The Mighty Mitsubishi L200: Mighty Popular

Mitsubishi, DriveWrite AutomotiveAvid readers will recall I tested the previous incarnation of the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up (here) and found that it was very good within the limitations of this type of vehicle, obviously. Personally, I quite like a pick-up truck – there must be a rugged outdoors man inside of my soft city exterior – and see them as the ideal compromise motor for active families.

This is a much improved vehicle. It has added features including a Lane Departure Warning which, although it has merit, can get a bit irritating. Fortunately it can be turned off if that’s your preference. Our range-topping Barbarian version came with a fully open truck bed but these days there’s a variety of useful lockable hardtops and lids available. I especially liked the sleek new optional (£2k fitted / colour-coded) ‘Fullbox’ top I saw on a Warrior version. The Fullbox is a fully integraded lockable gas-lift cover with a bar for the load bed (image). Featuring an LED interior light for a clear view during loading of your luggage or cargo. Very smart.

The Series 5 Mitsubishi L200 comes with many good things too numerous to mention here but there’s a fully detailed specification below. The engine is, although still very definitely a diesel, quieter and smoother than before. All variants now come with Mitsubishi’s 4N15 turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine. This newly developed motor features greatly improved fuel consumption due to a low compression ratio that raises combustion efficiency.

The vehicle is the world’s first pick-up truck with an aluminium engine, which reduces the total weight by about 30 kg. On mostly short trips I saw 29mpg which included putting this car well and truly through its paces. A longer trip driven sedately will certainly improve on that figure.Mitsubishi L200, DriveWrite Automotive

Our car was fitted with a five-speed auto ‘box (surely there’s room for a sixth gear in there) which provided smooth shifts. Its electronic control can adapt to your driving style allegedly, while the Sports Mode facility offers clutchless manual gear-shifting for instant response. On the road the rear wheels are driven but thanks to the ‘Super-Select’ drive mode there’s a big ‘on-the-fly’ selector to shift to four wheel drive, high and low range. With plenty of clearance the L200 tackles rough terrain with ease, even if it is a bit bouncy when the load bed is empty.

The L200’s front suspension system is adapted from the company’s venerable – although updated – Shogun with double wishbones and coil springs providing superior ride comfort and well controlled cornering. The rack & pinion steering system, provides, they say, a class-leading turning circle and better steering accuracy than a traditional recirculating ball system and it is fair to say that the old-school truck-like handling is a thing of the past. At the rear, tough rigid elliptic leaf springs are fitted, to ensure an up-to one-tonne payload can be safely supported.

Inside, the leather seats and the ride are very comfortable given the type of vehicle this is. We were pleasantly surprised by this. The interior is roomy but not plush, erring on the side of ruggedness for obvious reasons. Not so sure about the blue ambient lighting in the kick plates and foot wells but that’s just me. Much improved though is the multifunctional navigation system which clearly displays navigation and music functions on a big touch panel display with easy-to-use interface. Images from the very clear rear-view camera can also be displayed to enhance driving safety and make parking this big beast a piece of cake.

The system provides a host of features including an USB connectivity and hands free Bluetooth. Incoming calls are displayed for easy viewing. The built-in Bluetooth interface system allows for safer (and legal) hands-free operation of a compatible mobile phone whilst driving, employing voice recognition technology and steering wheel-mounted buttons.

I could go on about the many improvements available on the new Mitsubishi L200 but I won’t because it gets a bit boring making lists after a while. Check out the specification for the minutiae. I will tell you that this vehicle is a big improvement over its very decent predecessor.

Allowing for the fact that this is, at heart, a workhorse, Mitsubishi have done a good job in making it more appealing to people who need a pick-up for the workplace but still want to transport the family or co-workers in safety (ABS with EBD etc) and in comfort. It’s a compromise that works pretty well. Sure, it’s no plush SUV but it does seem ruggedly well-built and perfectly capable of going to the supermarket or taking the brood on a camping holiday out into the boondocks.

Mitsubishi must be doing something right because the L200 is consistently the best-selling pick-up in the UK. I approve. Geoff Maxted.Mitsubishi, DriveWrite AutomotivewS1Mitsubishi L200.