The Mitsubishi L200 has been a popular sight on Britains roads for a number of years now and, it could be said, is responsible for the continuing popularity of the pickup truck over here. Indeed, a little bit of digging brings up the fact that Mitsubishi first brought their L200 to these shores way back in 1982, with this original model staying for the next four years before being super-ceded by the upgraded model and so on and so forth. All of which means that the current L200 is the series 5 in a range that has been updated and improved regularly over the years with Mitsubishi’s attention to detail meaning that with the most recent 2016 upgrade, we’re left with a Pickup that has revitalised the class here and in Europe whilst providing the consumer with a vehicle that allows a near enough perfect mix of both work and pleasure.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Back in the day, the Pickup was a utilitarian vehicle designed for the working man or woman who needed something tough, rugged and reliable, the addition of a well thought out and designed four wheel drive system meant that the Mitsubishi had the essential go anywhere ability that was needed. The problem was that you would only ever buy the L200 if you needed one for work purposes, it just wasn’t built as family friendly transport. You could certainly take all of your tools and work gear to the beach, but the family? They’d never have forgiven you. And that was the L200’s biggest problem as it’s work based brilliance was in stark contrast to it’s suitability to become anything else.
What Mitsubishi have done then is to throw the combined talents of their R and D department into turning the L200 from a work based Pickup into one that can now be used seven days a week whilst not losing anything from it’s rugged profile and tough workman like ability. Over each refresh of the Pickup, Mitsubishi have brought about an increasingly higher set of specifications, making sure that each series was plusher and more user friendly than the preceding model. Until what we end up with is this, the Series 5, a vehicle that Mitsubishi hope combines performance, manoeuvrability, safety, off-road performance and cabin space with a genuine packhorse load-lugging capacity.
This is certainly a handsome looking Pickup, it is admirably proportioned with up to date styling that certainly strikes a chord with the public at large. Yes, it’s physically imposing, but it’s not outrageously so in the manner of an American Pickup, in fact, the sweeping lines around the rear doors of the cabin look particularly fantastic and that front end and chrome grill, superb work Mitsubishi. What Mitsubishi have done with the Series 5 is to create something with the size that a workmanlike Pickup needs to be whilst still making sure that it looks good enough to turn your head. Don’t forget that just sticking a flat bed onto a truck cabin does not make a car a Pickup. Look carefully at the attention to detail, look at how well Mitsubishi have combined the practicality of the Pickup with such a stylish and unmistakable cabin and frontal area.
Mitsubishi claim that their all new Series 5 is smoother, quieter, roomier, more sophisticated, more comfortable and even more aerodynamic than its predecessors. It has a new engine, new suspension, new steering and new transmission, both manual and automatic…. it’s actually designed to make it one of the most aerodynamically efficient pick-ups you can buy. And I can well believe it as the Mitsubishi has a sleek and attractive look about its frontal area, with the chrome grill in particular working in tandem with the wing mirrors, door handles and chunky running boards to create an extremely pleasing and cohesive whole.
An interior that is so far away from the 1982 original should come as no surprise, especially when you consider the specification that the L200 Warrior on test arrived with. How does the following sound? Central locking with keyless entry, tactile leather on the fully adjustable steering wheel and gearshift knob which complements the leather seats in Warrior and Barbarian models, electric windows to both front and rear, electric heated door mirrors, air conditioning – climate control with dual zone facilities, privacy glass, cruise control, rain and dusk sensors, Bluetooth® hands free ’phone connection, and superb sound system including a CD player no less and steering wheel remote control as standard, as well as a touch screen satellite navigation system on the Warrior and Barbarian. This is a great place to spend time. Attention to detail is excellent making it a simple task to achieve a comfortable driving position, helped immeasurably by the imposing height that you find yourself looking out from. The raised driving height also allows you great sight lines and the ability to see much further ahead than in a more conventional mode of transport.
The L200’s in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC 2.5 Litre Diesel engine with it’s turbocharger and intercooler, puts out a very healthy 178 bhp at 3500 revs and maximum torque of 317 lb/ft at a lowly 2500 revs. What this equates to on the road is instant power where you need it most, low down and as this is to be a working vehicle it needs that level of torque which allows the L200 to achieve a maximum load weight of a mighty 1050 kg and a towing capacity of up to 3100 kg and all whilst returning up to a claimed 37.7 mpg. The L200 Warrior, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Combine that engine with a slick 5-speed INVECS-II automatic gearbox with Sports Mode manual shift facility and paddle shift and you have the ability to tailor the drive to the exact conditions you’re faced with, whether at work or not.
You’ve also got Mitsubishi’s all wheel drive system which allows for traction whenever it is needed, especially with the Easy Select system in operation which features a heavy duty rear differential lock whilst the L200 Titan, Warrior and Barbarian models also allow you to manually switch between two wheels or four at the turn of a dial down by the handbrake.
Can you tell that I love this Pickup yet?
What remains truly impressive about the L200 is it’s road based capabilities as despite it’s considerable size this is an easy car to drive. It really is usable as everyday transport for you and the family. It’s able to go to the shops, drive out into the countryside or take the family on holiday and with a simple addition such as the lockable roll top for the flat bed, your luggage, or shopping, will always be safe. The Mitsubishi rides well, isolating the driver and passengers from the worst that our roads have to offer, yet allowing the L200 to be hustled round the bends when the mood or conditions dictate. It’s never going to handle or go like a sports car, but then I don’t want it too. It’s lively enough to be interesting and comfortable enough to allow you to travel great distances in a single day and the cost for all of this ‘real life’ motoring ability? A starting price of just £22,253.80 for the 4Life Single Cab Diesel Manual 4WD model and £24,953.80 for the 4Life Double Cab Diesel Manual 4WD. This is a truly versatile vehicle and one that once driven, it’s very difficult to forget.
Do I need one in my life? Probably not. Do I want one in my life? Absolutely. I love it.
Where will you go?