in opulence for the driver and a hefty payout for the buyer.

But whereas Land Rover and Toyota have retained their lofty price tags – £29,475 for the entry level Classic and £29,630 for the Land Cruiser GS – Mitsubishi has made recent efforts to bring its product more within reach.

Earlier this year the firm introduced lower spec GLX versions of both its long and short wheelbase turbodiesels. The three-door 2.5-litre is priced at £18,879 and the 2.8 five-door at £22,595.

So what has been sacrificed and at what cost? FW tested the lowliest Shogun, the three-door GLX, to find out.

The answer is, not much. All too often a lower spec version of an established favourite brings disappointment; costs cut to such an extreme that the essence of the original is lost.

Not Mitsubishi. The company has managed to retain most of the Shoguns strengths – solid build quality, cabin comfort and assured on-road performance – and still knock £2660 off the price of its standard three-door, the GLS.

To look at, the GLX actually has cleaner lines than its up-market sibling. Gone are the cosmetic dangly bits, such as flared wheel arches and big bumpers, to leave a box profile with a wheel at each corner.

Under the bonnet still lurks the familiar 2.5-litre turbocharged and intercooled Mitsubishi motor. A willing performer, it is at its best with the rev needle nestling between 2000-3500rpm where 3rd and 4th cogs give punchy response. Drop out of that quadrant and the 1.7t shell starts to shuffle; creep over the top and both engine and ears rebel.

It is from the drivers seat that most economies become apparent, although the GLX is still far from spartan. Electric windows and mirrors, central locking and adjustable steering column are all spared. But gone are the "essential" thermometer, inclinometer and altimeter dials as well as rear heater controls and cruise control.

The verdict: Mitsubishi has cut costs with compassion to make this sub-£20,000 Shogun a serious rival for the three-door Discovery Tdi (£19,250). It may not quite have the space or off-road capability of the Land Rover but makes up for this with tighter on-road handling and a more car-like cabin.