Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X

    Perhaps it was Volkswagen who started it, with their Amarok. Or was it Mercedes Benz with the X-Class?  Then again, the Americans have been doing it for far, far longer. But they would, wouldn’t they? It’s just so typical of them. 

   I’m talking of course about the plush pick-up truck. Surely you remember The Fall Guy’s GMC wideside?

  Dubious early ‘80s TV nostalgia aside, there’s now no getting away from the fact that humble pick-up truck has morphed into something that’s no longer used just for work. Everyone from the Sunday morning mountain-bikers to the school-run mum seems to drive them these days. Well, they do around here at least.

   And if you too are the type that likes, or perhaps actually needs, a vehicle capable of not only mixing business with pleasure, but also one that should the going get really tough, can get you well and truly out of trouble whilst simultaneously carrying all the family, then you’re no-doubt already aware of Mitsubishi’s perennial L200. It’s has been around for well over 30 years and these days accounts for one-third of all Mitsubishi sales in the UK.

   Now in its sixth generation the new L200 sticks with the now familiar double-cab or club-cab option set upon a separate chassis. Once again there’s rear-wheel drive with a leaf sprung live-axle, plus a double-wishbone front suspension set-up just like before. Needless to say, there’s selectable four-wheel drive with high and low ratios and lockable differentials too – handy when you’re running the little darlings to piano class no-doubt – and handier still for any off-road duties.

    The difference is everything’s now been all wrapped-up in far more sharply creased and significantly more stylish bodywork. The L200’s new nose now incorporates the new-generation “Dynamic Shield” front design concept as seen on the ASX and Outlander. The bonnet line has been lifted and beefier-looking lamps, also located higher up, plus tougher looking squared-off wheel arches help give the new model a far more powerful and imposing appearance than that of the all-the-more softer looking outgoing one.

   Mechanically things have also changed. In a bid to cut emissions and increase economy, Mitsubishi have ditched the old 2.4 litre diesel and replaced it with a new all-alloy 2268cc, 148bhp unit. Power, surprisingly, is down – the new motor produces 148bhp, 30 fewer than its forebear – but the torque available, all 295lbft of it, is now available at lower revs. The new motor is quieter too - when cruising that is. A four cylinder diesel engine in something capable of carrying a just over a tonne and towing another 3.5 is never going to be anything less than “quite vocal” when really asked to earn its keep

   And that perhaps leads us on to overall refinement. While there’s no reason to feel short-changed when it comes to home comforts – in Barbarian X spec as tested the L200 packs Bluetooth, dual zone climate-control, touchscreen DAB with Apple CarPlay. 7 airbags and in this case “six-pack” heated velour seats. Plus there’s a very handy 360 degree reversing camera system and of course an elevated driving position and huge door mirrors that afford near cinematic views both fore and aft, But, the L200 is very much a working tool first and a family run-around second.

    On bumpy B-road, that leaf-sprung rear, when un-laden, sends shimmies and shudders throughout the L200’s hard-plastic lined cabin.  And although the stability and traction control systems can brake individual wheels to prevent either understeer or oversteer, whilst at the same time diverting power to the driven wheels with most grip, the L200’s steering, although now more direct than it once was, is still quite vague. You don’t so much steer this pick-up as coax it – and with many a turn of the wheel; it’s not exactly the easiest thing to manoeuvre around the supermarket carpark either. And without a load-cover, where exactly does one store one’s weekly shop on the way home?

     So then, as with all so-called premium pick-ups the L200 represents more of compromise than it does a solution. It’s tough and it’ll go anywhere, but ultimately it still a bit rough around the edges. It’s is exactly what you’d expect a pick-up to be.

   But… The trump-card the L200 plays is that it’s cheaper than the aforementioned Amarok, and far cheaper than the X-Class. In such company it does feel somewhat unrefined, nevertheless if you prefer to live life to the full, rather than just lead a lifestyle at the weekends, the new L200 still proves itself pretty hard to beat.

 

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X Double Cab Diesel Auto 4WD.

Engine: 2,268cc four-cylinder 16v DOHC turbo-diesel

Transmission: 6 speed Automatic with selectable 4WD with high and low ratios and lockable differentials.

Power: 148 bhp @3,500rpm

Torque: 295 lb ft @2,250rpm

MPG: 36.2 (combined)

0-62MPH: 10.4 Sec

Max Speed: 106 mph

Pay Load: 1,075kg

Towing Capacity: 3,500kg (braked)

CO2: 206 g/km

VED: £260

Price: from £32,200

 

Many thanks to Amanda and Brian at Misubishi UK’s Press Office for the loan of the L200.

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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