Make no mistake, this is one imposing truck.

Pull up behind a supermini and I can only imagine its occupants would experience their own personal solar eclipse, so intimidating is the frontal area of the new Series 6 Mitsubishi L200.

Seemingly styled after something from Battlestar Galactica, Mitsubishi have raised the bonnet line by 40mm, while the headlights are now 100mm higher up.  Even measured against my 6ft4 frame, that means the front of the new L200 comes half way up my chest.

In truth, this visual gravitas is actually just clever styling; the new L200 is only marginally longer than the previous model at 5.3 metres, but exactly the same width and height.

That high bonnet certainly makes it easier to squeeze through narrow gates, while all-round visibility is up there with the best of them – although you can still lose an entire car in the area obscured by the tailgate.  Thankfully, a reversing camera is standard on all but the base model.

…a hard-working truck for hard-working people…

The L200 has always been a hard-working truck for hard-working people, and Mitsubishi knows their customers well.  Having sold 4.7 million of them since 1978, the L200 makes up a third of the company’s UK sales all by itself, so it’s no surprise that for this sixth generation they’ve focused on making it tougher and even more capable.

Those efforts have started with the chassis, now stronger than ever, but Mitsubishi has achieved this without drastically increasing the weight of the truck itself.  That means, unlike the Ford Ranger, the L200 isn’t limited to 60mph on the motorway.

Maximum payload is now up to 1,080kg, while an increased gross train weight of 6,155kg means the Mitsu can now tow 3.5 tonnes while carrying a 625kg load at the same time.

It’s just as capable off-road, too, and is still the only low-range equipped pickup that offers a full-time 4WD mode that can be used on the road.  It can be engaged at speeds of up to 62mph, too.

Joining the 2H and 4H modes is a 4HLc setting that locks the centre differential, plus of course low-range.  Unfortunately, a rear diff lock is only available on the entry-level 4Life models, although there is Hill Descent Control, the speed of which can be adjusted by the driver.

There’s also a series of new drive modes – Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand, and Rock – that alter the parameters of the automatic transmission, traction control and engine torque to suit the prevailing conditions.

Further electro-safety gubbins are available in the shape of Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Mitigation, Misacceleration Mitigation, Hill Start Assist and Trailer Stability Assist, depending on model.

In fact, the only area of this tech-fest that disappoints is the infotainment set-up: standard on mid-range Warrior and above, the touch-screen system doesn’t include any kind of navigation function, despite having a built-in GPS receiver.  Instead, you’re expected to rely on Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

Replacing the previous 2.4-litre turbodiesel is a new 2.3-litre unit.  Although it loses 28hp and 30Nm to the old engine, on the road it still feels strong, thanks perhaps to peak torque arriving 500rpm earlier.

We tested it in conjunction with the new six-speed automatic transmission, a welcome improvement on the previous five-speeder, complete with column-mounted paddle shifters.

There’s a suitably truck-like series of diesel noises from up front, but everything else about the new L200 is remarkably calm and subdued.  Wind and tyre noise isolation are impressive – better even than many cars – and this, coupled with the well-damped ride, makes the L200 a comfortable companion for a long journey.

That’s not to say it now drives like an SUV – the steering will feel heavy to anyone jumping out of something more conventional – but the benefit of a separate chassis is that the suspension is free to get on with its job without announcing it to those in the cabin.

The brakes are stronger now, too, answering one of our criticisms of the Series 5 L200.

…the most economical pickup we’ve ever tested…

What impressed us most, though, was the new L200’s fuel economy.  WLTP-certified figures of 32.1mpg for the manual and 29.1mpg for the auto are respectable enough, but we managed to beat them by some margin.  Our Barbarian X Auto recorded an average of 38.4mpg with almost zero effort on our part, making it the most economical pickup we’ve ever tested.

Prices for the Series 6 L200 start at £21,515 (£25,755 on-the-road) for the entry-level 4Life Club Cab, while a Warrior Double Cab starts from £26,400 (£31,617 OTR).  Our Barbarian X Auto found itself over the forty grand barrier after the addition of a bed liner and roll cover, at £41,048.98 with the VAT.

With each iteration, the Mitsubishi L200 becomes a more comfortable and impressively economical everyday proposition.  But the reason why it’s so well regarded (not least by us) is that this hasn’t involved the sacrifice of either practicality or capability.

This is still a truck with a job to do.  Perhaps the bold new styling is there to remind you of that.

Tester’s Notes

  • Imposing as hell
  • Impressive wind and road noise isolation
  • Rides well with few noises transmitted into cabin
  • Stop/start available with automatic transmission
  • Low rolling resistance, cruises off-throttle easily
  • Trip computer average figure resets for every journey, no accumulated figure available
  • No navigation function despite built-in GPS receiver
  • No rear underseat storage
  • Tailgate damper and lift assist
  • Useful camera button on steering wheel
  • 38.4 mpg on test, more achievable
Entry-level Price£25,755 (inc. VAT)Price as tested£41,048.98 (inc. VAT)
Engine2268cc 4-cyl turbodieselTransmission6-speed auto
Power150hp @ 3,500rpmTorque400Nm @ 2,000rpm
0-62Top speed106 mph
Economy29.1 mpg (WLTP)CO2206 g/km (NEDC)
Dimensions5305 x 1815 x 1780 (LxWxH)Kerb Weight1970-2035 kg