Neither engine struggles, but pokier diesel is the pick
The L200’s two engines are actually the same unit, but turbocharged to different power outputs. The lesser unit has 134bhp and feels perfectly fine in and out of town, while the more powerful 175bhp engine gives greater confidence when overtaking on faster B-roads.
Both feel quite old school in their power deliveries though, because there’s a bit of a pause initially while you wait for their turbos to spool up, then a big surge of torque and power over a relatively short band before it dies away and it’s time to change up a gear.
The five-speed manual gearbox itself is designed to shift heavy loads, so you’ll find it very short-geared, and you’ll need to work the lever when trying to make swift progress. The five-speed automatic gearbox is a more relaxing prospect, but it’s often keen to change down too many gears.
Mitsubishi L200 ride comfort
Big bumps damped well but generally unsettled
As with the L200’s handling, the fact that it’s based on such old school suspension means it doesn’t ride particularly well, either. In fact, it’s at its worst when its load bay is empty, because it’s designed to carry up to a tonne in the back.
Large bumps such as sleeping policeman are damped relatively well, but stretches of broken tarmac in town cause the L200’s body to jostle its occupants, while large potholes and expansion joints thud into the cabin causing too much noise and unsettling things.
There’s only one suspension set-up and no option to adjust the L200’s dampers, but you can add the Walkinshaw Pack to Barbarian models. This upgrades the suspension and doesn’t alter the weight you can carry, but there also relatively little improvement to ride quality either.
Mitsubishi L200 handling
Poor but not surprising given the L200’s chassis
The very nature of the pick-up means they’re unlikely to handle very well – that goes for the whole segment. They’re designed to carry heavy loads, and as such, the L200’s rear suspension is a sturdy but unsophisticated type, which isn’t good for going around corners quickly.
The result is lots of body lean in tight bends, and with no weight over the rear axle, a considerable amount of broken traction in two-wheel drive mode if pulling out of T-junctions too quickly. The Walkinshaw pack upgrades the rear suspension, but improvements are very minor.
The L200’s steering is also poor, because it feels unnaturally weighted when winding on and off lock, and there’s very little sense of how the front wheels are faring. At least the L200 has a comparatively good turning circle of 11.8 metres.
If handling is important to you, the best handling pick-up is Volkswagen’s Amarok, but as mentioned, it’s still nothing on the best SUVs.
Mitsubishi L200 refinement
Both diesels are noisy and L200’s gearboxes feel unsophisticated
Because both the L200’s engine options are essentially the same engine with different power outputs, their refinement qualities are similar.
Unfortunately, those qualities aren’t particularly impressive. Both emit a grumble when switched on, but still clatter once settled to an idle. Pulling away and working the engines hard reveals they’re really quite noisy, and there’s plenty of vibration sent back through the controls, too.
The L200’s large door mirrors also start to whip up some serious wind noise once you get going, and its large tyres kick up a fair bit of road noise on the motorway, too. The manual gearbox feels stiff and notchy when trying to make quick changes and the automatic version can be quite violent between changes.
Both the Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger do a better job of keeping noise outside, and an Amarok’s engines are more refined at all speeds.
Entry-level engine provides enough power and torque to feel comfortable in and out of town. It’s the one business users should choose, because it’s cheaper and more economical, too.
2.5 diesel (175bhp)
Despite being usefully pokier, this higher-powered diesel’s fuel economy and CO2 isn’t actually much worse than the lesser units. It’s available on more trims too, so makes more sense to the private buyer.