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Mitsubishi L200 Review

Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi L200

By Paul Clarke

ECO FACTS

Model/Engine size: Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Double Cab M/T

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 42.8 mpg

Beating Spirit rating: 9/10

INTRODUCTION

Beating Spirit has been reviewing cars for nine years, and in that time we’ve never reviewed a pick-up truck because they’re not known for being efficient, however everything seems to have changed with the latest Mitsubishi L200…

SUMMARY 

  • You can throw various items ranging from building supplies to bikes into the back of the L200, so it’s very practical
  • With its huge ground clearance, four-wheel drive and proper off-road tyres, it can tackle most landscapes
  • It doesn’t feel like a farm truck to drive – at 70mph on the motorway you could be in a family saloon
  • Most amazingly, it has an official economy figure of 42.8mpg – even though it’s huge pick-up truck, this is better than many cars

BACKGROUND

Beating Spirit has been around for nine years and in this time we’ve never reviewed a pick-up truck. This is because we focus on cars that are efficient and good to drive, and pick-up trucks have never met either of these criteria. However Mitsubishi claims that this fifth-generation L200 is the most efficient pick-up truck ever, so we were up for a challenge.

Mitsubishi L200Mitsubishi L200

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DESIGN & ENGINEERING

We’re not in the habit of re-quoting soundbites from the PR people at car manufacturers, but Mitsubishi claims that the L200 has the best in class fuel efficiency, emissions, performance, aerodynamics, manoeuvrability and carrying capacity. That’s quite a collection of claims, and if true, then it sounds like Mitsubishi has made a real effort with the design and engineering of the latest L200.

We should remember that the L200 is not a car, it’s designed for commercial use. Therefore it’s all about functionality. However you have to admit that it also looks pretty cool. There’s lots of curves, a massive ground clearance, and big chunky wheels and tyres. And of course there’s a hugely practical pick-up bed. There’s also a double-cab with four doors and five seats. And a distinctly car-like interior.

Under the bonnet is a 2442cc turbodiesel engine, and, in our test vehicle, a 6-speed manual transmission – although you can opt for an automatic with paddle shifters. It has a towing capability of 4.1 tonnes, and is the only pick-up that can tow on the road in four-wheel drive.

If you like lots of chrome, then you’ll like the shiny front end of the new L200. For many people we came across, it may have been just a little bit too much chrome…

Mitsubishi L200Mitsubishi L200

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Mitsubishi L200 DRIVING EXPERIENCE

Although we’ve not officially reviewed a pick-up truck before on Beating Spirit, we’ve driven a weird and wonderful range of vehicles that have not been reviewed, including pick-up trucks. You’ve always been left in no doubt by their driving experience that the’re primarily commercial vehicles – and very agricultural in many cases.

The latest L200 may give this impression when you start accelerating through the gears with slow progress, but once you’ve gained a decent momentum, the L200 is genuinely car-like to drive. At 70mph on the motorway, apart from some feedback from the knobbly tyres, you could be driving a family saloon.

Even winding A and B-roads don’t pose a problem, and if you keep searching for smaller and smaller expanses of tarmac, and end up with no tarmac at all, ie. on a mountain, like we did, then it’s pretty much like a Tonka Toy. The huge wheels and tyres with a proper off-road tread pattern, massive ground clearance, and four-wheel drive, means that it can clamber over most surfaces.

There are four drive settings: rear-wheel drive, high range; four-wheel drive, high range; four-wheel drive, high range with centre differential lock; and four-wheel drive, low range with centre differential lock. The last setting can even dig you out when stuck on a stony beach (not that we tried this of course…). A healthy 430Nm of torque helps with the off-road ability.

Even the driving position is comfortable, with the assistance of an electric seat and the steering wheel adjusting for reach and height, and the reversing camera is very helpful. But there are a couple of areas where life could be better. Firstly, the infotainment system. Yes, we acknowledge that we’re lucky to have any ‘infotainment’ in a pick-up truck. But the system, with its dated-looking small buttons around the screen, isn’t the best in the business. We didn’t manage to pair a phone all week. And the woman giving the satnav directions shouts at you.

Secondly there’s a complaint that we find we’re directing at an increasing amount of cars that we test these days – every time you drive anywhere the car incessantly beeps at you – until you reach down and switch off the lane departure warning system. You need to disengage this button every time you start the car. This may be a useful feature for a very small percentage of the driving population who are either very sleepy or very inattentive, but it’s just very, very annoying for the rest of us.

Mitsubishi L200Mitsubishi L200

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Mitsubishi L200 ECONOMY AND EMISSIONS

Here’s the revelation: the Mitsubishi L200 has an official combined economy figure of 42.8mpg and emissions of 169g/km CO2 (fuel economy has improved by 20% over the previous model). Just to put this in context, our previous test car was a Skoda Yeti – a compact car primarily designed for urban life – which had an official combined economy figure of 44.8mpg and emissions of 164g/km CO2. Yes, there’s just 2mpg difference between a small family car and a huge, cool-looking pick-up truck that can tow 4 tonnes. This is a significant achievement by Mitsubishi.

Even better, our real-life economy after a week was 35.0mpg – a much smaller difference compared to the official figure than most cars we test. On Welsh A-roads we averaged an excellent 38.2mpg. Fuel economy never dropped below 30mpg, even when off-roading.

Mitsubishi L200Mitsubishi L200

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PRICE, EQUIPMENT AND MODEL RANGE

There are four L200 models; 4Life Double Cab (£19,749); Titan Double Cab (£20,749); Warrior Double Cab (£23,049); Barbarian Double Cab (£23,799 or £25,199 for the automatic). Of course VAT-registered businesses can claim back the VAT on the purchase price of a commercial vehicle.

Mitsubishi L200Mitsubishi L200

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CONCLUSION

In nine years of running Beating Spirit, the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up truck has been one of our greatest surprises, exceeding expectations in virtually all areas.

We’ve always championed cars that are practical and fit for purpose, such as 4x4s and MPVs, as an electric city car is not a practical proposition for everyone. However we’ve stopped short of raving about pick-up trucks, as they haven’t met our criteria of being efficient and good to drive. With the L200, all that has changed.

Okay, so it may be a bit big to park, but apart from that, the L200 is ideal for many families as well as many commercial organisations. There’s no messing around with trying to fit bike racks to your car. Just throw all the family’s bikes in the pick-up bed and you’re off. You can also drive much further into the mountains to go mountain biking than you can with any car.

So, we loved the L200. It was ideal for a family bank holiday weekend in Wales; it was practical, good to drive, very capable off-road, and economical. It also looks cool. There are also many financial benefits, especially for business users.

The Mitsubishi L200 pick-up gains a Beating Spirit rating of 9 out of 10.

Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke, Editor, Beating Spirit

CAR FACTS AND FIGURES – Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Double Cab M/T data 

Fuel economy extra urban: 49.6 mpg

Fuel economy urban: 34.9 mpg

Test economy: 35.0 mpg

CO2 emissions: 169 g/km

Green rating: VED band LGV – £225

Weight: 1860 kg

Company car tax liability (2015/16): tbc

Price: £25,690

Insurance group: 13E

Power: 178 bhp

Max speed: 111 mph

0-62mph: 10.4 seconds

Euro 6: No (5b)

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