ON TEST: Mitsubishi L200 Warrior

Mitsubishi, On Test

There was a time when the L200 was the go-to pick-up in the UK, be it as a lifestyle truck with an SUV likeness, or as a capable and well-manufactured working wagon. Both titles have been in the hands of several trucks over the last decade or so, but the L200 has remained broadly popular in the UK, and by virtue has remained competitive in the one-tonne market. From the entry 4Life spec through to the top of the range, the L200 offers compelling performance with increasingly lavish levels of kit.

There are no two ways about it – the cabin in this L200 is a very, very nice place to be. And this is the Warrior trim which sits below the halo Barbarian and SVP grades.

The electronically-manned leather seats are all of the things you want them to be – comfortable, plush, supportive and heated, too. The latter of which kicks into gear swiftly when called upon, so you’ll quickly thaw out after climbing in from the cold.

Displayed on a responsive touchscreen, the multimedia system isn’t a complex affair and it is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. What it doesn’t have, however, is sat-nav, so if you’re one of the rare breed nowadays who doesn’t have a smartphone, you better pack a map. Digital, FM and AM radio signals can be retrieved and relayed by the system and the screen also displays the feed from the rear-view camera when the truck is in reverse.

Controls on the steering wheel are practical and functional, with buttons on the right for cruise control and on the left for the media, also answering and ending phone calls as well as the activation for voice commands. It has a quality feel to the leather, too, and ergonomically speaking, it’s an enjoyable wheel to use.

Legroom in the rear isn’t fantastic, but it is not bad for double-cab standards. Rear seats are reasonably well sculpted and there’s a substantial armrest for added comfort – providing there are only two passengers on the back row. Sadly, these seats aren’t heated, but they are equipped with ISOFIX fitments so you can securely lock child seats in place.

One thing to look out for, though, is bumping your head when you get in. The suave and sleek roofline of the L200, combined with the nice and high driving position means that knock-free boarding requires unique technique. You don’t need to be a gymnast to get in, but it’s worth taking caution initially. Headroom inside is fine, the quirk stems solely from the size of the door aperture.

Around town the steering is slightly on the heavy side and from behind the wheel you are afforded good visibility from a commanding seating position. The automatic’s gear ratios are well accustomed for slower speeds and help make the L200 manageable and easy to navigate – they’ll come in useful when towing, too.

To say that the L200 glides over speedbumps would be untruthful. The suspension is fairly firm and were it not so well-damped we could label it crashy and uncomfortable. This is particularly the case with the rear axle, which we know is tailored to help the truck when the bed is loaded, but it means it can be skittish when it isn’t. This isn’t something that will occur around town or even on roads that are largely smooth, as the L200 is fine with individual speedbumps and potholes, but it’s when you venture out onto the country lanes and B-roads that it becomes apparent. Out in the sticks the front is calm in comparison to the rear, which feels tense and as a result jitters from imperfection to imperfection. However, each time we encountered a bit of battered B-road the agitated rear end seemed less pronounced. This shouldn’t be something to worry about, as it won’t be anything like as pronounced with cargo in the back. After all, this is something to be expected in a pick-up, especially one with elliptic leaf springs at the rear that’re clearly braced for a working life.

Whilst we didn’t go anywhere that was too technical off-road, a spot of green laning showed that the L200 is surefooted, even when equipped with mere road rubber and tasked with traversing slimy, slippery mud. The rear still bounces over ruts and dips as much as it does sleeping policemen, but no sane individual should expect nor demand a velvety smooth ride away from paved roads.

In low-range, the L200 is calm, steady and keeps ticking just like it should and pulls itself over obstacles (bear in mind that we only went green laning, so these weren’t massively technical, but were obstacles nonetheless) without hesitancy.

For motorway cruising, the L200 has plenty of pulling power to be confident in overtaking manoeuvres and in building up speed on slip-roads. Road noise isn’t intrusive and nor is that from the engine which, all things considered, is pretty refined. The ratios of the gearbox mean it can be a little sluggish when building up speed, but knock the gear selector into manual mode and change up of your own accord using the shifter paddles and you can easily make swifter progress. It isn’t sharp-nosed and won’t dart about on windy B-roads, but you can enjoy yourself by taking control of the gearbox and accessing more of the torque on the exit of corners.

There are more work-focused trucks on the market, and there are swisher options out there, too. However, the L200 manages to hold appeal at both ends of the one-tonne bazaar, especially in this Warrior trim. Costing £27,255 as a commercial vehicle, it offers a commendable truck with plenty of trinkets for less than the most basic Amarok with an automatic transmission. The Mitsubishi also betters the braked towing capacity by 400kgs and has a more sophisticated interior than the Trendline VW would. As well as posing value off the shelf, you’ll be covered by Mitsubishi’s warranty for whichever you hit first of five years or 62,500-miles and services will be required either annually or every 12,500 miles.

It’s a versatile truck that isn’t without a few irksome foibles, but they’re either a side-effect of sticking to the true brief of a proper pick-up truck or small quirks that would soon become ironed out by habit in due ownership. The interior is pleasantly comfortable and made very well from good materials and the only fault with the multimedia system is that it doesn’t have sat-nav. It is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which easily cover up for this and will only ever catch you out if you need to find a route and are without any form of internet access or a map – which if you stick a map in the glovebox will be never.

On the whole it performs well on the road, and if you’re looking for a truck that will put in a stint on site and also accommodate the family for a run down the motorway to visit the in-laws, you’ll be pleased to know that the L200 is proficient at both. It is difficult to combine ability and comfort for this price on the market, and for that the L200 Warrior should be respected.

Thanks to the success of the Mk3 and Mk4 in Britain, it is also a truck that has developed a loyal following, and if fans were to switch to this model, they would not be disappointed.