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DRIVEN ➤ Mitsubishi L200 Trojan 2.5 Di-D

12 Feb

By Wayne Gorrett

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Pros
* Tough and smugly utilitarian * Well-built * Clever 4×4 functionality *
* Surprisingly comfortable *
Cracking, torquey diesel *

Cons
* Bus-like turning circle * Difficult steering *
* Curved cab styling is beginning to show its age * Poor fuel economy & emissions *

☀    ☀    ☀

You know that feeling when you stare out of the back door into a space the estate agent optimistically described as a garden. That un-pruned, overgrown, unkempt and desolate place where snakes, lions, tigers and elephants freely roam and crocodiles frolic with flesh-eating mosquito’s in a now invisible pond of stagnant soup. That.

So, there I was, at silly-o’clock one recent Sunday morning, clad in ASDA’s finest gardening garb. (I would have preferred a sartorial ode to Mr Lancelot “Capability” Brown, but we lesser-spotted motoring scribes simply don’t earn the big bucks like that Jeremy someone-or-other.)

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Armed with a war chest of borrowed gardening tools, machetes and shotguns, I thought it prudent to first aim a studious glance in the direction of our daily ride, a Chevrolet Cruze saloon.  At that point I pondered, only briefly, as to how on earth I was going to transpose an entire one third of Hampshire to the Bishop’s Waltham skip in THAT – and in those little silly green garden waste bags, too.

So, while I rubbed my hands and released a spine-chilling ‘muwahahaha’, a dastardly plan took only 0.4 seconds to formulate. Then I made a phone call and went back to bed.

Lo and behold – as if I had been mumbling to the gods in a secret Ndebele or Nkosa dialect – just three weeks later a Mitsubishi L200 Trojan appeared for what it probably misconstrued to be a leisurely, week-long sojourn at WWA Towers. It was all new, clean, bright and shiny red. Poor thing.

It took all day, nine haphazardly-balanced loads and a gallon of tea before the Herculean task of clearing the rear of WWA Towers was complete. I’m not used to such physically demanding work (I drive and write most days, for a small stipend you understand), so I was pooped. The same could never be said of the Trojan however. It performed its well-engineered role perfectly…to shift stuff…loads and loads of stuff, day in and day out – calmly and without fuss.

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We don’t often get the opportunity here at WWA Towers to keep our pencils sharpened on the latest developments in the pick-up sector and it was a real pleasure to spend some practical green and brown ‘handyman’ time with the L200 Trojan. It’s a twin-cab, mid-range version of Mitsubishi’s popular pick-up range and carries a five-year, 125,000-mile warranty coupled with a four star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Impressive, for what it is, if I’m honest. But enough frivolity, let’s get to the details…

Performance
The Trojan is fitted with Mitsubishi’s own 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine offering 175bhp. It works and pulls well but is every bit the ‘Chatty Man’. Even when warmed up it’s still noisy. However, this is offset by the sheer pulling power when, at 2,000rpm it  delivers its full 400Nm of sweet, exploitable torque.

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Ride and Handling
One of the first things you’ll notice when hopping aboard the Trojan is how close to the floor the chairs are, leaving your knees in an upward position. Old school and quaint, almost. It’s not unpleasant, just unexpectedly different. Another noticeable thing is the bus-like turning circle (which I am reliably informed is class-leading. Mmm). Now that IS unpleasant and requires significant effort in tighter locales and bigger, more manly arms than mine are definitely required.

While the provided spec sheet says it has power steering, it is not overly evident and can be hard work at parking speeds. The driving seat is comfortable and the cabin has low-rent, utilitarian plastics, which is expected in a vehicle of this nature and not remotely out of place.

Driving with a spot of gusto can be quite unnerving for those who don’t drive pick-ups every day. Turning a corner with any measurable degree of enthusiasm can be hard, white-knuckle work. The sleepy ‘powered’ steering and blancmange-like wallow and lunge in the corners made my ‘how-to-drive-a-pick-up’ learning curve look more like a paper clip. Fortunately, the brakes are very (very) good. Lesson – the Trojan walks the torque, but doesn’t do ‘gusto’ very well.

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You may be forgiven for thinking there are two gear levers. With Mitsubishi’s ‘Super Select’ gearbox arrangement. there is one for the five-speed manual gearbox, with the other, shorter lever controlling the transfer box, selecting the driving mode required, depending on prevailing conditions under the wheels: There is:

2H – high ratio, rear drive only to exhibit less snappy road manners and better fuel economy,
4H – high ratio, four wheel drive with centre differential open for use on good surfaces,
4HLo – high ratio, four wheel drive with centre diff locked for use on poor surfaces, and
4LLo – low ratio, four wheel drive with centre diff locked.

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Space & Practicality
Twin-cabs can be fairly touch and go when it comes to practical space for occupants. However, the Trojan has good room for four grow-ups and a nipper in the middle of the rear row – all with 3-point seatbelts. For times when it isn’t doing business duties lugging manly stuff around, the Trojan can comfortably become a useful and practical family vehicle.

It has a braked towing weight of 2,700kg together with over a tonne of payload capacity in the ample rear load area, which measures 1,325 x 1,470 x 405mm and is able to accommodate a full-size Euro-pallet. With a load deck 85cm from the ground, it may prove challenging to place heavier objects or awkward loads in.

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Equipment
The Mitsubishi Trojan is very well equipped and includes as standard: Alloy wheels, multi-function display, adequate radio/CD player, climate control, electrically-heated adjustable & folding mirrors (handy on the fly for tighter spaces), electric windows all round, cup holders, overhead sunglasses holder, full leather-clad furniture, electric rear window, tinted privacy glass.

Safety and Security
That the Trojan is tough, strong and safe is unquestionable and that four-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating instils further buyer confidence.

Green Cred
The Trojan has a large 75-litre (19.8 gallon) fuel tank offering an official range of approximately 700 miles with a claimed 35.8mpg combined (unladen). We weren’t far off that with a sub-par 32.4mpg with short trips over normal roads, giving a real-world range of around 640 miles. While economy can best be described as adequate, it’s in the more critical area of carbon-dumping that lets the side down with a disappointing 208g/km CO2 emissions rate.

Rivals
* Isuzu D-Max * Nissan Navara * Ford Ranger *

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SUMMARY

There is an underlying feel of naïve, youthful honesty attached to the Trojan. Built to contemptuously dismiss a week full of Mondays, you just know it’ll scoff at any work-a-day abuse thrown at it and keep on doing so.

The pick-up market has seen phenomenal growth in the last decade. Despite tough market conditions, pick-ups have been selling in impressive numbers. The Mitsubishi L200 continues to be a top choice amongst pick-up customers and the Trojan derivative is no exception. Its five-year, 125,000 mile warranty attests to that.

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4 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Driven

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “DRIVEN ➤ Mitsubishi L200 Trojan 2.5 Di-D

  1. Guy Funnell

    February 13, 2013 at 10:12

    Wayne, I think you’ve done a cracking job with this article. It’s refreshing to read a piece that has the injection of both real-life test experiences and that unique brand and blend of humour and honest description that you employ. Keep up the good work!

    Like

     
  2. Jack Grover (@Balloon_Fish)

    February 12, 2013 at 21:19

    A good review- particularly the point about the styling getting dated. It hadn’t really occured to me before, but it is the case. I remember when the current L200 came out and it looked shockingly modern. Not so much now.

    I think your rundown of the 4WD system is incorrect, however. The L200’s ‘Super Select’ system goes as follows:

    2H (high ratio, rear drive only)
    4H (high ratio, four wheel drive with centre differential open for use on good surfaces)
    4HLo (high ratio, four wheel drive with centre diff locked for use on poor surfaces)
    4LLo (low ratio, four wheel drive with centre diff locked)

    I’m fairly sure an L200 of that spec should have a rear diff lock as well, but that will have its own seperate control. If you’re not familiar with the various 4WD systems on the market it can get confusing, but Super Select has all the bases covered.

    Like

     

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