The Mitsubishi L200 pick-up offers plenty of creature comforts in high-spec models. But at its heart, it’s still a workhorse
What is it?
It's a lightly revised version of the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up, a vehicle largely responsible for the growth in popularity of long-cab pick-ups that can double as work vehicles and passengers cars.
Overall the L200 is still the biggest-selling pick-up in the UK but it's the more comfortable double-cab lifestyle variant (rather than the utilitarian 4Work version) that's of interest to us.
Notably, the range-topping Animal version of the double-cab is no more, replaced by the range-topping Barbarian, which now comes with a 175bhp derivative of the 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine and the option of a five-speed rather than four-speed automatic gearbox as tested (a manual is standard).
There are also detail design changes to the grille, minor alterations to some trim, a bigger box-section on the ladder chassis to increase its rigidity, and a new stability control system.
What's it like?
Still fairly utilitarian. Don't come at an L200 expecting conventional-SUV levels of refinement; remember that this is at its heart a rugged workhorse and on Mitsubishi’s Commercial Vehicle price list.
So what you get is a leaf-sprung, separate chassis 4x4 with a one-tonne payload and the space to fit a pallet on its rear deck. Mitsubishi insiders refer to it as a truck rather than a car, and that's how best to think of it.
The diesel motor is a bit of a grumbly thing but has no shortage of torque. The 0-62mph claim is 13.0sec in auto form (a second shy of the manual), and while there's the option to makes shifts on the auto yourself, you might as well let the 'box get on with it. Shifts don't come silky smooth and the motor is vocal at higher revs, so it's best not to work it hard and just make relaxed progress.
Dynamically, too, the L200 feels like a rugged old thing. Because it can take such a heavy payload the rear springs are stiff, so the ride can crash when it’s unladen, but once up to speed it settles down – though there's quite a bit of wind noise.
At only 1.8 metres wide the L200 is susprisingly threadable, and its turning circle is good too, although it takes more than four and a half turns to reach from one lock to another, so there’s plenty of wheel-twirling to be done at any speed.
In top-spec Barbarian form, the L200 gets creature comforts including satellite navigation, a reversing camera and an electric rear window that allows access to the load bay. There's also leather trim, which lifts what is otherwise a fairly basic-trimmed cabin. The driving position itself could use going lower, with a steering wheel that adjusts higher, but the seats themselves are fine.
Should I buy one?
Maybe: if your weekday activities demand you carry loads outside the vehicle, and you need the ruggedness. It’s competitive with its peers. But as with all cars of its type, remember that at its heart it's a working rather than leisure vehicle.