My bold red tester was the five-seater, four-door which most of us can find a use for, at least occasionally. The factory demo was in Trojan trim, This is down the price list (from £17,999 plus £3,600 VAT reclaimable for business users). It had all I need, but these days an iPod connection is desirable and I couldn’t find one. It does have an old-style lever selection for 4x4 drive in high and low ratio. Otherwise it is rear-wheel drive – and they’ll spin in certain circumstances – eg reversing up a steep drive with no load in the back.
Competition is fierce in the sector and the L200 is no longer the national best-seller – dropping behind the Toyota Hi-Lux and Nissan Navara. Ford’s Ranger is probably the pick of the one-tonners for handling finesse and driving quality. In the UK in 2012 Mitsubishi lost some 38 per cent of its 2011 sales. Hard times, then, for many dealers.
Mitsubishi have responded with a five-year, 125,000 mile warranty on the L200 which is the best in its class for a full-size one-tonner. SsangYong offers five years without a mileage limit on the brand new Korando Sports – though its sub-one-ton payload means you may not be able to claim it is a business workhorse and get the VAT refund.
The Trojan has a pepped up version of the 2.5 litre diesel and is up to the job though there are quieter diesels these days. It is rated to tow a braked trailer weighing 2.7 tons and it goes well enough. The weaker 4Life and 4Work L200 models have the 2.5-litre turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine giving 133bhp and 231 lb ft torque, The Trojan, Warrior and Barbarian models are equipped with a high-power version, for enhanced performance, rated at 173bhp and 295 lb ft. They are also offered with five-speed automatic gearboxes.
No complaints about fuel use, which averaged 35 miles a gallon on a long run. The official unladen ratings are 35.8mpg average and 208g/km CO2. The ride when unloaded is unsettling over poorer surfaces – very much par for the class of vehicle with leaf-sprung rear axles for heavy duty work. Buyers will also learn to live with the poor turning circle – necessitating three-point turns (or more) in tight manoeuvres. A power rear window at the back of the cab is unusual and could be useful for communicating with the labouring gang travelling in the load bed. «
Verdict: It could be the all-round pick-up for you. If you want a pick-up as a household do-it-all, remember they are around 200 inches long and awkward to park in town.