The recent launch of the Mitsubishi L300 marks the arrival of a revitalized version of this iconic workhorse. Of course, we made sure that we got behind the wheel to understand what it’s really all about.
For a bit of context, we were able to take the previous-generation L300 out for a quick test drive before we tried out the new one. That’s why right off the bat, I could literally hear what’s changed with the new model—it’s much quieter than the old one. When I opened the door, I also noticed the 100mm increase in ride height just by looking at the step board.
While the elevated ride required a bit more effort to get into the driver’s seat, it did equate to better visibility which is pretty evident the moment you sit behind the wheel—you can also thank the large windshield and thin A-pillars for that.
The biggest gripe that a big guy like me has here, though, is that the seats still lacked adjustability, so squeezing myself behind the tiller and finding the right driving position was cumbersome. Once I settled myself in, I realized that the front row was a bit roomier than I expected, especially since the shifter was still located on the steering column—something I wasn’t very fond of, but we’ll talk about that later.
The steering wheel took a bit of getting used to, especially since it wasn’t like the one on your traditional sedan or SUV; it was thin and wide, and it was angled upward toward the driver. Still, it wasn’t very difficult to maneuver the vehicle, especially since all the pedals were basically soft and easy to operate, and the tiller was very light for the size of the vehicle.
Luckily, our route featured long, open roads, so we were able to get the vehicle up to higher speeds. It was worth noting that the new 2.2-liter CRDi intercooler turbo powertrain does its job pretty well, because the L300 reached 60kph with ease even with 10 full-sized adults for passengers, myself excluded. However, we have yet to see how the engine performs with the cabin loaded to its maximum capacity.
Meanwhile, the ride height didn’t make the new L300 any more comfortable to handle at faster speeds. I also feel like reaching 100kph won’t be as quick, because speeds just north of 70kph took a bit of work already. Then again, this vehicle was meant primarily as a workhorse, so expectations must be gauged accordingly. I did find using the column shifter a bit tricky, specifically when shifting into third, but that’s probably because I wasn’t used to it. At the end of the day, it allows for more legroom, so I consider it a necessary compromise.
As for the rear cabin, everything feels pretty much the same. Ride comfort hasn’t changed and is still what you’d expect from an L300. There’s nothing to complain about, but nothing to praise either. I have to say that the A/C is pretty decent here.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that although Mitsubishi only made a few changes to the L300, it chose to make the right ones. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and the Japanese probably stood by that. Though it sees no dramatic improvement in design and no significant changes in comfort, what’s important is that the new L300 now packs not only a more powerful and efficient engine, but a cleaner, Euro-4 compliant one as well.
What say you? Do you think this workhorse is worth its price tag?