Road Warrior

An increasing number of installers are turning their backs on the traditional van and opting for pickup-style vehicles instead. Test Drive’s Gary Squires decides to join the revolution with the Mitsubishi L200 Warrior.
First impressions
I’ve been waiting to get my hands on one of these for ages – and when it turned up I was not disappointed. Of all the 4×4 pickups on the market, the L200 Warrior is the most easily identified because of its unique styling. Admittedly, I’ve always thought a pickup wouldn’t be a practical option in terms of getting all my kit to the job. However, as soon as it turned up there was a large part of me that didn’t want to give it back – and that was before I’d even put the key in the ignition.
On the road
Basically, it had a car-like feel to drive – and not a basic car either. It had a definite road presence and a reassuring feel behind the wheel. It handled well considering it’s a commercial vehicle, and it coped with all manner of road conditions with ease.
It was no slouch either – maybe not the quickest from the start line, but once it got going it felt as if it could go up anything – no matter how steep or slippery.
In terms of speed, it was quick enough. It’s not the fastest van out there, but there was still plenty of performance to keep up with day-to-day traffic and overtake with ease on the motorway. The brakes were good – sharp and firm underfoot.
I tested a manual version, which had a fairly short first gear but, because of the amount of torque it had, you could probably pull away in 4th if you wanted to. I was slightly disappointed that it only had a 5-speed gearbox as it could do with the extra gear when cruising on the motorway, which may even improve the fuel economy.
It was quite easy to park because of the elevated driving position, but it would have been even easier with a better steering lock. Also, it’s quite a long vehicle, and the rear end did stick out of general parking spaces in the local DIY superstore car park. Fortunately, there were rear parking sensors to make tight spaces easier – and I’d recommend making sure you get these if you’re buying one.
On the fuel front, the onboard display showed an average of 30mph, which included motorway and town driving. Not great compared to some of the other vans about, but it’s a 4×4 and they generally use more fuel. I’d say it’s a small sacrifice for such a good-looking, comfortable workhorse.
Inside story
The seats were extremely comfortable in the front (regular readers will know by now how important that is to me!) and surprisingly comfortable in the rear too – with plenty of leg room.
The adjustable steering wheel and seats (which could be altered for height too) made it easy to find a comfortable driving position, and it wasn’t long before I forgot that I was in a commercial vehicle rather than a high-end 4×4.
The interior is well designed and functional. Everything was easily reached from the driver’s seat, and the steering wheel controls for the stereo and cruise control came in useful on the motorway. My only criticism would be that the interior looks a little sparse, but maybe that’s the idea. And it means that there’s less to go wrong.
To be honest, it doesn’t make the most practical vehicle in terms of storage space and of carrying tools and so on. However, if you fitted a hard top to it, the capacity would be close when compared to smaller vans like the Fiesta, Transit Connect and VW Caddy.
Overall impressions
Overall, I was very impressed with the Warrior. The combination of car and van in one package is great. Not only is it cost-effective from the point of road tax and depreciation of multiple vehicles, but it’s also possible to claim full commercial vehicle tax relief.
I wasn’t disappointed with my first L200 encounter, and I’m still trying to find a way to justify to myself that getting rid of my traditional tradesman’s van and buying one of these is a good idea. It can’t carry as much, it’s no more economical and could mean getting into debt, but the boyish side of me is still battling to get one.
After all, it’s comfortable, it will be reliable because it’s a Mitsubishi and even if it snowed every day for the next year, I could still get out and about to get to my jobs.
Gary rated the Mitsubishi L200 Warrior on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being Poor and 5 being Excellent.
Comfort              4.5
Control               4
Storage space    3
Overall                4