Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian car review
- We like...Image; load area
- We don't...Bouncy ride; low-geared steering
If you’re gonna drive something called a ‘Barbarian’ – and that name is splashed on a decal along both flanks – then you need to be pretty sure of who you are. It is definitely not transport for the shy.
You buy a L200 for two reasons: because a pick-up is handy for your work or, heck, just because you like the way that it looks. If you fall within the first camp, you’ll also benefit from some useful tax breaks if it is bought as a company vehicle.
This is the dearest L200 you can have and it’s just been revamped inside and out. The headlamps and grille are new, while inside there are new instruments, steering wheel and centre console. The engine, meanwhile, has been tweaked to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Inside you get leather seats, built-in touch-screen sat-nav and a camera to help with reverse parking. The outside has chrome wherever Mitsubishi’s designers could usefully install it and there are fancy touches such as Barbarian-badged sill kick plates that illuminate after dark.
But before you fall too deeply for the whole rough n’ outdoorsy image, let’s get a few things straight. This is a truck, and it drives like one. While its turning circle is apparently better than rivals, at 5 metres is a good bit longer than a regular car and so needs a fair bit more space in which to turn round. And the steering’s low geared, so low-speed manoeuvres require a deal of wheel shuffling. And while the reversing camera is useful you could also do with some parking sensors to beep a warning – but none are fitted. The motor’s noisier than you’d find in a conventional saloon, while the auto gearbox in ours preferred to change up early, meaning that you’d have to floor the accelerator to shift along briskly. Fuel economy isn’t great: across a mix of trips, we couldn’t better 30mpg.
Generous ground clearance and a set of low-ratio gears operated from a small lever just next to the main auto selector mean that crossing a muddy track should hold no fears. But it also means that plenty of bounce travels from wheels to cabin around town, as does sideways force if you heel into a bend with any zest.
The cabin is long and narrow, its low-set seating forcing a racey at-wheel position of the driver. It feels odd at first but it’s fine once you’ve driven a fair few miles. And space in the back seats is reasonable, although it's too narrow for three to stay comfortable back there for long. But one thing you’ll find harder to get used to is the way controls are scattered across the cabin. The wheel, for instance, carries only buttons for the cruise control (not for the stereo, as you'd expect), while the switch controlling the rise and fall of the rear screen is hidden out of sight beneath the sat-nav/stereo. And the touch screen controlling the stereo and sat-nav baffled us again and again.
Should you buy one? If you need a working truck for the week and a tough, go-anywhere pick-up for leisure times, it’s worth considering. But if you’ve picked this because you’ve fallen for its rough, tough image, go with caution.
- Engines2.5 diesel
- 0-60 mph12.1secs
- Insurance groups11E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: