This monthís tale is one of divorce, isolation and, finally, family harmony. Given the gripes voiced over practical living space, we decided to book our wheels back into Mitsubishiís fettling department for a few days. In the end, that meant just over a week of absence, the L200 being substituted for the go-anywhere, robust delights of the makerís 3.2-litre Shogun. Despite its handsome appeal, the latter made me realise why L200s sell so well: overall, the double cab delivers a smoother, quieter hands-on experience.
So, £1,350.49 later, we have the L200 back. Or, more accurately, something completely different. The metamorphosis from large, but largely useless ute to immense family factotum could not be more stark. Gone are the days of wondering whether the rear-set child seats will leave enough space for the shopping; we now run a semi-detached family car with an indoor squash court annex.
To illustrate this new freedom, and with no prompting, the youngest members of the family instantly took up residence in their new den. Some hard tops can be depressing cavities where you store things like bailer twine or hapless pigs on their final doomed ride to market. The Adventurer III (or SP046017-23 if you like part numbers) works hard to make that loadspace something far more urbane. Note the slide-able side windows, blacked-out for privacy, the hydraulic-lifting rear door and the LED roof light. Conversion to this unit also spells a change of load liner, the replacement featuring plenty of cut-outs to ensure access to securing points. Somehow, I think we now have a motor thatís bags more practical than before.
Depending on your angle, the hardtop conversion either transforms the overall shape of the L200 into a svelte intergalactic mothership or an awkward dinosaur. Mostly, my feelings reside with the former. And if you think latter, I feel you need to accept the assertion that owning an L200 was never going to be a shout-free automotive statement. This beast is big and brash; get over it.
And besides, none of that brashness translates into any compromise to the drive. If anything, this pickup feels more balanced and settled on the road now itís no longer topless. Rear visibility is, for sure, curtailed somewhat ñ from here on, you need to seek more reliance on the door mirrors as the rear-view mirror imparts little info. However, when parking, the rear camera works as before and, epic as the L200 is, itís really no fuss to fit on the high street.
So, having ticked some boxes on the family-friendly front, I now plan to see if the L200 can survive a test that might be tougher still: a drive to beat Brexit. Iím setting the navigation system for a booze cruise to Calais, equipped with a shopping list long enough to calm my customs negotiation anxieties. Will the L200 be the perfect ambassador for ëwhite vin maní or behave like a lager lout? Next issue will spill the truth.
Date arrived 13th January 2017
Fuel economy 37.7mpg (combined) 30.2mpg (on test)
Game of thrones: Jemima’s verdict “It’s really comfy back here!”
Data access is via this awkward switch – a separate button away from the odometer would be easier.