19 April 2018

Full Mitsubishi L200 (15 on) Model Review

by Richard Kilpatrick, Consumer Editor

2018 Mitsubishi L200 181hp 2.4 MIVEC Warrior3.5 tonne
  • 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • Interior of the 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • Reversing camera - 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior 4x4 181hp - 3,500Kg towing capacity
  • Warrior trim bridges utility and comfort
  • Four-wheel drive towing on tarmac for £25,605 (plus VAT)
  • Impressive towing ability meets average load capacity
Mitsubishi L200 (15 on) 2.5 DI-D (178bhp) LB Double Cab DI-D Warrior 4WD - Road Test
It’s a small change for the 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior pickup, just a little number moving on the specification sheet; 3,100kg to 3,500kg, or 3.5 tonnes. Yet for that small improvement in grade, the Mitsubishi L200 joins the front runners in the crowded double cab pickup market.

It’s a small change for the 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior pickup, just a little number moving on the specification sheet; 3,100kg to 3,500kg, or 3.5 tonnes. Yet for that small improvement in grade, the Mitsubishi L200 joins the front runners in the crowded double cab pickup market.

For those of you wanting to get it over and done with - that’s pretty much all there is. Mitsubishi's L200 for 2018 looks much like 2017's - the big change is that the chassis is now double-skinned in crucial areas, and as a result the consistently popular pickup now pulls more weight.

2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior Double Cab 2.4D MIVEC

Regardless of specification, the towing limit on the L200 4x4 is rated for the class maximum of 3,500kg. Many rivals that meet this high towing limit only offer them with an automatic transmission, whereas Mitsubishi has achieved that rating on both manual and automatic versions.

Despite the increase, the load capacity of the manual transmission double cab Warrior is unchanged at 1,045kg; but it's no longer the case that you can tow to the limit and carry almost to the limit too. Total capacity is not only restricted by vehicle strength and ability which has been upgraded - the legal restriction of Gross Train Weight remains unchanged, which on the double cab 181hp L200 is 5,950kg.

New L200 can shift 4,090kg, towing 3,500kg of that

To stay legal, payload capacity drops to 590kg when towing the full 3,500kg. It is also necessary for a trailer and load over 3,100kg to have three axles for stability and weight distribution. A stronger towbar is part of the manufacturer approved kit, and standard-fit trailer stability assist completes the package.

Thanks to the L200’s low weight, this now makes the L200 one of the best load luggers around, with a total load capacity of 4,090kg, and the only one offering that capacity with selectable permanent all-wheel drive usable on tarmac, rather than part-time four-wheel drive limited to loose surfaces.

If you're wondering why the svelte Mitsubishi is legally rated to carry more than larger, beefier looking pickups, the key is in the UK's licensing restrictions. A Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or Gross Train Weight (GTW) under 6,000kg is less likely to need a tachograph for the majority of users.

For example, if you want the security of full-time 4x4 for the same list price, you could get an Amarok Trendline 163hp; it has selectable four-wheel drive and a larger loadbay, but has a maximum load capacity of 3,423kg. Even the most powerful VW peaks at 3,856kg - some 234kg shy of the L200, and no Amarok can tow 3.5 tonnes.

That's how unusual the L200's blend of abilities is; it's essentially unrivalled.

Has the uprated capacity changed how the L200 drives?

Unless you’re in the business of stacking mattresses and attempting to detect small vegetables underneath them, you’re unlikely to be able to tell if you’re in the newer L200. One of the best four-cylinder engines offered in this market, the 2.4-litre MIVEC diesel is refined, light and powerful, with impressive torque of 430Nm.

In 181hp Warrior form with the six-speed manual gearbox, there’s a slightly harsh edge to road imperfections, and a precise, but ponderous gearshift surrounding a core of a comfortable ride, responsive handling and decent refinement for a pickup.

Larger road imperfections - or the ‘bloody great potholes’ that Britain seems to have perfected as an alternative traffic calming measure - provide a fair amount of noise and a few echoes as the suspension settles, without feeling like the Mitsubishi has been overwhelmed or damaged.

Turn in and initial response is sharp for this type of vehicle, and the L200 is generally an engaging and enjoyable pickup to pilot, requiring little correction and providing plenty of feedback through the wheel. Standard-fit Bridgestone Dueler tyres work well in all conditions, rather than being so optimised for the road that they struggle with snow or mud, too.

2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior Double Cab 2.4D MIVEC

Our test example came from Mitsubishi with a Truckman top fitted, which increases wind noise quite dramatically – a small price to pay for a usable, well-lit covered load area and a small improvement in fuel economy compared to an uncovered bed.

That load bed may be able to carry a lot of weight, but it's one of the smaller ones on the market, offering a width of 1,470mm and length of 1,520mm on the floor, and 1,470mm square at the top of the 475mm high area.

For longer loads Mitsibishi does offer the rather less sophisticated L200 4Life pickup, which has also been upgraded to tow 3.5 tonnes and has a maximum bed length of 2,265mm.

With the manual gearbox, performance is impressive, too. Motorway cruising is very relaxed, the tall sixth gear keeping engine speed – and fuel consumption – low at 70mph, and where limits allow a much higher cruising speed is comfortable.

What's the L200 Warrior like inside?

For 2018 the Mitsubishi L200 Warrior specification is largely unchanged, and includes a four-way adjustable electric driver’s seat, heated front seats, ducted heating to the rear seats, leather trim and electric windows and mirrors. There’s keyless start and central locking – though this doesn’t lock the tailgate – and dual-zone climate conditioning, so the passenger and driver can have different temperatures.

2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior Double Cab 2.4D MIVEC

Storage space around the cabin is not that generous, with a deep, but not particularly well trimmed cubby under the plastic armrest (Barbarian models get leather trim here) and cupholders in the centre console.

Ahead of the gearlever, there’s a box with a rather permanent-feeling plastic cover; this is designed to be unclipped and your smartphone charging cable coiled underneath. The box itself isn’t big enough for the latest bulky iPhones and Android devices, though, and access is slightly hampered by infotainment ports sharing the opening.

Glovebox capacity is acceptable, and the door bins are capable of taking a 1.0-litre bottle plus oddments. There are no small boxes in the dash itself, though, and anything in the door pockets causes an annoying buzz due to the lack of soft trimming and proximity of the main speakers. A roof-mounted sunglasses pocket makes up for the lack of smaller stowage spaces lower down.

Reasonably sized pockets feature in the rear doors, and rear passengers will find a centre armrest with cupholders and map pockets in the seats. Smaller rear passengers are provided for, with Isofix points on the outer pair and top tethers behind the seat – this area also provides a useful carpeted space behind for tools or emergency items.

A-pillar grab handles for both passenger and driver are provided, making the climb up to the cabin somewhat easier. Since the facelift, the Warrior's standard side steps have been revised to a continuous flat shape rather than the cut-out tubular type - allowing easier access if you need to use them in cramped spaces.

Despite a lack of lumbar support, the seats on the L200 Warrior are comfortable for long drives and offer a reasonable width without losing side bolster depth. Steering wheel adjustment for rake and reach, plus large electrically adjusted mirrors help with getting a good driving position with decent visibility.

Give with one hand, take away with the other - Mitsubishi SDA media system

Mitsubishi has standardised the infotainment system – sort of. Previous Warrior models came with either Mitshibishi’s own 7.0-inch sat-nav/media system or a custom 6.1-inch Kenwood; neither supported Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and the interface looked a little dated with a characteristic matte touchscreen and some buttons and dials to control it.

Now the centre screen is a featureless touch panel with no hardware buttons at all, though the display is nicer - like a little iPad popped into the dash. There’s no CD mechanism, but two USB ports feature; one in the usual spot below the heater controls, and one in a new location in the box ahead of the gearlever. Video input is also possible via HDMI, though playback is restricted to when the vehicle is parked. Usefully, there's a reversing camera on the tailgate.

You can have smartphone navigation and a USB device with music on at the same time. This effectively replaces the Mitsubishi system’s ability to connect an iPhone via USB and leave an SD card of music in the device; if you prefer using an Apple device for music, and want Waze navigation via Android Auto, Mitsubishi provides.

It’s not all good though – the handsfree system is still pretty awful and uses the passenger side speaker for audio output; something that could easily be changed in software but appears to be hardwired, and the changes mean if you don't have a smartphone or music on USB storage, you're limited to the FM/DAB radio.

Does the uprated L200 have any rivals?

Although it’s likely that the Fiat Fullback - built in the same factory on the same chassis - will receive the upgraded frame, whether Fiat chooses to follow suit having their version of the pickup re-rated for a higher capacity is unconfirmed, giving the L200 a clear advantage if you anticipate towing large loads.

Realistically, that leaves the Mitsubishi out on a limb. The rival for full-time four-wheel drive is the Volkswagen Amarok, which costs more for similar equipment and can only legally tow 3,100kg in the UK, even in the most powerful specification.

A 3.2-litre Ford Ranger might appeal to those with heavy loads to haul, but you can only carry 367kg in the back at the same time and are effectively restricted to using rear-wheel drive on wet or greasy roads where full-time four-wheel drive would improve safety.

Verdict

The Mitsubishi L200 is already a good pickup to drive, and the increased towing capacity adds flexibility. Selectable full-time four-wheel drive is a significant advantage over many rivals, providing grip for towing on loose surfaces and security in poor weather.

2018 Mitsubishi L200

It's also good value, both on the £25,605 list price for this Warrior specification pickup, and the frequent finance and lease offers from Mitsubishi from £275 per month with £825 deposit contribution; all figures exclude VAT.

Combining this ability and competitive pricing, the 2018 Mitsubishi L200 Warrior is a great truck if value and practicality are your priorities; unless you need a particularly large load area, it's difficult to make a case for spending more - and even if you do, you won't be able to tow as much with such surefooted traction on mixed surfaces.