It might look relatively similar to its predecessor, but the new Mitsubishi L200 pick-up has undergone some significant changes that result in big improvements in efficiency and performance.
In the Metal:
You might think that the Mitsubishi L200 bears more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor, but it is in fact almost 90 per cent entirely new from the ground up. Overall, the shape and silhouette has remained the same but every panel is new, with the front benefitting from an improved look that also helps add to give it greater aerodynamic properties. The front headlights and grille now form a singular shape that wraps around into the front wings, with the latter wearing a chrome finish. Mitsubishi Ireland is also considering a lower-grade model that could come with a simpler black plastic grille, but this has yet to be firmly decided.
The flanks of the L200 are now more streamlined and feature wheelarches that protrude less from the main body, as does the rear bed. Its bed length has been extended by 15mm while the surrounding height has also increased by 15mm and it can take a payload of 1,045kg. New rear light units also wrap around the tail gate resulting in a more cohesive design.
The cabin has also seen improvements, most noticeably in the redesign of the front seats, which now offer much greater levels of side support - something the previous model was often criticised for. Mitsubishi has also fitted the L200 with a new colour touchscreen that displays the view for the standard-fit reversing camera. Gone is the rear drop-window, replaced by a single pane of glass. Mitsubishi engineers say that the old unit took up two inches that designers thought would be better spent on increasing interior space for the rear seat occupants. Overall, legroom for both front and rear passengers has been increased by 20mm and the general look and feel of the materials used throughout has been improved upon.
Anyone who has previously driven the L200 will immediately notice the improvement in the engine. The new 2.4-litre unit is lighter (in total the new engine saves a considerable 30kg over its predecessor), featuring an aluminium block and plastic head covers, and has a relatively low compression ratio of 15.5:1. It also features Mitsubishi's MIVEC variable valve timing system. Improvements in the area of fuel consumption sees the Mitsubishi's combined figure fall to 6.6 litres/100km, which is an improvement of around 17 per cent over its predecessor. Emissions have also been improved upon, with the L200 putting out 173g/km in manual guise, while the automatic emits 189g/km. However, the L200 remains classed only at Euro 5 for pollutants for now.
On the road, the new engine pulls well especially with the six-speed manual transmission that was developed entirely in-house. Engine speeds are noticeably lower than before while the gear change mechanism feels robust due to the use of a built-in shift lever rather than one that uses cables or rods. In total, the four-cylinder engine generates 430Nm of torque at 2,500rpm, while maximum power of 181hp arrives a little later on at 3,500rpm. Not that you'll be revving the engine too much; there always feels to be more than enough low down shove to pull itself and whatever load with ease. Helping that further is a Hill Start Assist system that now comes as standard.
The steering has been improved through a new rack that has a quicker gear ratio that slightly reduces the number of turns from lock-to-lock. The turning circle has also been improved to a radius of 5.9 metres making it currently the best in class according to Mitsubishi. The ride quality has been enhanced with the use of larger body mounts while longer leaf springs in the rear provide a smoother ride.
There is also the option of a five-speed automatic transmission that Mitsubishi has co-developed with Aisin. This gearbox is an evolved version of the one found in the Pajero and is water- and air-cooled and is a sealed-for-life unit. It now comes with a Sport mode as well as an option to manually shift gears via paddles located behind the steering wheel.
In this generation of the L200, Mitsubishi introduces a new SS4-II Super Select four-wheel drive system that enables the driver to easily switch between two- and four-wheel drive whilst on the move up to speeds of 100km/h, by using a rotary dial on the centre console. This uses a limited slip differential and in four-wheel drive mode splits torque distribution with 60 per cent going to the rear axle and 40 per cent going to the front. There is also a low gear mode for more extreme off-roading and via its central locking differential can adjust torque split to an even 50:50 between front and rear when needs be.
What you get for your Money:
Although we are awaiting news on the price, Mitsubishi has put together a competitive package with its new L200. Standard equipment includes a reversing camera, touchscreen infotainment system, leather multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, dual-zone air conditioning, rear privacy glass, front fog lights with an auto function for the headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome door and bed handles. There is also a new range of exterior colours to choose from.
Safety-wise, the cabin features seven airbags including side and curtain airbags in the front and a knee airbag for the driver. As we mentioned above there is a Hill Start Assist system and buyers also get traction control with Trailer Stability Assist. In addition to that, Mitsubishi Ireland provides a five-year or 150,000km warranty.
As a tool, the new Mitsubishi L200 meets many criteria, but where it is likely to win favour is in how much better it now drives. Its on-road manners have improved greatly, as has its technical performance both in terms of the new engine and also its new all-wheel drive transmission.