What is it?
The L200 has been in production since 1978 with the first models arriving in the UK almost a decade later in '87. Those first UK models were only available as a Single Cab in either 2WD or 4WD, buyers would have to wait another decade for the Double Cab to arrive in 1997.
Since its launch in 2006, the fourth-generation L200 has been a huge success for Mitsubishi and has plenty of awards to its name, and with competitors like the Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Volkswagen Amarok, the L200’s has to work hard to keep on top.
On the road
All the pick-ups that I've driven in the past have been, well, quite rough if I'm being honest, but after driving the L200 for the first time on a 270mile, 5 hour round trip to Bruntingthorpe Airfield, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it was. I shouldn't have been as Mitsubishi was the first to introduce car-like driving characteristics to the heavy-duty vehicle sector with the L200. You see, the L200's dynamic front suspension system is based on the Shogun’s set-up of coil springs and independent double wishbones, so it's very car-esque.
Like any unladen pick-up, put your foot down in damp conditions and it becomes a bit skittish, which is obvious really, but the Traction Control does an excellent job of keeping it straight. Overall, the L200 may have a tough, no-nonsense reputation, but it's an easy 4x4 to drive on a daily basis.
Off the road
I reality, the L200 should've excelled here, and it did. What surprised me most was the rigid, elliptical leaf springs that are fitted at the rear to cope with the one-tonne payload also kept the rear tyres on the ground during my articulation test. Why should that surprise me, you may ask, well, it was unladen for a start, in fact driving along the cobble strewn track was quite a joy as the suspension soaked it all up with ease.
Another bonus for off-road use is the L200's class-leading turning circle (11.8 metres), which again it borrows from the Shogun, made manoeuvring a doddle.
So far, my conclusion with the L200 is that it's very SUV like in the way that it handles on and off-road, however the interior is more workman-like as it's a very simple and straight forward dash with plenty of storage. The multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel isn't a complicated or busy affair and only contains audio and cruise control switches, it's also tilt-adjustable.
High-quality plastics and new seat trim material make the cabin not only a nice place to be, but on a practical side they're also exceptionally easy to clean. The driver’s seat adjusts for height and although comfy, it had a similar problem to the Shogun in that the seat belt holder stuck into the top of my thigh, but not as bad.
Engines ‘n’ transmissions
The L200 is powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged and intercooled diesel and comes in two power outputs, 134bhp and 175bhp, and is available with five-speed manual or an automatic gearbox, both offer a part time 4wd system and a locking rear differential.
The 134bhp version can reach a maximum speed of 103mph and will do 0-62 in 15.0 seconds and will return a combined miles per gallon figure of 37.2. The 175bhp reaches 111mph and gets you to 62mph in just 12.1 seconds, and will return combined miles per gallon figure is 35.8 for manual versions.
When the L200 arrived at Muddy Towers, I stood gawping at this huge pick-up wondering what on earth I could do to justify our time together. I’m not a farmer, nor am I a builder or tree surgeon. Its first job was to take me shopping and my first challenge was finding a parking spot. I had to remind myself that it's actually a working vehicle, but after the week I completely understood why some folk drive pick-ups as their normal runabouts
Buyers can choose from Single, Club or Double cab variants. The Single Cab is available in 4Work or 4Life specification. For Club Cab L200s there’s 4Work and 4Life, and for Double Cab there are 4Work, 4Life, Trojan and Trojan Black (comes with standard load bed only), Warrior, Barbarian, Barbarian Black and Walkinshaw special edition models.
Apart from the slightly narrow seats, my only other criticism was that the Warrior edition didn't have a USB port, only 12v. I didn’t realise this and ended up with a dead phone / sat nav whilst on the way to DriveIt, luckily my phone died just as I came up to the sign posts!
I'm told that not only has the Series 4 L200 won more awards than all of its rivals put together, but since its UK launch in 2006 it has outsold all other pick-ups, which isn't surprising.
Since writing this, the world has welcomed a new and improved 5th generation L200, and after a swift 30 minute jaunt I can tell you... well, you'll have to wait for my next report!