WITH all the hoo-hah surrounding the recent launch of the new Mitsubishi L200, with its dashing lines, leather trim and macho chrome accessories, it’s all too easy to forget that there is another more workaday side to this truck.
While the city high rollers and surf dudes swan about in their trucks with names such as ‘Warrior’ and ‘Animal’ readers of Fleet Van are likely to be more interested in the working versions – single-cabs, club-cabs, double-cabs and the one on test here, the Tipper, which weighs in at £18,397 ex-VAT.
Take away all the razzle dazzle extras from the lifestyle versions and you are still left with a good, solid vehicle but one which will appeal to fleets which need a rugged go-anywhere vehicle.
4Work versions start from £12,397 ex-VAT and come with a fairly good standard specification list for the price – dual airbags, ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, limited slip diff, CD player with MP3, easily selectable four-wheel drive and a height adjustable driver’s seat.
There is a 4Work tipper in standard spec which costs £17,147 and our test model, the 4Life tipper, adds air conditioning, central locking and engine immobiliser.
Under the bonnet goes Mitsubishi’s 2.5-litre four cylinder common rail diesel powerplant offering 134bhp at 4,000rpm and a stonking 231lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm, giving this truck a tremendous amount of pulling power.
Payload is 903kg and Mitsubishi reckons the L200 should be good for 32.8mpg on the combined cycle.
Behind the wheel
Talk about a beast – this wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
I’d kind of pictured a standard L200 with a tippable rear end but what turned up at our office was a fully-blown truck with a humongous chassis and massive rear load area measuring no less than 241cm by 171cm – that’s nearly eight feet long.
The cargo area also features six tying down points and both the sides and rear tailgate fold down.
Meanwhile, there is a lockable tool box on the nearside, although I wouldn’t risk leaving anything valuable in it.
Keeping the driver and passenger safe from flying loads is a meaty headboard which is ultra safe but hampers the driver’s view no end when manoeuvring.
It’s like trying to look through a cheese grater.
In the cab, the seats are firm and supportive and have plenty of side support, while the dash features a neat CD player with a detachable front.
There isn’t a lot of storage space but the centre console does have a handy 12v power take-off.
Four wheel drive high and low is selected by a second gear lever on the floor.
The tipper mechanism is simply two buttons, one for up and one for down.
It is located behind the driver’s seat and you have to pull the seat forwards to operate it, thus ensuring it can’t be accidentally used while on the move.
The L200’s engine starts up with a mighty thrum and offers enough power to wind it up to a top speed of 103mph, a pretty scary thought in a vehicle like this.
Although I didn’t manage to take this vehicle off road in my test week, I have been in the mud with other L200s and can vouch that they offer legendary performance.
This tipper may lack the payload of its single-cab brethren, but for fleets which need a truck like this with off-road performance, there surely can’t be a more stylish or more capable alternative.