AFTER nine years and 1.3million sales of the L200, Mitsubishi is later this year launching the
AFTER nine years and 1.3million sales of the L200, Mitsubishi is later this year launching the all-new fifth generation L200.
But before we get there — to the brand new model — I thought I would take a trip (down Memory Lane as it happens, because I’ve known the L200 for many years) in the outgoing model and in preparation for driving the new one.
This L200 in all its forms has been a stalwart of Mitsubishi’s impact in this country — along with that classic, the Mitsubishi Shogun.
I took the L200 Challenger Double Cab for a spin and was impressed by its durability and how it has evolved from what was basically a utility vehicle into a comfortable and willing (and quite economical to buy and run) SUV (sports utility vehicle).
But what about the new one? What was promised to fans at its appearance at the 85th International Geneva Motor Show?
Mitsubishi says the new L200 has been developed as a “sport utility truck” that will “reach new heights of reliability, toughness, interior comfort and manoeuvrability”.
Highlights include an all-new 2.4 litre MIVEC turbo-charged diesel engine with a six-speed manual transmission.
It’s a greener engine to boot — down to 169 g/km minimum.
What’s more, the new engine generates more power at low revs and delivers stronger performance even when the L200 is fully loaded.
The turbo charger gives greatly improved response and more driving enjoyment, together with the new six-speed manual transmission and automatic transmission’s paddle-shift.
By retaining the sporty features of its predecessor, says Mitsubishi, the new L200’s exterior design contributes to lower aerodynamics and increased fuel efficiency.
A quieter interior is achieved through the all-new diesel engine and noise-reducing measures on the vehicle body. Enlarged body mounts and extended rear suspension leafs provide for a smoother vibration-reduced ride. Mitsubishi also says there will be a better seating and driving position for more comfort.
The new L200 will be tougher all round and have better handling by a quicker steering gear ratio than before. And the body structure has been toughened to give the vehicle improved performance over a wide range of terrains and situations.
Improved safety features for the new L200 include:
• Super Select 4WD II will give better cornering stability even on the road — and drivers can choose four driving modes by rotating the drive mode selector control
• Active Stability and Traction Control with Trailer Stability Assist and Hill Start Assist systems, Lane Departure Warning
• HID headlamps (with integrated LED daytime running lights and Bi-Xenon projectors) introduced for better vision during winter or night driving
• Passive safety has been enhanced by seven airbags including side airbags and curtain airbags for the front seats and an added knee airbag for the driver.
Other new features include:
• Rear doors are added for more convenience on Club Cab
• Keyless operation system with engine stop/start switch
• Cruise Control with adaptive speed limiter
• Dual temperature automatic air conditioning
• Steering column-mounted paddle shifters
• Reach and rake adjustment of the steering wheel
• Rear view camera
• Digital Audio Broadcasting radio system
• The all-new L200 is built by Mitsubishi Motors Thailand for all global markets — it will be launched in Europe during the summer of 2015, in both Club Cab and Double Cab body styles.
All in all the new L200 could prove every bit as popular as the one it replaces.