A deeper look at what Mitsubishi did to bring back the L300
The workhorse that made Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) a household name has returned. Billed by the automaker to be cleaner and more powerful than its predecessors, the resurrected L300 keeps the familiar styling from the past but gets a new heart under its cab.
But what did the automaker exactly change on the L300? Did they have to change it up drastically or did they only make minor revisions here and there?
It may still look like the old L300 we’ve all known from before, but there are some noticeable changes that Mitsubishi did to update its looks. It gets a new chrome grill at the front, as well as what appears to be a longer rear cab. Flush-fitted windows, along with dual rear doors are some of the other apparent changes seen on the L300. Did I mention the L300 appears to be a bit taller?
But while the exterior has received numerous changes, the interior of the L300 has relatively remained the same. From the simple steering wheel, old-school aircon vents, to the familiar column shifter and hand-brake lever, as well as the wind-down window handles, Mitsubishi decided to go with the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. Perhaps the only clear updates that Mitsubishi made to the cabin are a new audio head unit, and more modern-looking gauges.
Climbing aboard the rear cab and the L300 keeps its rudimentary layout; side-facing benches, exposed metal floor, and the center-mounted rear airconditioning unit. Clearly Mitsubishi wants to keep the L300 simple and familiar to both old and new customers.
We still do not know what exactly powers the updated L300 as Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has not given out any details, including the engine code. We can, however, deduce what engine it may be. When we asked if it was part of 4D5 series of Mitsubishi engines (specifically a new version of the 4D56), MMC's Yoichiro Yatabe said that the 4D5 series engine is quite old, which lends us to believe that the engine powering the new 2019 L300 is possibly a variant of the 4N1 series similar to the one powering the Montero Sport and the Strada.
A quick look at the engine and it appears to confirm our theory: the L300 seems to have a new 4N1 engine, specifically the 2.2-liter 4N14 as depicted on the barcode label. The 4N14 is also being used for the much newer successor to the L300: the current model Delica D:5 in foreign markets. Now we cannot really be sure which exact version, but we do know it comes with a far more modern common rail diesel injection (CRDi) system, as well as an exhaust system that meets Euro-4 emission standards.
Apart from that, Mitsubishi also went through a lot of retrofitting like rewiring and installation of more emissions control; it's not just a matter of installing a new engine. They had to test the improved turbodiesel L300 in Japan in order to see if the chassis can handle the additional power and torque.
MMPC could have drastically redesigned the L300 from the ground-up, including its turbo-diesel engine for the 21st century. But with the L300 serving as quintessential all-around workhorse, to the point that it has become legendary for its reliability and durability, Mitsubishi decided to only make minor changes.
Mitsubishi hasn't given an answer yet as to when exactly the L300 will be launched, but we expect it to roll out sometime later this year; possibly Q3 or Q4.
In its last full year of production and sales (2017), the locally-manufactured L300 was able to break into the top 10 selling vehicles in the Philippines with over 14,000 units sold.