Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab first drive

Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab

Mitsubishi L200 Double CabAfter 33 years and four generations the trend-setting pick-up cum poser SUV goes on sale in September in the latest in-carnation.

And it’s more car-like than before with new fascia and seats, rotary driving mode selector replacing secondary levers, and an urban friendly turning circle.

Restyled from bumper to bumper, it’s lighter and more fuel efficient with lower emissions and consumption, new gearbox and centre-differential, improved suspension and equipment among 330 changes over the Series 4 launched in 2006.

Retaining the trademark J-cab it has good room for five inside without compromising on carrying capacity on the load bed and it will pull a bigger trailer than rivals at up to 4.1 tons combined.

It joins the Mitsubishi model range at a good time with pick-up sector topping sales, which means a third of the dealer business is for the L200 series.

Lance Bradley, MD for Mitsubishi UK said, “The dealer network is steadily growing and by the end of this year we should have over 130 outlets and possibly 150 by the end of 2016.”

“It has been encouraging to us because we are getting approaches from bigger dealer groups who have seen how Mitsubishi has out-performed the market with our models and we have a strong new-model programme going forward.”

The L200 range will be sold in four trim levels, 4Life, Titan, Warrior and Barbarian from about £19,750 to £25,200, plus taxes.

First impressions
On tarmac or off-road, the new generation Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian is an impressive performer.

Its cabin is compact without being cluttered thanks to some thoughtful design and the major controls work well, particularly the higher-ratio steering rack so it can be used more easily in a town car park or winding through woodland tracks.

The simplified transfer selection switch is clearly marked and backed up by on-dash display but on two models we drove there seemed to be an unnecessarily long delay for the system to catch up and make the physical changes dialled in by hand.

Our manual only test models also had long travel clutch pedals contrasting with the short-changing six-speed lever. Pushed hard the 2.44-litre, turbodiesel four-cylinder engine was characteristically noisy at higher revolutions but nevertheless smooth.

Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab

The new MIVEC engine has one of the lowest compression ratios for a diesel engine, 15.5 to 1. A lower compression ratio increases combustion efficiency which improves economy and emissions. Lower compression also allows for the use of lighter materials in the engine’s construction. Consequently the L200 Series 5 is the first pick-up in the world with an all-aluminium engine and this allows a weight saving of 30kg. It is also the only pick-up with variable valve timing.

Power and torque are increased to 178bhp and 430Nm at 2,500 rpm, delivering drive through a new 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions. At 10.4-seconds the L200 Series 5 is two seconds quicker to 62 mph than its predecessor and top speed is marginally faster at 111mph.

The new L200 Series 5 has the largest carrying capacity of any double cab pick-up at 1,045kg, in no small part due to the extensive use of high-tensile steel in both cabin and cargo bed, building in strength without increasing overall vehicle weight. The result is a pick-up with the best in class combined load bed capacity and full towing capability of 3.1-tonnes.

The new suspension has better articulation than before for off-road use and the centre-differential improves traction and reduces wind up on tight turns.

Improvements to the traction control, braking and handling technologies have raised the safety factor of the new L200 in adverse weather on main or motorway roads as well.

The original L200 from over 30 years ago brought a fresh new look and ability to the agricultural community and the new Series 5 is a step-change for today’s users whether it is work or leisure with townies, sporty or country-set users.

MILESTONES: Mitsubishi L200 Series 5, Barbarian, 4-door, 5-seater double cab. Price: £25,199, plus taxes.
Mechanical: 2.44-litre, 4-cyl, 178bhp, 430Nm of torque from 2,500rpm turbodiesel,
6-speed manual, 4WD.
Performance: 111mph, 0-62mph: 10.4sec, Combined Cycle 42.8mpg, CO2 emissions: 173g/km.
VED/BIK tax ratings: £225 First Year rate/20%.
Payload/braked towing weight: 1,045kg/3,100kg.
Insurance group: tba.
Warranty: 5yrs/ 62,500 miles
For: Car-like comfort, roomy and versatile, good off-road ability and manoeuvring.
Against: Noisy four-cylinder engine, long travel clutch, slow traction mode change.  Robin Roberts  Miles Better News Agency

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