Mitsubishi L300 - review and opinion - There is always room for perfection | Catalog-cars

Mitsubishi L300 – review and opinion – There is always room for perfection

28 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi L300 – review and opinion – There is always room for perfection
Mitsubishi L300

There is always room for perfection

While doing my research for our family van, I checked out the several models available in Turkiye.

Since all of them except for the Mazda, VW and Mercedes Benz are made here, the choices are very vast. (Mercedes Benz Vito and Viano are not made here. Sprinter and other models are built here as well.)

So I spent two and a half hours at my local Mitsubishi dealer checking out the L300. (There was no point in checking out the Spacegear since the Hyundai H-1 Starex is the very same thing at 56% of it’s price.)

Body :

The looks are nice. I have always had a liking for snoutless vehicles with that bussy feel. The brand new color coordinated front bumper with those built in foglamps and sleek design make the vehicle look even better.

Ever surprising for a cheap Japanese vehicle, the body panels satisfy during the knock-on-the-panel test. The tock-tock is assuring that the steel sheeting and it’s insulation is real tough.

Body panels are joined neatly together. Plastic trim is minimal so no worries about loosened and rattling pieces around. They come in body color too. Neat.

(Turkish consumers have this hard to satisfy taste. So it is next to impossible to push whatever you have in hand into the market. Even the ever cheap brands like Dacia or alike have to change their vehicles before they export it to Turkiye.)

The side wing mirrors could have been larger, at a better shape and electric control. At least they are color coordinated and not just black squares.

The forward stretched right side mirror (left side for the UK) is an extra at a funny price. So why not free. (Something like 30 Pounds !) It is helpful as well, since with that, you would not need to turn your head to look into the mirror. Just turn your eyes and there you are.

Two sided slide doors make the vehicle an easily accessible volume. However the awkward front doors prove boarding and unboarding difficult.

Ask your girlfriend or wife to be careful with her skirt on it you are a jealous person. You may have a lot of spectators lined up on your passenger side to watch the leg and lingerie show. (Well I AM JEALOUS and my wife is too pretty.)

The half-on-the-curb test proved the body to be rigid and resistant to twisting. The rear hatch opened and closed with no resistance. Even as I asked the dealer and my wife to sit in the seats on the side of the vehicle up on the curb, the result was the same still.

Excellent.

Wheel wells are the same color with the body. So no extra insulation. Hmmmm.

Interior :

The typical far-eastern layout is there. Mitsu has not changed the boxy-feeling, cupboard-style facade since several years.

However the controls are easily accessible and familliar.

The dashboard is shiny black, buggy-feeling. Put that dash shine away and use a damp cloth instead. You would not like to touch a black roach each and every time right ?

The gauge cluster is well hooded. But the dash induces serious glare provided that there is no bonnet and nose ahead of you. So better not keep using dash shine on it.

Instead, if you can, use a matte dash cover to reduce the glare or apply a sun control film strip of about 20 cms wide across the bottom of the windshield.

The seats are too soft. The passenger side seat is for two persons but the middle backrest folds neatly to provide you with a tablette. Nice.

The shifter is placed in an interesting position. So be careful when shifting with a female second passenger who is not quite intimate to you. You may get slapped across the face upon the thought that you are groping !

Better yet, keep the center backrest always folded to be safe.

The assisting seats which fold upwards are neat. However they can prove to be rattly within a period of time as they loosen further and further.

The rear interior side panels could have been better than mere birchbark covered with vinyl. However they still appear to be high quality.

The lack of rear heating and ventilation controls is an issue to be corrected as soon as possible.

The headliner is surprising when you find out it is a vinyl stretcher whereas nowadays all the brands use the monobloque moulded types. So if you plan to use the vehicle for more than 5 years, be prepared for a sagging headliner.

The interior is quite silent if you don’t count on the engine and road noise. No significant rattles and squeeks. Good.

Engine and Mechanics :

The engine is an atmospheric 2.6 diesel at only 80 HP. That has to be joke since the curb weight unladen is 1,850 kilos.

The fully laden curb weight at some 2,500 kilos mean that you will have to sit on the accelerator pedal and race the engine to get any pull at all.

Mitsubishi L300

Well, diesel fuel is cheap but volume has it’s cost at the end of the day.

The engine is under the driver’s seat which means that you need to touch the interior with greasy and muddy / dusty hands if you ever attempt a DIY.

This also adds to the engine and road noise you hear in the cabin, since the mere seat does not help gag the gaping hole which is the engine access bay.

The gears are reasonably smooth to change. The pedals require some time to get used to familiarise with. But they are soft and quick reacting.

The clutch was so soft that I suspected the link was not fixed when I first stepped on it.

No worrying sounds from the drivetrain.

Handling :

The steering is soft and comfortable. However while soft steering at low speeds and manouvering is excellent, it is disturbing at the hard-gained high speeds. (Nowhere over 125 km/h anyhow)

The vehicle’s reaction to the steering inputs is not razor sharp. But you still have to observe great care due to the unreasonably skinny tyres. Why wouldn’t they use fat radials.

The rear seat ride is quite harsh. The leaf springs help only to support the vehicle’s weight. They do not provide for creature comfort as expected. This helps nice stability though.

While it was a clear but windy day when I tested this machine, I came to see that it is extremely vulnerable to winds. Cross and side winds cause serious stability problems. The vehicle starts flexing as though it is an aircraft running down the runway and ready to rotate any second.

Headwinds slow the vehicle down severely and the poor 80 HP starts struggling to keep up the achieved speed.

Brakes are non-ABS and quite strong. However brake fade seems to be a chronic disease for this vehicle. The 3 mile downhill slope caused the brake pedal to go quite stiff.

Stopping power is there but stability overslept and could not join us I guess. The vehicle yanked seriously to one side when I tested a panic brake.(Full power braking at 50 km/h without depressing the clutch) Do that at 100 km/h and well. You are in trouble.

The vehicle has serious understeer behaviours although it is an FR (Forward engine – Rear wheel drive) That mystified me until I tried to curb the same curve at some higher speed. She DOES oversteer and oh boy. THAT is what I call oversteer !

Again; ludicrously skinny tyres.

The very rigid body and the rock hard stiff leaf springs will give you the illusion that the vehicle’s curve behaviour will be stable. DO NOT fall for that illusion.

Mitsubishi L300
Mitsubishi L300
Mitsubishi L300
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