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First drive: Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.

First drive: Mitsubishi L200
Mitsubishi's class-defining L200 pick-up just got better.

 



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Mitsubishi L200

4 4 4 4 4

Evolutionary fifth-series Mitsubishi L200 pick-up makes life more difficult for its competition - and easier for its owners.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mitsubishi L200 DI-D Warrior
Price: 23,049
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Body style: pick-up truck
CO2 emissions: 173g/km
Combined economy: 42.8mpg
Top speed: 111mph
0-62mph: 10.4 seconds
Power: 178hp at 3,500rpm
Torque: 430Nm at 2,500rpm

What's this?

The new L200, which is significant, as Mitsubishi's load-lugger has consistently been the benchmark in the pick-up class. The only thing bigger than its hauling and carrying capacity has been its sales, so it's little wonder that Mitsubishi has stuck pretty resolutely to the proven formula for the new model. The styling isn't exactly revolutionary, but then this Series 5 L200's predecessor was among the sharpest looking pick-ups in the class so no complaints there. It's different enough, though, with some sharp feature lines on its flanks and, depending on your opinion, a bold, or overblown, chrome grille up front (entry-level 4Life models get a black grille).

With pick-ups, however, it's all about the numbers, and here the L200 scores strongly. It'll haul a trailer of up to 3,100kg while carrying 10kg short of a tonne in the pick-up bed; allowing you to bring some beach pebbles in back to cover your driveway while you're towing the boat home. If you are towing then the Trailer Stability Assist function within the active stability and traction control system helps reduce waywardness. Without a trailer out back the L200's bed can carry 1,040kg, and if the forklift driver's a bit handy a Euro/ISO pallet will slot in.

On almost every quantifiable level Mitsubishi is claiming the L200 has the measure of its rivals, with the promise too of significantly improved economy and driving dynamics. The interior is also smarter now, with more soft-touch plastics, while retaining its solid, hard-wearing build quality, while the standard equipment list reads more like a luxury car's than utilitarian tool.

How does it drive?

All that carrying, off-road and towing capacity doesn't come without a price, that being a body-on-frame construction and relatively crude suspension. That's when compared to a conventional car, though, and while the L200 is never going to drive with quite the manners you'd expect from a car, it's pretty impressive given its sizeable and broad skill-set. Certainly it's among the best in the class it competes in. Unloaded, the suspension can be a bit busy, which is an inevitable trade-off to allow its carrying capacity. Bung a tonne of stuff in the back and it'll improve the ride a bit, but even unloaded the L200's not too compromised.

Mitsubishi keeps saying that this truck is all-new, but it's really a comprehensive overhaul of its predecessor, with as many as 330 changes cited. The chassis is stiffer, to the benefit of control, the L200 is more resistant to lean in the bends and steers with more precision. The back wheels can spin up under the engine's prodigious low-rev torque, but the traction and stability systems keep everything in check - crucially, it does so fairly unobtrusively.

There's greater refinement too, even if the 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine is still not entirely silent, but it's significantly less percussive than its predecessor. There's plenty of low-rev urgency and the gearing is well-judged. The six-speed manual is long of throw, but accurate across its gate regardless. An optional five-speed auto is offered, which adds convenience, and the chance to shift via wheel-mounted paddles, which is presently unique in the class. Unlike its rivals, Mitsubishi's Super Select 4WD-II (from Titan models up) four-wheel drive system can be used both on road and off it and operating it is simplicity itself, as the various modes are selected by a rotary dial.

That new engine not only endows the L200 with good pace and plenty flexibility but also delivers both while sipping less fuel and emitting less CO2 than rivals. That might not presently be significant, but with CO2 emissions likely to affect the pick-up marketplace in the near future, buyers will appreciate the 173g/km it officially emits, as it undercuts all its rivals.

Verdict

Mitsubishi's new L200 is a rugged workhorse, but one that's less utilitarian and compromised than you might expect given its enormous capability. It'll clamber, crawl and haul its way around, over and through just about anything, but despite its down-and-dirty ability offers decent on-road manners, a tight turning circle and greater refinement than its predecessor. Good economy and emissions also count in its favour, particularly as taxation on pick-ups is anticipated to be CO2-based soon. Comprehensively reworked, the new L200 does everything its forerunner did well, only that little bit better, which is sure to mean it'll retain its best-selling status.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

3 3 3 3 3 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3 3 3 3 3 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 14 Aug 2015









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2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Max Earey.



2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 

2015 Mitsubishi L200. Image by Mitsubishi.
 






 

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