Mitsubishi L200 – Review
by Liam Bird
If you’re the type that likes, nay, needs a vehicle capable of not only mixing business with pleasure but one that can get you out of trouble when the going gets tough, then you’re probably already aware of Mitsubishi’s L200 pick-up.
For over 30 years the L200 has been, as Mitsubishi puts it, “showing the world how it’s done” – well the pick-up world at least, and it could be argued that this, the Series 5 L200 is about to do the same thing. It’s already won the Auto Express Pick-up of the Year award for starters.
It is, Mitsubishi claim, the only vehicle that can be driven permanently in either 2WD or 4WD on tarmac and off-road – a simple twist of a rotary controller is all it takes to engage the latter, or indeed to select low-range or lock the diffs, and it is the first pick-up in the world to be to be powered by an all-aluminium engine: a 2.4 litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel to be precise. It’s the fastest pick-up in its class (0-60 in 10.4 seconds), has class-leading carrying and towing capacity at 4.1 tonnes and also the smallest turning circle. Although at nigh-on 5.5m long these things are relative; allow yourself plenty of space, the L200 dwarfs nearly everything in the supermarket car park.
OK, I’ll grant you Waitrose’s manicured tarmac is hardly the L200’s natural habitat, and regardless of what Mitsubishi’s press bumpf might claim, the L200 is very much a working tool first and family transport a very distance second – where exactly does one store one’s weekly shop on the way home, 5-up, without first investing in a cover for the L200’s now even bigger load-bed (which incidentally quickly fills with water after a storm as there are no drain holes). Nevertheless, as an occasional means of moving people rather than just rubble, garden supplies, jet-skis, mountain-bikes, or agricultural whatever, the L200 can actually prove itself to be rather comfy.
Once away from bumpy B-roads, thanks to leaf-spring rear suspension that when un-laden sends shudders rattling through the cabin, this load-lugging leviathan does actually cruise quite well. An engine that’s been tuned for torque – all 317lbft of it – rather than power (178bhp) plus a 6-speed gearbox makes long-distance progress both brisk and quite relaxed. An elevated driving position and huge door mirrors afford near cinematic views, and if driven carefully (and unloaded) there’s no reason to doubt Mitsubishi’s claims of up to 42.8 mpg. Soft memory foam seats, Bluetooth, dual zone climate-control, touchscreen sat-nav, DAB, 7 airbags and in some cases leather seats (I sampled the L200 in Warrior spec) mean there’s no reason the feel short-changed when it comes to home comforts either.
“Rough & tough”
However don’t go thinking that overall refinement levels are up to same level as those of a similarly priced SUV. The L200’s interior plastics are hard and workman-like. The stability and traction control systems can brake individual wheels to prevent either understeer or oversteer. At the same time they divert power to the driven wheels with most grip. The L200’s steering, although now more direct than it once was, is still as vague and as uncommunicative as the local builder’s apprentice after a night on the Scrumpy. You don’t so much steer this pick-up as coax it.
Rough, tough and still a tad unrefined, the Mitsubishi L200 is exactly what you’d expect a pick-up to be. Ultimately, if you live a life rather than just lead a lifestyle the L200 could prove hard to beat.
Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian
Engine: 2,442cc four-cylinder 16v DOHC turbo-diesel
Transmission: 6 speed Manual with selectable 4WD and high and low ratios
Power: 178 bhp @3500rpm
Torque: 317lb ft @2500rpm
MPG: 42.8 (combined)
0-62MPH: 10.4 Sec
Max Speed: 111mph
Towing Capacity: 3100kg (braked)
CO2: 173 g/km
VED: Band LGV