L200 Club - a

pick-up to be taken

seriously

Mitsubishi L200, front static
Mitsubishi L200, side action
Mitsubishi L200, static water
Mitsubishi L200, static quarry
Mitsubishi L200, dashboard
Mitsubishi L200, 2013, load bed

THERE is a very old joke around here, a joke so old in fact that it predates Ken Dodd and is believed to have first been told at Viking Pillagers' Association solstice knees up and spit roast.

A farmer unfamiliar with the notion that anything other than lambs and piglets can be born in multiples, is attending the birth of his first nippper. This is a solemn occasion as he is skint and Europe has withdrawn the single child supplement. Also his clothes have been eaten by moths.

One child is safely delivered. Then another. As a third bout of pushing begins he runs around the room switching off lights and leaving the midwife trying to birth a large cheese.

"What are you doing you stupid man," she cries.

"Puttin' leets oot, its attractin' t' boogers."

And so it currently seems is the situation with pick-ups.

Toyota, Nissan and even Fiat have introduced updates or new models. Even Renault is expected to climb on the bandwagon.

Of the new crop of vehicles the Fiat is most surprising. Not often you see a pickup in the eternal city of tight pants and smart cars. And normally Italy is not famed for its cultured fullbacks, either, more part time assassins in blue.

Which brings us to today's chunky monkey because this is a country where out in the sticks the manufacture of sparking clogs is valued over a pair of dainty slip-ons. And why the Fullback is based on the Mitsubishi L200, the latest version of which I lay before you now.

Specifically we are looking at the six-speed manual Club Cab 4Life which is at the functional end of the L200 range.

Obviously there is a style-statement luxury model in shape of the Barbarian but before the L200 became a favourite with the county set it was the choice of builders and sheep farmers across the land.

So, while the Club cab has a couple of flip-up seats for unexpected guests its major feature is a truly massive load bed.

In the series five, for this is what it is, styling is muscular and while this is not toyshop interior you do get air conditioning, class-leading safety features including seven airbags, traction control and trailer stability assist.

At mid-range Titan level, still sub £25,000, the kit really starts to add up with privacy glass, 17-inch alloys lane departure warning and a DAB dance band.

Now while there is plenty of choice where specification is concerned there is only one engine option.

It is a 2.4-litre diesel with tuning to deliver either 151bhp or 178bhp. The Club has the less powerful of the two which makes sense for what is going to be predominantly a workhorse. Therefore you will not be surprised that over 12 seconds elapse before the car hits 62mph.

On the up side a combined consumption of 40.9mpg is promised which is more than you would anticipate from a car the size of Northamptonshire. So are the emissions at 180g/km.

Out on the road there is some rock and roll from the beefed up suspension but this is smooth enough a ride and relaxed over long trips.

And now the nitty gritty. The L200 has switchable 4x4 which means you are both in control of your own destiny and able to keep fuel costs down on the road by applying two-wheel-drive. In the rough this is an off roader you simply will not beat.

Mitsubishi has been way up in the premier league with its all-wheel-drive technology since the first days of the Shogun. There is a diff lock and hill start assist as well as all the ground clearance you could want.

The cost is a very reasonable £22,198 for either business use of heavy-duty towing and recreation use. Even so you may be one of those people who wonders what on earth is to be gained owning a big as 4x4 with no boot.

Well should you ever see a farmer in Lancashire blessed with triplets you will know.

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