We’ve previously sampled Mitsubishi’s new L200 in its higher-spec Warrior form, but this is the chance to drive the entry-level – for now at least – 4Life variant.

We say for now, because Mitsubishi is being a little evasive about if and when we will see single- or club-cab versions of the new L200, or if and when there will be a 4Work version to slot in below 4Life. All of these are still currently being sold as previous Series 4 generation models alongside the new Series 5 truck that launched in the autumn.

The 4Life comes into the line-up as the only new L200 below £20,000, excluding VAT, and is £1000 cheaper than the Titan that is the next model up the line that leads through Warrior to the top-spec Barbarian model.

There’s a point of view that says the 4Life is actually the best-looking L200 as it replaces the in-your-face chrome grille with a more subtle black version.

The wing mirrors are also black rather than chrome, which isn’t detrimental in our opinion, though the interior also loses some of its chrome detailing to make for a more sombre cabin atmosphere. But it’s still a massive improvement over the previous L200, thanks largely to a mich-improved integrated infotainment system that replaced the frankly horrible one in the last model.

The L200 also loses some of its imposing nature through the smaller 16in alloys that are replaced by more attractive 17-inchers on the rest of the range.

It’s also worth noting that the 4Life gets a 151hp engine, while the rest of the range is fitted with a more powerful 178hp unit, which accounts for the 4Life being the most efficient model in the line-up at an official 44.1mpg, 1.3mpg better than the other manual models in the line-up.

The drive is also improved over the last L200, though without weight in the back, the truck feels pretty solid at the rear, hitting bumps hard rather than soaking them up. But the lower-powered engine doesn’t feel like a budget choice, offering plenty of pull when required, while refinement is also good.

The criticisms we’ve already levelled at the L200 predictably remain, in that the load area is now among the shorter in the class at 1470mm, actually 35mm shorter than the previous model, and significantly behind key rivals.

Equipment–wise, the L200 is fairly generous, even in base specification. Standard kit includes seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, trailer stability assist, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, USB socket and leather steering wheel. But the  £1000 step up to Titan spec looks enticing when you view the improved alloy wheels, lane departure warning, dual-zone climate control, improved Super Select four-wheel drive system, auto lights and wipers, DAB radio, keyless start and privacy glass. You also then get the chrome adornments inside and out that either add or diminish the looks, depending on which bits or the viewers’ tastes.

In entry-level specification the L200 appeals as a simple, well-equipped double-cab workhorse. But that small jump of £1000 excluding VAT brings a lot of extra kit as well as another 27hp, even if keeping the black grille over the chrome one could be seen as preferable. If the 4Life was another £500 cheaper it would make a load more sense, but it’s hard to see too many people not being able to make that extra step given the lucrative return.

Mitsubishi L200 4Life Double Cab
Price (ex VAT) £19,749
Price range (ex VAT) £19,749-£25,199
Insurance group   12E
Warranty 5yrs/62,5000mls
Service intervals 12,500mls
Load length 1470mm
Load width min/max 1085mm/1470mm
Load bay height 475mm
Gross payload 1045kg
Engine size/power 2442cc/151hp
On sale September 2015
Combined fuel economy 44.1mpg
CO2 169g/km