Mitsubishi L200 Van Review

16 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi L200 Van Review
Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi L200

Van Review

Mitsubishi L200 Photos

Our Review of the Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian

Let’s face it, any vehicle that gets away with being called a Barbarian without looking naff or pose-y has got to be a pick-up truck, right? We already know the Mitsubishi L200 can carry it off, because buyers have been snapping up versions of the L200 with macho names like Animal, Warrior and Trojan for years.

Some people will feel self-conscious behind the wheel of anything with Barbarian writ large down its flanks but, hey, that’s just added kudos when you’re down at your local on a Friday night with the lads and you know you’re going to be king of the road. Your wife or girlfriend are going to hate it, but what the heck!

At a glance

The Mitsubishi L200‘s stand-out feature has got to be the way it looks. Curves are not things we’re used to seeing on macho pick-up trucks, but the L200 is smothered in them. The front end, unmistakably Mitsubishi, is softened with rounded edges for grille and headlamps with oval recesses for the circular fog lights. The rear edge of the cabin arcs down and around the vehicle’s lower edge, while the fluid lines of the tailgate and windows are a world away from those on boxy rivals.

The Barbarian confirms its status as the flagship model in the range with a special body kit including a sports grille and almost everything else that’s screwed or bolted on swathed in chrome.

Engines and spec.

The Barbarian is the range-topping L200, with a choice of 131 or 175 bhp 2.5-litre turbo diesel engines and manual or auto transmission options. Standard kit includes Select 4WD, M-ASTC, 17-inch alloy wheels and a host of interior and exterior bling including: Barbarian graphics, chrome rear lamp bezels, door mirrors and handles and a sports front grille.

That’s not forgetting a reversing camera, Kenwood integrated satellite navigation system and multi-display radio / CD player with touch-screen operation, luxury leather seats, Bluetooth hands-free kit and even illuminated door entry guards. Ours also came with the grand-sounding Sports Utility Top, which features heavily tinted windows and lockable tailgate window.

The L200 is narrower than most other UK market pick-ups, which helps with the manoeuvrability and produces a reasonably tight turning circle. The down side is a slight reduction in interior space and carrying capacity. The double cab body style is the only one you can get in Barbarian trim.

This is a five-seater model with a reasonable amount of legroom for the rear passengers, always providing that the driver is not a six footer, and seat backs angled at 25 degrees make a pleasant change from the rigidly upright offerings usually found in older double-cab pick-ups. There has to be a compromise for this extra passenger space and it comes in the shape of its modest 1,325mm load length. At the wheel

You climb up and into the L200’s impressive looking cabin and first impressions are good. Large, comfortable looking stitched leather seats with Barbarian logos, matching leather gear knob and 4×4 option selector and leather steering wheel. Inside, there’s lashings of chrome and aluminium trim and hi tech-looking Instruments are easy to read, with the familiar Mitsubishi drive-configuration graphic to the right of the instrument cluster.

The L200’s cabin is spacious and practical with cubby holes, a gigantic glove compartment and lots of oddment storage. The real practicality can be found in the load bay, which can be plastic or metal lined and have additional strap-eyes or any number of utility options added. The load bay is restricted in size by the double-cab but is still a very healthy size and perfect for trips to the tips or carrying bikes and outdoor equipment or heavy tools and machinery.

The four-wheel drive transmission and low ration transfer box makes it a versatile vehicle with lots of towing and off-road potential. In practice, we found the radio / sat nav / CD system over-complicated and almost baffling in its complexity. But the leather seats are comfortable and the steering wheel can be adjusted to suit most drivers.

On the road

The Barbarian feels as though it will withstand any amount of abuse off-road, but that’s at the expense of the handling on the open road. The L200 has a soft ride and deals well with cracked urban streets. However, it struggles to cope with undulations in the road surface at even moderate speeds, bouncing up and down rather like a toy boat in a bath. Lifeless steering that’s slow to react to the wheel and scary body roll through fast bends further undermines the Mitsubishi on tarmac roads.

The engine is gruff and rattly on start-up and gets noisier the faster you go. That said, the L200 has an impressive turn of speed, thanks to its powerful turbo diesel engines, and it’s easy to exceed motorway speed limits once the powerful turbocharger gets a-blowin’ in earnest!

Around town, the Barbarian is not at its best. You are never allowed to forget the sheer size of the L200 and parking is not made easier by the poor fore and aft visibility and the absence of parking sensors on the version we tested. The view through the rear view mirror is almost non-existent, thanks to heavily tinted windows and a central rear headrest, and must be considered a potential hazard.

You can alleviate this by dropping the electrically powered rear window in the cab, the down side being that you get the weather coming in via that Sports Ute Top, which doesn’t seal against the back of the cab.

Our Verdict

So, is the L200 Barbarian a car, or a commercial vehicle? Clearly the latter, in our view despite all those trinkets and bling. It’s also a very expensive commercial vehicle if you play fast and loose with the options list, in which case the competition gets a lot tougher. However, it’s car-like enough to still make a good family vehicle and the importance of wipe-clean seats and hose-down mats can’t be understated.

Nor can all the commercial vehicle running costs and tax breaks.

On the one hand, the L200 in Barbarian trim means you get some of the luxuries you’d expect of a more up-market 4×4 vehicle, with sat nav and leather seats taking away some truck-like feel. On the other, it retains the workman-like veneer though, so loses none of its practicality. The alloy wheels, leather seats, chromed accessories and those illuminated door kick plates do not disguise the fact that the L200 Barbarian is at heart a down to earth, tough-as-old-boots workhorse.

Mitsubishi L200

Our man with a van

Motoring journalist Adrian Foster has been commissioned to write impartial van and pick up reviews for our website, specifically to help with your decision making process. We have provided him with a van and the spec and nothing more, so you can rely on his views being real and honest.

Adrian began his career in the motor retail industry with Perry’s Group before turning his hand to motoring journalism. He launched the Drivelines motoring press agency as a means of providing high quality journalism on new cars, commercial vehicles, motorsport and the motor industry at large.

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