2019 Mitsubishi L200 review

2019 Mitsubishi L200 review
2019 Mitsubishi L200 review

It’s been 40 years since Mitsubishi launched the L200 light pick-up on the world.

Since then, it’s sold nearly five million examples and has been a massive success in the UK. This country accounts for nearly half of all L200 sales in Europe and the previous Series 5 accounted for a third of pick-up sales in the UK last year.

While that success is well and good, the industry moves quickly and to keep up with updated rivals the Series 5 has been retired and replaced with the predictably named Series 6 L200.

The Series 6 brings significant changes across the board, from exterior looks and new safety technology to chassis and drivetrain changes.

Externally, it gets a chunkier version of the Mitsubishi “dynamic shield” front end and some sharp new lines. It’s not what you’d call handsome – more angry and angular – but it’s more immediately recognisable than the soft-lined Series 5.

Mitsubishi L200 profile

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X

Price: £32,200 (CV list price)
Engine: 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 295lb/ft
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: N/A
Economy: 29.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 254g/km

The old 2.4-litre diesel has been replaced by a slightly smaller, slightly less powerful engine. The new 2.3-litre produces 148bhp and 295lb/ft compared to the previous generation’s 179bhp and 317lb/ft, yet the payload and gross train weight have both been improved, adding to the L200’s already strong credentials.

The downsizing and addition of stop/start as standard is all in the name of improved efficiency and economy. WLTP figures are 32mpg for the manual and 29mpg for the new six-speed automatic. Adapted for the old NEDC system this is on a par with the old engine but, unlike those figures, the new ones are readily achievable, with our test drive returning just shy of 30mpg in the auto.

2019 Mitsubishi L200 off-road

Mitsubishi are placing a lot of emphasis on the more car-like nature of the Series 6 L200. Pretty much every manufacturer claims that their pick-up offers SUV levels of equipment, comfort, refinement and road manners. And pretty much all those claims need to be taken with a healthy pinch of salt.

But Mitsubishi have made real steps in this regard. It still can’t claim parity with most SUVs but, particularly when it comes to on-road behaviour, it’s about as close as you’ll get in a truck.

The chassis has been strengthened to improve rigidity and the suspension upgraded. There are new springs, with increased spring rates at the front and extra leaves at the rear, and bigger dampers all round.

It all makes for a far better-driving truck, especially when the load bed is empty. The scuttle shake and shuddering common to pick-ups is massively reduced – it feels more settled over poor surfaces than even rivals with more advanced multi-link setups.

2019 Mitsubishi L200

Handling and body control are also significantly better than not only the old L200 but the rest of the pick-up class. It has far less pitch and roll, and remains surprisingly flat through corners. We’re not talking car-like levels of body control but, like the ride, it’s a big step forward in the class.

Refinement was already a strong point of the Series 5 and it continues to do well here, with road and wind noise well subdued and even the engine settling into the background once on the move.

The interior was less of a strong point and it’s still nothing special. As before, the interior feels built to withstand some serious abuse, whether on the building site or school run. Controls are chunky and easy to use but lack the sheen of more stylish vehicles like the SsangYong Musso or VW Amarok. The front seats, with deeper bolsters are noticeably better than before and there’s enough space for four to travel in reasonable, if not quite SUV-like, comfort.

2019 Mitsubishi L200 interior

Where it has leapt forward is in the technology offered to buyers. The L200 now offers class-leading levels of active safety systems. Depending on the trim level it comes with forward collision mitigation, lane departure alert, blind spot warning, auto dipping headlights, rear-cross traffic alert and “ultrasonic mis-acceleration system” that stops it surging forward if your foot slips during low-speed manoeuvres.

All but the utility-spec 4Life models also get strong levels of equipment putting them on a par or ahead of most rivals at similar prices. Warrior models get 18-inch alloys, auto-functioning LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, privacy glass and a touchscreen media system.

Above that sits the Barbarian with leather upholstery, heated seats, mood lighting, selectable off-road modes, tailgate damping and various bits of styling. A newly added Barbarian X sits at the top of the range with 360-degree camera, the full suite of safety systems, heated steering wheel, front sensors and even more styling additions.

2019 Mitsubishi L200 camera

While such luxuries are important, the L200 made its name as a tough workhorse and it has been updated to maintain this position. As well as the enhanced load-lugging abilities, the tough Super Select four-wheel-drive has been enhanced with multiple drive modes for mud/snow, sand, rocks and gravel, hill descent control. It was more than a match for the tough off-road route on the truck’s launch and seems likely to meet the needs of even the most-demanding customer.

Being a capable, versatile heavy-duty machine is in the L200’s DNA. Where this Series 6 makes more significant changes is on the road with class-leading ride and control along with safety tech new to the sector.

The Series 5 won multiple awards around the world and the Series 6 looks likely to carry on this enviable achievement.

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