Mitsubishi L200

Barbarian Double Cab

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian, front
Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian, side
Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian, rear
Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian, interior
Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian, badge

THE Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 is the Rambo of the motoring world - but it's not just a big bruiser.

Rugged and uncompromising like Sylvester Stallone's Vietnam vet, this pick-up truck is definitely one to have on your side when the going gets tough.

Featuring subtle model names such as Titan, Warrior and Barbarian the no-nonsense motor is guaranteed to get you noticed on the road.

Despite my wife deciding the arrival of the beast merited an early spring clean and numerous visits to the council tip, the fifth generation of the L200 is a lot of fun to drive and a great way of meeting new people.

Its size immediately attracts attention with the 17-inch alloys and bulked up bodywork irresistible to inquisitive passers-by and hitherto unknown neighbours.

But don't judge a book solely by its cover as this Mitsubishi is so much more than a muscle-bound action hero as it offers top technology, four-wheel drive, surprising refinement and room for five adults.

The spacious interior allows the L200 to show its softer side with comfortable powered leather seats, convivial atmosphere and touchscreen infotainment system featuring an efficient sat nav.

There is also plenty of space for odds and sods with big bottle holders in each door as well as door bins, glovebox, usefully deep central storage box and overhead sunglasses holder.

Neat touches include the Barbarian legend embossed on the front seats, fuel filler cap, door handles and sills as well as blue ambient lighting for the cabin.

The view from the cockpit is excellent and the driver's seat and steering wheel are fully adjustable so finding a comfortable position is easy.

The L200 Barbarian is a huge vehicle but has the handy attribute when you get behind the wheel of feeling smaller than it is on the road, while the ride and handling are good. Parking is less of a chore than you might think thanks to the addition of a rear parking camera.

Pulling power is provided by an excellent 2.4-litre diesel engine which, linked to an automatic transmission with paddle shifts for manual control, offers surprisingly good acceleration and copes well when the cargo bed is full.

If you need to go off-road then the four-wheel drive gearbox - featuring a low-range function - can be selected via the rotary control. Mitsubishi ensures the L200 is now the only vehicle of its type that can be driven permanently in two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive on or off-road.

Running costs won't break the bank due to reasonable fuel economy. I took the Barbarian on a lengthy motorway cruise fully expecting it to drink diesel with the thirst of a man recently returned from running a marathon in the Sahara - but ended up being pleasantly surprised by its frugality.

The other bonus is that at 70mph the engine is sitting a little over 1,500rpm so is barely audible.

As well as the Barbarian there are three other L200 models - 4Life, Titan, and Warrior - with prices ranging from £23,978 to £30,518 on the road.

The exterior, like the model names, is blatantly macho with a ton of chrome to get your teeth into, while the huge flat-bed load area comes with the optional lockable sliding cover called the Mountain Top Roll.

I'll save you the time it took me to work out how to close the lid - tug the strap provided to the left to engage the locking mechanism otherwise the cover remains resolutely open.

Obviously I'd have been no good on the Krypton Factor but I did work out that even with the cover in place the storage area is damp so when not carrying rubbish you need to put down a blanket to keep your nicer stuff dry.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian Double Cab

Price:£30,518

Mechanical:178bhp, 2,442cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed:110mph

0-62mph:10.4 seconds

Combined MPG:39.2

Insurance Group:10

C02 emissions:189g/km

Bik rating:35%

Warranty:5yrs/125,000 miles

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