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New Mitsubishi L200 is bigger bolder, better

Nobody does 4X4 like Mitsubishi.

The Pajero, Outlander and Shogun are all legendary off-roaders which you won't see pouncing around on the school run.

No sir, these are no-nonsense, in-your-face, all wheel drive 'man machines'.

It's no wonder then that the mega L200 Double Cab was destined for the same level of success enjoyed by it older siblings.

A no-brainer really considering it shared the same DNA and was just as indestructible.

In the UK one third of all this type of vehicles sold is an L200 and it won What Van? Pick-Up of the Year 15 times in 18 years.

It is Ireland's favourite too coaxing many a gruff, hard hat-driving foreman out of his traditional white panel van.

The reason is simple -- or three -- versatility, comfort and drive.

First the versatility or its ability to lug virtually anything, any size to anywhere.

The new model has just got bigger too increasing the rear bed by 18cms and the cargo area is also higher and squarer, giving even greater capacity.


Thanks to its traditional leaf spring suspension you could literally take Nelly the Elephant and all her gear up the side of a cliff for a spot of abseiling.

Generating that kind of pulling power is a hulking 2.5 litre diesel which has been tweaked to give 27pc more torque and 31pc more grunt.

In layman's terms the 178bhp unit (most powerful in its class) is now capable of towing 2.7 tonnes with a payload of over a tonne.

Super Select 4WD system also means that you can adapt to all driving conditions with a choice of 2WD, full-time 4WD and a locked 4WD package.

It's more economical too with emissions reduced while fuel economy is up 12pc which sees a return of 37mpg and road tax of €310.

We clocked up almost 800kms in all terrain including the most unexpected -- motorways -- and it proved me wrong. Cruising at 120kph, I almost expected to drain the tank in one journey, but to my surprise the L200 performed as well as any 1.6 litre petrol saloon.

Comfort comes in the guise of its ability to carry five on-board and comes with generous standard kit including Bluetooth, cruise control, air con, heated electric mirrors and leather multi-function steering wheel.

And then there is the drive which is the most car-like of all pick-ups.

In ordinary 2WD one forgets instantly that you are driving a three tonne truck and the light steering means that even the tightest of U-turns are manageable.

Braking is identical to a car and the traction control irons out any little indiscretions.

It only came unstuck once -- in an underground car park where the arse of the 15 foot body half blocked the entrance and reversing her out tested your mirror skills to the absolute limit. That said, the L200 is more likely to be pulling down rather than resting in places like this. Prices start at €32,742 including VAT.