With its aggressive styling and 4wd, the fourth-generation L200 was the seminal Mitsubishi pick-up, writes Ian Shaw
Produced from 2006 to 2014, the fourth generation of Mitsubishi’s L200 is widely considered the best of the bunch. That’s certainly the case within Mitsubishi – it forged the company’s reputation as a pick-up maker and took the fight directly to the worldwide yardstick of the class: the Toyota Hilux.
Its rounded yet aggressive styling clothed the four-wheel-drive running gear from the Mitsubishi Shogun. Termed Super Select, it offers rear-wheel drive with front hub disconnect for better fuel economy on the road; four-wheel drive with a open centre differential – like a Land Rover Defender – for use on the road, then locking the centre differential for snow; and finally low ratio with centre differential locked for proper off-road work.
It’s just a pity you cannot have low ratio with centre diff unlocked for trailer reversing, which is so useful on the dear-departed Defender. On the road the L200 has a level of comfort on a different planet to a Defender, so you pays your money and takes your choice. You get quite a lot for your money: Mitsubishi’s Dakar-winning reliability allied to high levels of kit depending on which of the ridiculously over-compensating butch model names you choose from (e.g Warrior and Barbarian), including climate control, satnav, half-leather seats – you name it, it’s all up for grabs.
There’s even a high power-output TWR engine upgrade, but for most owners it’s not worth the hefty price premium and we suspect any models with it specified will have been driven hard.
The L200 is a sizable vehicle at almost 5.2m and will sit on your driveway like a long-wheelbase VW Transporter, and although it’s quite low at 1.8m, it’s unlikely to fit in most domestic garages.
The length is mainly due to the long rear overhang, but at least that means 1.5m of load length in the double-cab version and up to 2.2m if you opt for just two seats. However, the long rear overhang means a poor departure angle, as off-road experts term it – in other words, it will hit its tail on the ground far more readily when climbing sudden inclines than a Defender 110, Discovery Commercial or Mitsubishi’s own Shogun 4Work would. But it will accept palletised loads, and with at least a 1,045kg payload, it gets over the double-cab VAT reclaim threshold.
A few faults are known across the L200 range. The independent front suspension top mounts can wear and fail, and the rear chrome trim bar can become detached – this is most likely due to it hitting the ground when offloading or potentially with poor trailer manoeuvring. We have also heard of a few instances of the engine stalling and this will generally be accompanied by the engine management warning light, pointing to and engine control unit (ECU) problem on a small number of L200s built from 2013 to 2014.
Mitsubishi dealer service history is a must, and finally the 4WD transmission and rear axle can suffer if the correct high-quality multi-grade EP (extreme pressure) oil is not used.