First Drive: Mitsubishi L200 Club Cab

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2016   |   Author: James Dallas

Mitsubishi’s club cab derivative of its L200 pick-up truck will compete in a market a little more crowded than the one in which the single cab version, also launched in August, finds itself in.

Both sectors, however, are far less heavily populated than the big-volume, lifestyle-dominated double-cab division of the market.

It is to Mitsubishi’s credit therefore that it still caters for the often overlooked utilitarian customers who still see a pick-up truck as primarily a working tool.

In the club, or extended cab, segment of the market it joins the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-max and Nissan Navara.

Club cab pick-up trucks are aimed at operators who either need to transport a team of workers short distances to a site by making use of the two rudimentary seats in the rear or who want to make use of that space as an additional place to store tools and equipment.

What Van? recently got the chance to test the L200 4Life Club Cab Manual. The inclusion of ‘manual’ in the model name is a tad misleading because the six-speed clutched gearbox is, in fact, the only one on offer at this end of the range – the five-speed automatic only comes on board in double cab versions.
The back seats are reached through rear-hinged rear doors that can only be opened when the front doors are also open.

It is a struggle to get inside without bumping your head on the roof on the way, and once seated, conditions are cramped to say the least. The non-adjustable seat back leans forward, pushing the passenger’s head and upper body towards the back of the front seat, and tall occupants’ knees are unavoidably raised, meaning they are likely to feel they have adopted the airline ‘brace’ position.

On the plus side, the seat bottoms can be raised to access a generous storage space underneath for stashing hard hats or working boots.

The club cab is longer than the single cab truck, 5,195mm compared with 5,080mm, but has the same 1,785mm width and near identical height (1,775mm for the club versus 1,780mm for the single cab). It loses some space in the load bed, however; 2,265x1,470x475mm for the single cab against 1,850x1,470x475mm for the club.

Like the single cab, the club cab has a towing capacity of 3.0 tonnes, but its payload falls a little short of the single’s 1,060kg at 1,045kg. This compares with the 3.5t towing limit of the Toyota Hilux extra cab (from January 2017). By contrast, the Ford Ranger only manages 2.5t in super cab format.

The 1,185kg payload of the extra cab Hilux also trumps the L200 as does the Ranger’s 1,149kg limit.
A side-step helps the driver clamber into the L200’s cab (the single cab doesn’t have one) and entry is further eased by a grab handle – the front seat passenger also gets one.

Like the single cab model, the club cab is powered by the 150hp version of Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre diesel engine, and both 4Life trucks also come with Auto Stop and Go to help save fuel, although the L200’s figures of 40.9mpg and 180g/km of CO2 can’t match the best-in-class 44.9mpg and 167g/km Nissan claims for its most frugal version of the NP300 Navara king cab.

Manual air-conditioning and steering wheel-mounted audio controls increase cabin comfort and convenience, and the interior also includes a front storage box with centre arm rest. Hill Start Assist and Trailer Stability Assist are standard safety features and it’s good to note a spare wheel is included in the package.

In addition to the single cab’s specification, the club cab comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.

Parking sensors are not included, however, and for urban operators or those needing to negotiate tight spaces, it would be worth forking out the £250 (excluding VAT).

The overall specification is reasonable, but you can tell the 4Life sits at the bottom of the trim line-up by the fact that you have to turn the key in the ignition to start the engine rather than just leave it in your pocket and press a button.

When unladen in particular, the ride in the L200 club cab can tend towards bumpiness, with the rear end bouncing about entertainingly if you don’t slow down sufficiently when driving over speed humps, but customers buying these workhorses do not expect the same level of refinement demanded by those in the market for the range-topping double cabs. Otherwise, the handling is surprisingly sharp, and the truck’s engine delivers ample power while working well in conjunction with the six-speed manual transmission.

If you encounter slippery roads or venture off-road then the Easy Select system is operated via a central dial near the gear stick and allows simple selection of 4WD from 2WD and then 4WD Low if the going gets really tough

Price (ex VAT) £18,499
Price range (ex VAT) £17,499-£25,199
Insurance 42E
Warranty 5yrs/62,5000mls
Service intervals 12,500mls
Load length 1850mm
Load width (min/max) 1041mm/1470mm
Gross payload 1045kg
Engine size/power 2442cc/150hp
On sale August 2016
Combined fuel economy 40.9mpg
CO2 180g/km

Verdict


The L200 club cab offers a practical solution to operators who need to carry workers short distances or require extra in-cab storage space.

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