Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian 3 lr

By Tim Saunders

There is one vehicle that allows its driver to feel infallible. The fifth generation Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian compact pick up truck.
A series of frustrating challenges occur during my time with this off-roader. It is delivered during our move from a Victorian mid-terrace on a busy main road to a detached residence in a quiet close… the stuff of dreams. Back in reality it’s completion day and the fridge needs shifting, so do the mattresses. The big Barbarian is parked outside our front door at some ungodly hour to allow my wife Caroline and I to hoist the fridge into the back. It quickly becomes apparent that the Mitsubishi is not as user-friendly as the Nissan Navara, which I had been driving previously. The latter had various gizmos that could be adjusted depending on the load carried for straps or ropes to be tied through, making it a real joy to work with. Not so on the L200. We get there though and successfully move the fridge. One of our new neighbours helps me unload it. On my return to the old house the weather becomes a bit questionable but this doesn’t matter because while a truck is usually open at the back, this particular L200 has a nifty heavy duty plastic retracting and lockable Tourneau cover, providing complete protection from the elements. A definite one up on the Nissan Navara I tested that did not have such a fitting. However, it’s not the easiest of systems to operate, sometimes jamming with the actual fitting moving and requiring pushing back into place. The mattresses fit and eventually we are able to get the cover to stay in place and lock. Later in the test it seems much easier to operate so perhaps this early experience is user error, which is possible…
On moving in we discover that the recycle bin has not been collected. I toy with complaining to the council but think better of it instead deciding to shove the recycle bin in the back of the Barbarian and take it to the tip to do the job myself. You can’t do that in a Ford Fiesta.
And then there are the mini roundabouts that deserve to be driven over for being so irritating and the rows of cars that insist on parking down busy main roads. The Barbarian easily deals with these issues.
“It’s a big truck for a big ego,” says a friend. Perhaps such motorists are drawn to the L200 but for me its a practical choice in a tough world. It can be relied upon to actually help in difficult circumstances. I recall how one of my early employers, not long after I graduated nearly 20 years ago now, owned an L200, which he swore by, not at, for towing his powerboat. As far as I can see the Mitsubishi has changed very little apart from its looks becoming even more attractive. It has forged a reputation as one of the 4x4s that all others aspire to become. Not long after uploading my video review to my youtube channel I was contacted by an American viewer, desperate to get hold of this particular model. Mitsubishi informed me that it is not available for sale in the USA but could be exported there.
As with all vehicles of this type the raised ride height provides a great command of the road ahead; it is noticeably taller than many other SUVs and 4x4s. The suspension is hard which really highlights the increasingly poor state of Britain’s roads. A long journey would certainly shake them bones. In fact it makes driving on the road feel similar to off-roading in some places.
With its black leather interior the driver’s seat is electrically adjustable. Unlike Nissan’s Navara the Mitsubishi’s six-speed manual gearbox is decisive. Its cruise control is easy to operate. There’s a helpful reversing camera making parking this brute easy peasy. Fuel economy stands at well under 30mpg during typical driving. The double cab allows for five occupants to be transported.
In addition Mitsubishi has added some bling to this particular model. Aside from the good amount of chrome that can be found on the grille and steps, open the rear doors and a nightclub neon blue light greets passengers; popular with daughters Harriett (5) and Heidi (3). “But what does Barbarian mean?” questions Heidi. “Well,” I say, buying myself some time as I start the engine. “It’s a pre-historic man, you know a hunter gatherer.” “Like you Daddy?” “Yes, like me.”

Facts at a glance

Price: From £18,299 + VAT
Top speed: 109mph
0-60mph: 14.6secs
Power: 134bhp
Economy: 27mpg

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