WITH more than four decades of pick-up know-how under its belt, Mitsubishi has just raised the bar in the sector with the launch of its all-new sixth generation L200 model.
Since the L200 debuted back in 1978, more than 4.7 million vehicles have been sold globally and it has always proved immensely popular in the UK.
So, designers and engineers were tasked with the job of improving on the outgoing version without rocking the boat too much and driving away the existing fan-base.
And it would seem they have really come up trumps with a vehicle that boasts more aggressive styling to help give it extra road presence, along with lots of enhanced on-board technology and safety kit, plus a new engine. All this and it's still priced very competitively.
The latest model features a 2,268cc turbo diesel engine with AdBlue for cleaner more efficient motoring delivering a combined 29.1mpg with carbon emissions of 206g/km. This is mated to a fresh six-speed automatic gearbox (a six-speed manual transmission is available). There is also plenty of choice with double or single cab models, various trim levels and prices starting from just £21,740.
We opted for the high-end L200 Barbarian X Double Cab model with automatic gearbox costing Â£32,530 - a number of optional extras saw the cost creep up by an additional Â£2,603.
The latest L200 looks imposing when viewed from any angle thanks to its all-new exterior styling, including a front end dominated by the company's Dynamic Shield identity which includes a massive grille. There is a clamshell bonnet that's been raised by 40mm, slim LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, squared-off wheel arches, a new rear bumper design plus 18-inch alloy wheels as standard.
Climb aboard (with the aid of grab handles and side steps for all occupants) and the interior has certainly taken a giant leap upmarket. There is leather upholstery with ‘Barbarian X' embossed into the seat backs, a compact touchscreen infotainment set-up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, air conditioning, front and rear mood lighting, heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel. An illuminated ‘Barbarian X' on the door sills greets you when you open the door and there are LED puddle lamps that look neat in the dark.
So, it would seem the new L200 has all the style and creature comfort bases covered, but it's worth remembering that this is primarily a working vehicle, so it's reassuring to learn that it can still put in a shift when needed. It can tow trailers weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, has a payload limit of 1,075kgs, can wade through water up to 600mm deep and has all the 4x4 ability you could possibly wish for.
Out on the open road, there is bundles of power from the new diesel powertrain and the gearbox is nicely timed with steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver engagement. The road holding is nice and planted and there is not too much body sway into corners.
The steering is quite heavy which becomes more noticeable in busy town centres with lots of twisting and turning. But the L200 effortlessly cruises at national speed limits on motorways with not too much noise from the road surface or engine.
One area that has certainly been improved upon is the ride comfort. Older models left you feeling like a visit to a chiropractor might be needed, but the improved suspension system does a great job of smoothing out the road surfaces along the way.
That means all occupants are treated to a far more comfortable experience and there won't be too many complaints from back seat passengers either as they have ample leg, shoulder and head space even with the front seats pushed well back.
There is a wealth of safety kit, including more powerful brakes to help you bring the vehicle to a standstill. Other features include blind spot warning, forward collision mitigation, automatic high beam, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, hill descent control and plenty more besides.