Mitsubishi’s 2019 pick-up

21 November 2018

MITSUBISHI has unveiled the latest incarnation of its 40-year-old L200 pick-up, which is due here next summer with a raft of important improvements.

Top of the list is its more muscular styling that is increasingly important in this highly competitive sector of the market.

Pick-up trucks are now huge sellers, which are increasingly bought by those who register a small business for which they can claim significant tax breaks.

The vehicles have evolved over the years from utilitarian workhorses to genuine alternatives to rival mainstream models with high levels of comfort and equipment.

Mitsubishi’s L200, which first arrived four decades ago, steers a middle course in a bid to maintain its crown as the king of the off-roaders.

It retains its sturdy ladder-frame chassis but gains an enhanced four wheel drive system and a host of safety, security and comfort upgrades for 2019.

It is Mitsubishi’s second best-seller after the Outlander SUV and whilst overall sales figures may seem small in comparison to the likes of a Ford Fiesta or Focus, larger vehicles in specialist markets are significantly more profitable.

It is an open secret that many mainstream manufacturers are virtually giving away their cars in order to achieve market penetration, whilst others are operating healthy businesses with smaller numbers and bigger margins.

The L200 one-tonne pick-up is made in Thailand and is a global seller that is scheduled to arrive here in its new form next summer.

It adopts a striking new frontal appearance that Mitsubishi calls Dynamic Shield, which incorporates a higher bonnet line, beefier-looking lamps, heavily sculped body curves and flared wheel arches.

Inside, the aim has been to make the vehicle even more car-like with the use of so-called soft pad materials and contrasting stitching.

The driving experience is enhanced with the adoption of Super-Select 4WD, which delivers optimum traction and handling characteristics for any given surface.

Alternatively, there is Easy-Select 4WD, which simplifies switching between drive modes for different road surfaces.

Both Super-Select and Easy-Select systems use a new off-road mode which has gravel, mud/sand and rock settings. Off-road mode controls engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip and thereby maximize the vehicle’s all-terrain performance and self-extraction in mud or snow. Hill Descent Control electronically controls the speed to allow the driver to negotiate steep or slippery descents.

Other standard safety systems, which are now common on most new vehicles, include Forward Collision Mitigation, Blind Spot Warning,

Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation.

This reduces accidents resulting from improper use of the accelerator when moving off or reversing in car parks and other confined spaces.

There is a new six-speed automatic transmission, braking is improved thanks to the use of larger front discs and calipers, whilst the ride is improved with the use of larger rear dampers.

Mitsubishi says it plans to attract 180,000 buyers of the new and current models this year.

The company enjoyed its best October in the UK since 2005, with sales double those of the same month last year.

Biggest sellers here were the Eclipse Cross and the Outlander in both petrol and diesel guises.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV continues to be the UK's best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle with strong demand for the newest version, which arrived in September, leading to 976 registrations, which is an increase of 83% compared to October last year.