I’ll say from the outset that I don’t think I’ve done the Mitsubishi L200 justice. Aside from the Subaru Outback, I can’t think of another Diesel Car long-termer better suited to our life in Devon. It’s why I jumped at the chance to run the L200 for the magazine, as I felt I could give it an authentic and thorough test. There’s also the bonus of giving us the opportunity to see if it would be worth ditching our trusty Isuzu D-Max for a newer model.
Having arrived three months late due to lockdown restrictions, the L200 returned to Mitsubishi HQ to have a few issues sorted. This was on top of time spent at a Mitsubishi dealer when Simon Thompson had custody of the L200 pre-lockdown. His problems amounted to dodgy wiring stopping the key from working and a faulty lock mechanism on the rear canopy. Although I never experienced a problem with the key, the locking issue was the primary reason why the car went back to base. That and the lack of air conditioning, which I suspect was a symptom of the dashboard being dismantled to fix the wiring. It has been fine since then, but I’m not sure I could live with the rattling rear passenger-side window any longer.
Social distancing and further lockdown measures meant the L200 rarely left Devon. I A trip to the West Midlands before the November lockdown and driving to Dorset to collect six goats are the longest drives I can remember. I’m not left with fond memories of the trips. There’s too much wind noise at high speeds, while the sound of the 2.3-litre diesel engine is a constant companion, especially on hills and during overtaking manoeuvres. Things aren’t a lot better when exiting roundabouts, joining dual carriageways or attempting to make anything other than relaxed progress. The transmission responds with all the urgency of a sloth with a hangover, while the engine groans like a yawning whale. In fairness, it scores points for its car-like cabin, most notably the excellent heated seats on the Barbarian X model, the heated steering wheel and an infotainment system that’s clear, logical and easy to use on the move. I still think a lifestyle pick-up of this price range should feature a navigation system. Some will argue that Apple CarPlay provides access to Google Maps and Apple Maps, but unless you have an unlimited data contract, you’ll be paying for the privilege.
If long journeys take the L200 out of its comfort zone, the rural roads of Devon are its natural habitat. Despite its size, the L200 feels at home on country lanes, with the raised driving position ideal for peering over hedgerows. The ability to switch from front- to four-wheel drive at speeds of up to 62mph is excellent – we’ve been using this a great deal over recent weeks. It hasn’t put a tyre wrong when it has been called into action in the paddocks. Wet grass, deep mud and gravel tracks – no problem for the L200 and its torquey engine.
Its departure means that it’s out with the new and in with the old, as we return to life with the Isuzu D-Max. Will we miss the L200? The wife says she’ll miss the reversing camera, the damped tailgate and the slightly higher driving position. Look beyond the little luxuries, and the L200 doesn’t feel any more refined than the 2012 D-Max, so I don’t think we’ll be selling the Isuzu any time soon. Not only has it been 100 per cent reliable, it does most things the L200 can do, albeit without the driver assistance systems and ability to keep my hands and bottom warm. It’s also slightly more economical. If the L200 has achieved one thing, it has cemented my fondness of double cab picks-ups. Job done.
Date arrived 10th March 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 29.1mpg
Economy (On test) 28.4mpg