What are you driving?
The considerably updated Mitsubishi L200 pickup. It competes in the hotly contested 'one-tonne pickup' sector (with a 1,080kg payload) and is either a facelifted fifth-gen model or the sixth generation of the breed from Mitsubishi, depending on who you're talking to. Big talking points for it include its none-too-shy face, a new engine and a few interior tweaks. All variants sold in Ireland use the five-seat, 'double cab' body style, one of two different four-wheel-drive systems and the new engine. Mitsubishi calls the new four-cylinder lump a 2.2, but with a 2,268cc capacity it's closer to 2.3 litres in size. Maximum outputs are modest, at 150hp and 400Nm.
Buyers can choose between two manual variants of the L200, the Intense version tested here and the less expensive Business model. It costs about €1,250 to upgrade the Intense with an automatic gearbox, while the all-singing, all-dancing L200 Instyle at the top of the line-up gets it as standard.
Name its best bits
The primary thing going for the L200, which isn't unique in the class, is its serious off-road ability. It feels invincible in that regard. All versions other than the more basic Business model get Mitsubishi's Super Select 4WD-II system, which is fully selectable and should, in conjunction with the chunky standard mud and snow off-road tyres, get you out of any sticky situation. We left it in '2H' (rear-drive only, high ratio) for all our road driving and it never needed extra traction, even on wet roads. There's '4H' four-wheel drive if you feel the need for it and then, when the surface underneath is really challenging you push down the selector and twist it into either '4HLc'or '4LLc' to engage the centre locking differential (and either high or low transfer ratio). If you know how to use all of this, it's unlikely you'd ever get stuck off-road. The average driver has no use for such things of course.
Everyone seemed to appreciate the 'expressive' new look of the front of the L200. It's the most distinctive pickup on the market when viewed from the front (the Tesla Cybertruck isn't on sale here after all) and Mitsubishi Ireland further embellished it with a few bits and pieces from its aftermarket catalogue.
Anything that bugs you?
Please don't go out and commit to replacing your regular family car or SUV with a pickup truck such as the Mitsubishi L200 without first of all spending some time in one. Sure, its load bay is great for getting rid of the Christmas tree, for carting all the recycling to the bring centre and carrying your kids' bikes to the woods on a Sunday afternoon to get muddy, but try fitting in the said kids while you do the weekly shopping. And then explain to them why they're bouncing up and down over every pebble in the Aldi carpark.
Because the L200 is designed to carry heavier loads, that's why. It's a compromised vehicle to use every day, with slow steering and a horrid gearchange adding to the inherent lack of refinement in the engine and suspension. Oh, and while the interior might stand up to the rigours of family life better than any regular car, it also feels dated and a bit unyielding. And it guzzles diesel.
And why have you given it this rating?
The Mitsubishi L200 should be compared with its peers only. Do that and it's undoubtedly fit for purpose. Against a road-biased SUV, it feels crude, even if it is a lot of vehicle for the money. However, if you're buying one to use its towing capacity, its robustness and its unbelievable off-road prowess, then you won't be disappointed, as to all of that it adds a decent level of equipment and a highly distinctive image, not to mention room for five adults.
What do the rest of the team think?
The updates to this L200 result in a far more modern exterior design, though it may prove divisive to some. Like so many pickups, when unladen the ride can be on the bouncy side, but its newer engine feels more refined, and the manual transmission isn’t that agricultural. Being able to easily and quickly flip between two- and four-wheel drive on the move is also a boon.
Dave Humphreys - Road Test Editor