I’m still having problems winkling it into car parking spaces at Sainsbury’s and I have yet to take it off-road, but there is undoubtedly a huge number of plus points which would persuade many company car drivers to choose this model.
One of these, of course, is that you’ll pay just £9 per month in benefit-in-kind tax until April next year, when the present system is overhauled. Mind you, even under the new regime the bill only rises to £55 per month, which isn’t bad considering how much metal you are driving around in. Another great plus point is that you can indulge in all sorts of activities with the L200 that you wouldn’t even contemplate in a normal car.
Take the other week, for example...
I hadn’t visited my grandparents’ grave at Rayleigh in Essex for well over 20 years (to my shame) and when I did I was horrified to find it completely overgrown with weeds and assorted foliage. I drove home, shoved a whole load of gardening gear in the rear of the truck, went to a nearby garden centre and grabbed a few bags of ornamental stones and set off to make things right with my dearly-beloved ancestors.
After an hour’s hard toil, the grave was looking as it should.The old growth was hacked back, put in sacks and chucked in the back of the L200.
The rear end of the truck was a mass of dirt but was quickly hosed out and returned to its original condition. And that, in a nutshell, is one reason why the L200 is such a handy vehicle to have. The only downside in the rear end is that while the roll-top load cover has a lock on it, you can’t secure the tailgate, apart from by using the two lashing hooks which hold it in place but don’t secure it. This is a curious omission and renders the £1,200 locking device useless as thieves can still get in.
Meanwhile, in the oomph department, a miraculous transformation is taking place. The L200’s powerplant was as tight as a drum when it arrived here and despite the fact that it has 136bhp on tap, it felt sluggish and unwilling.
But as I passed the 4,000-mile mark, the engine began loosening up and it felt as though every day the truck had more power.
We’ll soon be getting it chipped up to 160bhp, courtesy of Mitsubishi, so it will be interesting to make a before-and-after assessment.
Fuel economy, meanwhile, is not exactly awe-inspiring at around 25mpg, but the L200 is a huge vehicle so we weren’t really expecting any better.
My only major gripe is that you can’t take the truck through a conventional car wash, which means that at regular intervals I have to revert to the old mop and bucket to keep my steed in pristine condition. It shouldn’t happen to a motoring journalist!
Price: £18,799 (£23,770 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 252
Company car tax bill (2006)
22% tax-payer: £9 per month
Insurance group: 9
Combined mpg: 29.7
Test mpg: 25.3
CAP Monitor RV: £8,450 (43%)
Contract hire rate: N/A
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles