The Mitsubishi L200 has become a common sight on UK farms with an enviable reputation for practicality and reliability
The Mitsubishi L200 has become a common sight on UK farms with an enviable reputation for practicality and reliability. The current version has outsold all other pick-ups since its arrival to the UK in 2006, according to the manufacturer and this means its recently launched replacement, the Series 5, has a hard act to follow. David Williams has been test-driving the latest version.
The vehicle provided for the week-long test was a base specification double-cab, 4Life manual model, powered by an all-aluminium, 2,442cc 4-cylinder diesel engine developing 151hp. The range includes higher specification Titan, Warrior and Barbarian versions, all available with automatic or manual transmission, and all equipped as standard with a more powerful 178hp version of the engine.
The Mitsubishi pick-up layout clearly separates the passenger cabin from the load bed, and makes the most of every inch of space available with a generous load area of 1,470×1,470mm, but plenty of room in the cab for four adults to travel in comfort. The new L200 is designed for extra rigidity over its predecessor and its rated load bed capacity is 1,045kg and maximum towing capacity is 3,100kg for a braked trailer. This makes the L200 extremely capable with a combined load bed and towing capacity of 4.1t.
The L200 has a 3m wheelbase and 200mm ground clearance, and the turning radius is a tight 5.9m. The suspension is uprated considerably over the previous model, with stiffer front springs, significantly longer rear leaf springs, a larger suspension stabiliser bar and improved damping, which means that while handling is improved, the ride remains very comfortable.
Hill start-assist is standard across the range, keeping the brakes activated for up to two seconds after the foot pedal is released, until the accelerator pedal is applied.
Great use of space
Despite its position at the base of Mitsubishi’s specification ladder, the L200 4Life is well equipped and comfortable. For a vehicle with such a generous rear load bed, the cab section has plenty of room, with decent sized doors front and back making it easy to get in and out. The seats are firm but comfortable and there is height adjustment for the driver, which ensures plenty of headroom. Leg and head room front and rear is adequate for taller passengers although, with the front seats slid fully back, space at the rear becomes more limited.
The dashboard is well laid out with everything easily to hand. Cruise control and Bluetooth phone controls are all on the steering wheel, and there is a simple trip computer, which requires multiple button presses to reveal information including fuel consumption, range and trip distance. The main dials are easy to read, indicating speed and engine revs, but less user-friendly is its bar-type fuel gauge which lights up in segments to indicate the fuel level, so it is easier to rely on the remaining range function of the trip computer for accurate information when the level becomes low.
Heating and ventilation are excellent, and the manual air conditioning system is powerful. Climate control becomes standard on the Titan which is the next model up.
Storage options in the cab are good, with two small receptacles near the gear lever and a cd-sized compartment below the radio. There is a decent storage space in the front centre armrest and large pockets in both front doors. At the rear there is storage in both doors and a large concealed toolbox area below the rear seat.
Headlights switch on and off automatically when light conditions change, and angle adjustment is provided through a switch on the dashboard. Headlight delay is included, making it easy to lock up and walk away from the vehicle across a muddy or obstacle cluttered yard at night.
Visibility all around is excellent, and there are decent sized, heated door mirrors that offer a good view for reversing and manoeuvring around a confined yard. One feature missing is electric adjustment and folding of the mirrors, which becomes standard on the Titan specification, and would be a useful addition for many farmer users.
Service intervals are 12,500 miles or 12 months and the standard warranty is five years or 62,500 miles. The diesel tank capacity is 75 litres (16.5 gallons).
The 151hp engine provides plenty of power, and the amount of acceleration available is surprising for a relatively heavy vehicle.
Traction control is effective, and useful when pulling out of field gates onto damp road surfaces. The test vehicle was brand new, so still quite tight, but fuel consumption was 29-35mpg (official combined figure 42.8) during the test, which included mainly shorter journeys, and is likely to improve as the vehicle is run-in.
Ride and handling
The ride comfort of the new L200 is excellent and, apart from the ride position being higher than that of an average car, it would be hard to tell the difference. The suspension is noticeably firm when the truck is unladen, as would be expected, but even on uneven farm tracks it is always comfortable, and there is no noise from the suspension system even at high speeds. Even a light load carried in the rear makes the ride noticeably smoother, and with 500kg in the back, the ride, on and off road, is excellent. At higher speeds on winding country lanes the pick-up handles well, and there is very little body roll on corners.
Smooth, quiet engine
The new engine is smooth, whether labouring in higher gears up hills or accelerating hard and noise levels are very low, similar to those of a car. There is plenty of torque available, so there is great flexibility between the gears. The truck is easy to drive and comfortable, even for longer journeys.
The manual transmission has six speeds, and the gear lever has a very short shift distance to engage gears, making it feel less of a commercial vehicle and more like a car. A rotary dial beside the handbrake is used to select 2wd, 4wd or 4wd with low range, and there is a separate switch to lock the rear differential. Mitsubishi claims to have the only pick-up which can be operated permanently on or off-road in 2wd or 4wd, courtesy of a new Torsen-designed centre differential, but for most of the test week’s use 2wd was selected. Off-road and across a wet, cultivated field 4wd was necessary, and the system engaged smoothly when needed and disengaged just as easily.
The L200’s stylish lines make it an attractive vehicle, but disguise the fact that it is also an incredibly functional workhorse. The latest version offers significant improvements over its predecessor, and is hard to beat for ride quality, handling and comfort, especially when its load carrying capacity is considered. Priced at 19,749, it is an ideal dual-purpose vehicle for farm and family use, and likely to maintain the L200’s reputation as one of the most refined yet rugged pick-ups around.