Mitsubishi’s L200 range has recently been tweaked and as a result gets updated styling and more power for the range-topping Barbarian model. It also gets the option of a smooth, five-speed auto, but you will lose 50Nm of torque from the 400Nm on tap if you prefer to change gears yourself.
Redesigned inside and out with a new front grille, projector-type headlamps, revised instruments, new seat fabrics, aux-in audio and a new centre console and armrest, the L200 is a pleasant place to be when the going gets tough.
The steering wheel also gets cruise control buttons, too.
We were not keen on the complex Kenwood touch-screen sat-nav system installed in the L200. There is a remote control to use with it, but few aspects of it seem to be intuitive. On the plus side, it does have an integrated reversing camera which peeks out above the rear bumper and below the bottom of the tailgate - shame that it does not see the towbar, as the Navara’s does.
Seats though are in a different class to any other tested here. Sculpted for support and comfort, there is little to suggest you will have to spend days in traction after eating up long distances in the L200.
Compared to the Hilux, the L200’s cab does lack useful storage areas and you will end up stuffing the shallow, narrow door pockets and then resort to using the floor or back seats when space runs out.
With the ‘Super Select’ transmission, you do get M-ASTC - Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control - which keeps the L200 sunny-side up by braking and controlling torque individually to each wheel to enhance traction and stability - both on and off road.
Despite only having five speeds, the positive feel of the gearbox makes this one a pleasure to drive. And with 175hp on tap, it never felt lazy or slow, though it is no match for the muscular Navara.
The now standard ‘long bed’ is available across the range and puts a useful 180mm into the bed length, along with a cargo area which is higher and squarer at the rear, increasing volume, too.
The L200 also has the least amount of wheel-arch intrusion, though load space area is just trumped by the Navara. And the L200’s four fixed position tie-down points and non-locking rear tailgate, do not add value to the versatility offered by the longer bed.
There is a considerable rear overhang, though the wheelbase remains unchanged at three metres, so the L200’s manoeuvrability is not compromised - it is easily the most nimble of the group as a rack and pinion steering system keeps the L200’s turning circle held at 11.8m between walls.
It is also the most fidgety ride of the bunch too, as the front-end’s double-wishbone and coil spring set-up fights with the rear axle’s cart springs on anything other than the smoothest road surface.
A modest selection of bumps and dips on the B-road section of our test route, soon unsettled what is a reasonable ride.
And you only have to stand on the rear bumper when climbing into the load area to find out just how softly sprung this truck seems to be.