What do you do when you’re old pick-up is about to be replaced by a new version ? In Mitsubishi’s case, push the boat out and launch a new version of the multi-award winning Mitsubishi L200 Series 5, the L200 Challenger.
The Challenger will continue to be sold alongside the new Mitsubishi L200 Series 6 which CC&V drove in August. Whilst the new pick-up is better, pretty much across the board than the outgoing Series 5, the Challenger features more conventional pick-up looks & is currently, one of the best looking pick-up’s out there.
Based on the popular Mitsubishi L200 Warrior, the new Challenger variant is offered in three colours – white, grey and black – and features black 17-inch alloy wheels and bespoke black detailing including the front grille and front bumper accents, front fog lamps surrounds, wheel arch extensions, side steps, door mirrors, door handles and rear bumper.
Inside, Challenger features a matching black leather interior, an electric driver’s seat and heated front seats, as well as a 7″ Smartphone Link Display Audio system (SDA) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, DAB digital radio and an integrated reversing camera. Other standard features include keyless operation, bi-xenon headlamps, LED DRLs, dual zone climate control and automatic windscreen wipers, along with safety systems such as lane departure warning, hill start assist and trailer stability assistance.
In terms of hardware, the L200 Challenger utilises the proven Super-Select 4WD system which allows users to change from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive at speeds of up to 62mph utilising a dial-controlled selector to switch between drive modes.
Powered by Mitsubishi’s 180hp, 430Nm 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine, coupled with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, the L200 Challenger is capable of towing up to 3.5 tonnes (up to 3.1 tonnes with a twin-axle trailer) and has a payload of one tonne which classifies it as a commercial vehicle. It’s a lightish-truck, so the torque proves very useful.
As a motoring writer, I always look forward to driving a pick-up, especially a good looking one & the Challenger doesn’t disappoint. It’s aggressive looks really stand out in the Atlantic Grey metallic version that we tested & as usual, caught the eye of plenty of pedestrians.
As an on-road vehicle, the Challenger is a very comfortable vehicle to be in. Luckily, we were testing the automatic version & in my experience, a vehicle of this size & weight, is always best driven with an auto box. Purists who use a pick-up as a working vehicle, may disagree, because the manual does offer a touch more control in sticky situations. But for 90+% 0f on-road use, we prefer the auto.
Lifestyle & Ultimate Lifestyle pick-up customers are growing both in number & importance. Many want a high-specced good looking pick-up as their company vehicle, paying only £1,368 a year in company car tax, as opposed to three or four times that for a similar specced 4WD SUV. Others want a pick-up as a second vehicle for leisure activities – towing a trailer filled with your jet ski’s, motorbike or mountain bikes for example – And some just want a capable off-road ‘toy’ & the Challenger fits all of the above.
For those used to a car interior, it’s comforting to know that the Challenger cabin is tastefully finished in black & chrome, the leather seats are supple & well stitched & the dashboard finish & fixtures & fittings are pretty close to some decent car’s in quality & touch.
Passengers in both front & rear get plenty of head & leg room, although the centre rear seat is only really suitable for a sub-teen on a longer journey. The touchscreen infotainment system works well & via a USB, you can connect your smart phone to access Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which is handy because all Mitsubishis bow come SatNav-less so you’ll want to utilise GOOGLE Maps. The rear view camera, which when you select R, can be viewed in the screen & is also decent.
We undertook several motorway trips in the Challenger & utilising the cruse control function, sat back & steered. The cab’s also quiet even at 70mph + speeds. A couple of local B roads proved more challenging, as the rear passengers got to experience the Series 5’s bouncy rear as we tackled some pot holed & worn out tarmac locally. It’s worth noting, that the Series 6 is far better at damping pick-up bounce, thanks to the revised suspension & reinforced chassis that it comes with.
Another area where the Series 6 is better is with fuel economy. The Challengers older, larger diesel unit , claims a combined economy of 37.7mpg. Our average combined economy over 7 days was miles of this, at just 22.6mpg, whilst the Series 6 should comfortably see you achieve 10mpg more than this without trying. A cost saving worth your consideration.
If the all-new Series 6 L200 offers better comfort & better fuel economy, amongst a plethora of improvements, why then would you chose the Series 5 Challenger ? If you watch ‘Love Island’ you may know the answer. The outgoing L200 & particularly the Challenger’s, with it’s exterior upgrades, makes for a far better looking pick-up, than not just the new L200, but than any of the competition, including the latest D-Max XTR which is also a looker. We’ve driven all the pick-up’s & the one that garnered the most comments & the most looks, was the Challenger & that might be just what your’e looking for !
The Mitsubishi L200 Challenger is on sale now, priced from £27,705 (OTR, excluding VAT) for the Challenger manual and £29,105 (OTR excluding VAT) for the automatic version.