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Mitsubishi has a long history in the pick-up sector, spanning four model generations and 33 years in the UK.
However, when the new L200 Series 5 arrives in September, it will be joining a class that is about to get far more crowded than the one its predecessors helped establish.
Apart from new models coming from the established players, Renault, Mercedes and Fiat Professional are all preparing to launch pick-up models.
Mitsubishi claims its new L200 offers the best all-round package, though, one highlight being its emissions.
The L200's official 42.8mpg fuel economy is a comfortable 11% better than the best of the rest, the Isuzu D-Max (38.7mpg), and an impressive 47% better than the thirstiest of the bunch, the Nissan Navara (33.6mpg). The L200's CO2 emissions start at 169g/km, compared with 192g/km for the D-Max.
The Series 5 doesn't look radically different from its predecessor. It's still relatively sleek but has gathered more chrome on the front end. The new model retains the so-called 'J-line' design that smoothly integrates the load bed with the cab, and gives the L200 a more cohesive appearance than some of its rivals.
Mitsubishi claims interior space in the double cab version has increased. There is plenty of legroom but we would not recommend sitting in the middle rear seat for any length of time because it's a squeeze. The front of the truck features LED daytime running lights and bi-xenon projectors located above large bumpers. The rear gets new wrap-around combination lamps and steps to ease access to the load bay.
Mitsubishi has replaced the old 2.5-litre diesel engine with a new common-rail, 2.4-litre unit offering outputs of 151hp in the entry-level 4Life and 178hp in the Titan, Warrior and Barbarian trims. There's a six-speed manual gearbox as standard but a five-speed automatic transmission is also offered with paddle shifters mounted on the steering column.
The new L200's cargo bed is 1470mm long and 1470mm wide. It's also 475mm deep - a 15mm increase on the previous generation. Generally speaking, however, it's smaller than the beds in rivals including the VW Amarok and Isuzu D-Max.
The double cab Series 5's payload capacity of 1045kg also falls short of some of its competitors. The Navara double cab can handle 1250kg, for example. However, the L200's combined carrying and towing capacity of 4090kg outshines the D-Max (4013kg), the Hilux (3860kg) and the Amarok (3857kg). The L200 Series 5 comes with two 4WD systems.
The entry-level 4Life gets Easy Select offering high and low ratio settings for off-road terrain. It has to be switched to 2WD on-road, where power is directed to the rear wheels.
The Titan, Warrior and Barbarian specifications get the more sophisticated Super Select system that allows on-road driving in both 2WD and 4WD modes.
The cab offers more head and shoulder room in the front, and more legroom in the rear than before. The steering column on all versions is adjustable for rake and reach, and there is decent stowage, including space for litre water bottles in the doors and a useful, discreet storage space underneath the rear bench seat.
We drove an L200 Series 5 manual in Warrior specification. Off-road it coped competently in extremely wet and muddy conditions, traversing steep inclines, sharp descents and shallow rivers with ease. On-road it drove smoothly, while the handling was impressively composed. There was barely any body roll, while the steering was light and precise.
Unladen, the L200 rides like a pick-up; that is to say it can get very bouncy over potholes and rough, gravelly surfaces. On better roads it's fine, and cruises quietly.
In our hands, economy averaged a little under 31mpg, well short of the official 42.8mpg. Standard equipment on the £19,749 4Life model includes cruise control, 16in alloys, air-conditioning, Bluetooth and hill start assist.
Step up to the £20,749 Titan and the alloys go to 17in, the air-con becomes dual-zone, and you get DAB radio and lane departure warning.
The £23,049 Warrior adds heated front seats and a reversing camera - useful on a pick-up where the rear view is not comprehensive.
The £23,799 Barbarian offers mainly cosmetic upgrades including additional chrome and leather, and LED mood lighting.
Mitsubishi L200 2.4 178hp DI-D Warrior
Model price range (excl. VAT) £19,749-£25,199
Insurance group 9 (est.)
Service intervals 12,500mls
Load bay length 1470mm
Max load bay width 1470mm
Load bay height 475mm
Gross payload 1045kg
Engine size/power 2442cc/178hp
Fuel consumption 42.8mpg
The new L200 is capable and practical but a raft of fresher rivals is coming very soon
Manoeuvrability and driving experience on and off-road