Mitsubishi’s L200 sets the benchmark in its sector and has once again seen off the competition to scoop the What Van? Pick-up of the Year Award.
The L200 commands a quarter share of its market and is the vehicle that more than any other transformed the image of the pick-up from glamour-free pedestrian workhorse to must-have style icon through introducing a series of models such as the Warrior, Animal, Barbarian and Raging Bull, which, as their names suggest, were never likely to fade meekly into the background.
Earlier this year, Mitsubishi bolstered its appeal in the lifestyle market with the launch of a new Trojan special edition of its L200 double-cab. Available on the standard bed-length model, the kit supplied includes 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, heated, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors with chrome castings, and rear privacy glass. The model costs £15,999, and for an extra £1200 you can furnish it with leather interior trim.
But the L200, of course, is far more than the cab-about-town to be seen in.
Just over 12 months ago, Mitsubishi increased its worth as a working vehicle by adding a double cab Long Bed to the line-up to complement the standard double cab version.
Using the same wheelbase as the standard variant, Mitsubishi has, by extending the overall vehicle length to 5180mm though a longer rear overhang, given operators an extra 180mm of load length to utilise. The four-door long bed can be ordered in 4Work, 4Life, Animal and Warrior guises.
With a payload of around 1000kg, the exclusively 4x4 L200 is not restricted to double cab derivatives, although these do account for the majority of sales. Customers can also opt for a two-door Single Cab or a Club Cab, which is a stretched version of the Single Cab that retains two doors but includes a pair of occasional rear seats.
A 2.5-litre diesel engine powers all L200s but the drivetrain can pump out 134, 165 or 175hp depending on the model.
All versions offer a five-speed manual gearbox but an automatic can be specified on some as well as Easy Select dual-range four-wheel drive with a low-range set of gears for more serious off-roading.
Super Select is fitted to some L200s. It consists of a central viscous coupling that automatically adjusts the front/rear torque split and includes traction control.
One of L200’s strengths has always been its comprehensive line-up, and particularly eye-catching is the Walkinshaw Performance double cab with a fully independent five-point multi-link rear suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels. Climate control, and electric windows and mirrors, are complemented inside by Bluetooth, cruise control, a 10-disc CD auto changer and leather seats.
For those after something less spectacular but more functional, the L200 is also available as a dropside or tipper.
But the L200 does not have it all its own way in the pick-up sector. Increasingly making its presence felt is the Nissan Navara. Facelifted this year, it now boasts a range-topping 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine thumping out 231hp and developing a mighty 550Nm of torque. It wins our Highly Commended accolade, and if it had a wider range to include the likes of a single cab version, the L200 would have had to watch its back.