But the firm is very much aware of the threat posed by the rival Nissan Navara and with this latest incarnation has steered away from that ‘don’t- mess-with-me’ image, offering instead something altogether more stylish and European.
The new Nissan Navara, on the other hand, is unashamedly American, with muscle truck looks and a 174bhp engine.
Which vehicle will prove the winner in the sales stakes in the coming year? Only time will tell. One thing is certain – whatever you think about the looks of the L200, there is no doubt it is a quantum leap forward over the old one.
Gone is that rock-hard suspension, gone is that tractor-like interior and gone is that sluggish 114bhp diesel engine.
In their place is a ride and suspension set-up that will feel equally at home on the M25 and in the mud, while the interior is as smooth and stylish as you’ll find in any 4x4 car.
The old diesel has been replaced by a 2.5-litre common rail unit offering 134bhp at 4,000rpm and 231lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm. Mitsubishi will soon be offering a chip upgrade to 160bhp and we’ll be taking advantage of that in due course.
The entry-level model is the 4Work, which is aimed at the utilitarian end of the market and comes at £14,999 ex-VAT. Single, club-cab and double-cab models are available and spec levels are 4Life, Warrior, Animal and Elegance.
In the cabin, the L200 boasts best-in-class dimensions for a double-cab – rear legroom is up 60mm over the old model – and there is a new car-like dashboard to replace the old agricultural version in the previous model.
A new ladderframe chassis provides a smoother ride with less noise and vibration and the L200 has the best drag co-efficient in its class, leading to fuel economy of 29.7mpg on the combined cycle.
In the back, the loadbed for the double-cab is slightly smaller than the old model at 1,325mm long by 1,470mm wide as opposed to 1,500mm x 1,470mm. Payload is also down slightly from 1,065kg to 1,045kg.
Our test model is the Warrior automatic, which weighs in at £18,799 ex-VAT.
But don’t be fooled – this vehicle comes specced up to the eyeballs with an alloy load liner, chrome sports bar (a kind of roll-over hoop on the loadbed), satellite navigation, rear DVD player, a roll-top on the loadbed and metallic paint, adding up to a total of £4,971 ex-VAT. To get a vehicle looking this good, you have to pay the price.
However, standard spec is already generous (for a commercial vehicle) and includes ABS brakes, air-conditioning, traction control, alloy wheels with locking nuts, electric windows and keyless entry. It’s early days yet (the vehicle is with us for a year) but so far there has been no shortage of testers aiming to get their clammies on the keys.
It’s certainly a head-turner and is gaining admiring glances wherever it goes.
With just 879 miles on the clock, the engine is still tight and won’t release its full power for a while, but it already feels smooth and competent.
Equipment and options
Total options: £4,971
Standard price (ex-VAT OTR): £18,799
Price as tested: £23,770
Model: Mitsubishi L200 Warrior auto Price (ex-VAT OTR): £18,799 (£23,770 as tested) Mileage: 879 CO2 emissions (g/km): 252 Company car tax bill (2006/7): 22% tax-payer £9 per month Insurance group: 9 Combined mpg: 29.7 Test mpg: N/A CAP Monitor residual value: £8,450/43% HSBC contract hire rate: N/A Expenditure to date: Nil Figures based on three years/60,000 miles
What we expect
WHAT do we expect? A big queue of people wanting to drive this eye-catching vehicle for starters. It demands to be looked at and doesn’t disappoint once you get behind the wheel. And there’s a practical side too – whether you are lugging a pile of bricks around or taking mum and dad to the airport with a pile of suitcases, the L200 will deliver with practicality, style and aplomb.
The manufacturer’s view
‘In 2005, the L200 accounted for a third of our volume and 47% of fleet sales. The new L200 has the complete package: good specification, low SMR costs, great residuals, stunning looks, true off-road ability and dealers who know the vehicle. It also offers a much more SUV-like driving experience.’
Andy Wertheim, manager of fleet and used car operations, Mitsubishi Click on next page to view pictures of the L200