Fleet News

Mitsubishi 4Life - 4,300 miles



I LIVE in a nice quiet little market town in Lincolnshire with pretty little streets, quaint pubs and shops stocked to their Tudor roof beams with bottles of blue rinse, antiques and little china animals.

So, imagine the fun I have had roaring around the streets in our 4Life, humming the 'I'm a lumberjack' tune from Monty Python's Flying Circus.

'Doris – this town's gone downhill since they ousted the Tories' you can imagine the ageing populace muttering to each other as I pass.

Company car tax bill 2002 (22% taxpayer)£9.20 per month

When I say I 'roar' around, don't take that to mean that I speed about because the Mitsubishi is anything but fast, although it is noisy, and is still returning the thirsty 26.5mpg figure it has since it was delivered.

I'd give it the benefit of the doubt though – it has only done 4,300 miles and an engine like this will loosen up with more mileage.

Refinement was not a consideration for the 113bhp 2.5-litre direct injection turbodiesel engine, but it has plenty of low-down torque, a low ratio gearbox for off-roading and ground clearance that will get it over and through most things. In fact, ground clearance is a decidedly tall 235mm, compared to 208mm for a Land Rover Discovery.

Unfortunately I have not had the chance to get off road properly and test the all important axle articulation (which is a real signifier of an off-road vehicle's mud plugging ability), but it deals with the kerbs and speed bumps in town with disdain. I have tested the L200 4Work version off road and it does the job well, so I don't imagine this model would be any less capable.

As for parking, I tend to dock like a supertanker, and the local Sainsbury's is best not attempted when the car park is heaving, with the car's wide turning circle causing a few problems. Still, it was hardly designed as a shopper's runabout.

'Agricultural' is the best way to describe the 4Life, despite a CD player, electric windows and the swanky load box on the back, and that's the way it should be. Mechanically, there is little to go wrong, and that matters to builders, farmers or whoever would use this as a tool. Friends of mine who work in the building trade have these double cab monsters and wouldn't change them for anything else.

What they would not do is choose the Fullbox, and would have the Truckman top instead. The cover – a dealer-fit accessory, priced at £1,400 ex-VAT – has that 'lifestyle' feel, the absolutely must-have fitment for trendy GQ-reading Londonites on a surfing weekend in Cornwall.

Except they wouldn't be able to lock it, and a Truckman top or plain old tarpaulin would do the job better as they are both more flexible when carrying loads. It does look good though.

But the L200 is a very fine workman's – or workwoman's – tool, and does a passing impression of a passenger vehicle on the odd occasion it is called upon. I hope next time I get a run in it, I have something more hardcore than shopping and terrorising Daily Mail readers to use it for.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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