An updated version of the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up truck has been unveiled, just three years into the current generation’s lifespan.
Revealed in Bangkok, where the L200 is built, it’ll go on sale first in Thailand on 17 November, but it won’t arrive in British Mitsubishi dealerships until next year.
The latest model marks 40 years of the L200, and the updates bestowed upon this revised version of the pick-up are pretty extensive. A new design using Mitsubishi’s latest ‘Dynamic Shield’ design language has been introduced, with the more angular front bumper and slimmer headlights bringing the look closer in line with some of the brand’s more recent launches, such as the new Shogun Sport.
There are some small design changes in the cabin, too. The refreshed truck keeps the same dashboard, but tweaked with some new trim elements and switchgear surrounds. Mitsubishi says that new soft touch materials are used on the console, centre armrest and handbrake.
With the dimensions of the vehicle unchanged, the cargo bay of the double cab version remains at 1,470mm square with a depth of 475mm.
Big changes come under the revised skin. Two four-wheel-drive modes are offered – Super Select 4WD and Easy Select 4WD, which Mitsubishi says is a simplified version of the selectable 4WD system.
The 4WD systems have been altered with a new off-road drive mode, with settings for gravel, mud, snow, sand and rock.
Engine details have not been announced, but it’s more than likely that the L200 sticks with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel unit. The five-speed automatic gearbox is no longer, however, and has been replaced by a new six-speed automatic transmission. Elsewhere, the L200 gets new, larger brakes, while Mitsubishi claims it should ride better thanks to the use of larger, more robust rear dampers.
The selection of safety equipment and driver assists have also been enhanced. The new L200 is available with new collision mitigation and warning systems, plus blind spot assist, rear cross traffic alert, and a top-down style around view monitor linked to the vehicle’s infotainment display.
UK prices and a release date have not been announced, but you’ll have to wait until 2019 to see the new L200 in Britain. Prices should rise slightly over the £19,505 basic cost of a single cab model, given the new safety equipment, new brakes and new suspension.
Q&A with Vincent Cobee, Mitsubishi Corporate Vice President of Product Strategy
What is Mitsubishi’s plan to expand the PHEV range?
“There has to be electrification. But we have limitations; range and weight. We will use our PHEV knowledge to expand it to a broader range of cars. The next-gen Outlander with 80-100km is the next step.”
When will we see the first PHEV pick-up?
“2023. I’m pragmatic. Euro7 will make diesel so expensive. We need the right recipe at the right cost point. The window when things will happen is from 2023 to 2025. And we cannot continue beyond 2025 without it. But the biggest problem, for me, is convincing the customer – the business customer most importantly. But we need to prove PHEV here is right – prove its reputation. Like diesel once did.”
Will Mitsubishi be first, out of the Alliance, to have a PHEV pick-up?
“We will be the leader here for frame-based cars and we will be the leader for PHEV, so. Yes.”
Will PHEV technology fundamentally change the nature of body-on-frame pick-up trucks?
“No. This will not change. If you need to take a big load on the rear axel then you need a frame and wishbone suspension. If you don’t do this it its good for ride but it’s bad for load. The structure will stay the same. It’s a heavily constrained body. What will change is diesel.”
So are pick-ups are last in line for electrification?
“There is a big difference between an Outlander and a pick-up in terms of customer expectations. We need to improve. Towing goes against the power of an electric motor. At low speed power is low and you need the torque to tow – so how do you do this? You need a gear system at some point – and we don’t have that on PHEV. Pick-ups have very specific needs.”
Given Renault and Nissan both have pure EVs, is Mitsubishi under pressure to deliver one too?
“No. But you certainly can’t pass the 2025 CAFE regulations without it. We have to launch one by 2021. I have a bipolar view on this however… Regulation anticipates customer demand but I don’t think those things are completely disconnected. In China, policies are way ahead of customer intention. So we’re not under pressure but we do have to have EVs soon.”
What’s your take on the UK withdrawing government PHEV subsidies?
“We need to work on this. We need to make a counter offer – take up the challenge and prove our case to keep subsidies. I suspect the thinking of the British legislature is that a PHEV can be used as a normal car. We could consider it’s our duty to prove they are actually used as an EV.”
…and the solution?
“We live under massive constraints but the question is where is the sweet spot. You could decide 90kw batteries in a car, but that will cost a fortune. Install quick chargers on the motorways? Or you can be pragmatic. A 50km-100km range for in the city and beyond that an efficient engine at stable speed – and if you drive an Outlander PHEV that’s what you have! I understand it’s not a black or white solution we need a bit of transparency on the rules. To me it’s a cost-efficient recognition of what is the real challenge – not a dogmatic choice between one or the another.”
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