First Drive: Mitsubishi L200 Review

The new Mitsubishi L200 2019 arrives in the UK this month with a radical new design, a downsized 2.3-litre engine and a range of new technology. It’s the most significant update in years, but is it enough? We find out…

The Mitsubishi L200 is one the longest selling pickups in the UK, having first arrived on our shores in the late 1970s. This was followed by a new model almost every ten years, amassing sales of over 4.7 million globally in that time.

This Series 6 model isn’t quite as new as the name might suggest, inheriting the same chassis, shell and interior as the Series 5. There are significant changes to warrant the new monkier though, although some of them aren’t positive.

Mitsubishi L200: What’s New?

The engine shrinks marginally, which reduces power slightly. The new L200 produces just 150hp now, with 400Nm of torque; that’s a drop from 181hp and 430Nm in the name of controlling emissions.

The upside is that the L200 now meets the latest Euro 6d regulations, which is why there’s also the new addition of a 21-litre AdBlue tank. Pleasingly, the filler for this additive is hidden behind a separate flap, making the top up that’s required every 12,000 miles or so far easier than on some other rivals.

At the same time as significantly refreshing the style of the L200, the single-cab model has been dropped. Only the club- and double-cab models remain, each getting the bold new ‘Dynamic Shield’ front end.

According to the lead designer, Mitsubishi had noticed that pickup truck customers around the world are wanting a tougher and more masculine truck, leaving the curved ‘smiley face’ design of previous generations rapidly going out of date. It doesn’t quite hit the macho-style of the Ford Ranger or Nissan Navara, but it’s a step forward.

Combined with a clamshell bonnet that sits 4cm higher than before, and wheel arches that have been squared off, it’s got plenty of road presence. The rear lights have also been changed, and are available in LED on higher trims, to give a wider impression.

Mitsubishi L200 Interior

Mitsubishi L200 review

The changes inside are less obvious, with much of the dashboard and cabin unchanged. The centre stack is much improved though, and adds a bit of premium feel to the interior, while there’s a new infotainment screen mounted high up that is neatly integrated easy to use.

There’s no navigation built in though, so you’ll have to rely on an external device or use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring.

Space is plentiful, including in the back where there’s a new air circulator to keep things cooler and, thanks to having the longest cab in its class, excellent leg room. New soft-touch and padded areas are dotted around the cabin too, further separating this Barbarian X spec model from the commercial roots of the L200, but the narrowness of the cabin makes it feel a tad tight for more amply proportioned users.

Mitsubishi L200 review

Mitsubishi L200: New Safety Technology

Safety gear is also notable, with a new range of systems fitted providing a list of acronyms that would keep a pub quiz team happy for days. There’s FCM, BSW, LCA, RCTA, UMS, ESS, LDW, M-ASTC, HSA, TSA and many more.

The key features are emergency automatic braking, including a system to prevent accidental acceleration when maneuvering, 360-degree cameras, and rear cross-traffic alert that alarms when a vehicle is approaching from the side – handy when reversing out of a parking space.

The end result is an expected five-star score in Euro NCAP crash safety testing.

Mitsubishi L200 review

Mitsubishi L200 Engine and Drivetrain

Power is now delivered through a choice of either a six-speed automatic or manual gearbox. The automatic version, tested here, is lighter and more compact than the old five-speed, and still retains a low-range for proper off-roading.

Mitsubishi has also ensured that the drive can be switched from two- to four-wheel drive and back gain at speeds of up to 62mph, which is handy when conditions change suddenly, or you’re on the motorway and forget you’ve still got 4×4 mode engaged.

The reduction in power from 181hp to 150hp has resulted in improved emissions and economy. On the new WLTP test cycle, the L200 returned 32.1mpg for the manual and 29.1mpg for the automatic. As its rivals put their models through WLTP testing, we’ll learn how competitive those figures are, but our real-world on-road performance of around 30mpg impressed.

Mitsubishi L200: Ride and Handling

On top of all that, the chassis has been strengthened, with new springs and dampers all round, although it retains the elliptical leaf spring setup at the rear. The result is on-road behaviour that’s getting close to SUV comfort and handling, but still falling a little short.

Still, the rear feels more connected to the road, with the shudder you find across so many rivals notably absent. Even quite enthusiastic driving doesn’t present any alarming behaviour, although sporting prowess is limited to mud-plugging rather than race circuit lap records.

Mitsubishi L200: Off-Road

We already regard the L200 as the best off-roader in the pickup segment, thanks to its great manoeuvrability, light chassis but, most importantly, the shift-on-the-fly Super Select 4WD system with locking centre-differential which is the most responsive and adaptable of all the current pickup truck 4WD systems.

However, Mitsubishi has raised the bar even further by introducing hill descent control (operable at speeds of up to 12mph) and an off-road mode selector. This system adapts the engine performance, electronic stability control and traction control for the optimum performance on four different off-road settings (gravel, mud and snow, sand and rock).

We didn’t stretch the L200 to its limits, but an approach angle of 30 degrees and a departure angle of 22 degrees are competitive. The lateral travel angle of 45 degrees will probably ensure any driver loses confidence before the L200 loses to gravity.

Mitsubishi L200: Weights and Towing

The load bed is exactly the same size as the previous generation; 1,470mm wide, 475mm high and 1,850mm long on the Club Cab and 1,520mm on the Double Cab. Despite the loss of power and torque, the maximum payload has increased slightly to 1,080kg, while it’s now got a 3.5-tonne towing capacity when using a 3-axle trailer. Stick with a twin-axle trailer and the limit drops to 3.1 tonnes.

Gross combination weights (maximum weight of the vehicle, trailer and all of their contents) have been raised significantly to 6,155kg which means that the L200 can still carry up to around 700kg on some models when towing the full 3.5 tonnes.

To prove the point, Mitsubishi provided a new L200 with a triple axle trailer loaded with another L200. Performance was clearly restricted in this configuration, but perfectly acceptable.

Mitsubishi L200: Price and Availability

Mitsubishi has upped the sticker price to between £21,515 plus VAT for the Club Cab to £32,200 plus VAT for the flagship Barbarian X. The warranty will remain the same at 5 years or 62,500 miles and it retains the relatively short one year or 12,500-mile service intervals.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with the comment about the masculinity of the design, it doesn’t reach the macho level of the american options. However I find this design propose much more rich in terms of diferenciation, this design shows up the L200 real capabilities which are not minor. I being a hatchback owner am thinking seriously that this will be my first pick up.

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