THE rise of the pick-up from a humble,virtually agricultural vehicle to an item of fashionable bling is a reflection of the fact that almost anything can happen in the automotive industry.
It all came from the USA where the status of a man or a woman was judged by the size of the pick-up they drove and the hat that they wore.
In Europe, the Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi was at the forefront, making the most of the head start it had in the world of 4x4 driving.
Pick-ups have been a vital ingredient of Mitsubishi in the UK for more than 30 years and from the humble L200 Mk1 with its column gear shift a dynasty of go-anywhere, utterly versatile pick-ups has developed into a fifth generation that has the opposition reeling on the ropes.
Its flagship Barbarian model is best in class for economy, emissions, performance, all-wheel-drive, safety, utility and manoeuvrability.
The previous generation was certainly a hard act to follow because it won more awards than all of its rivals put together.
The aim was to create the ultimate vehicle for commercial duty, combined with SUV-like refinement in quality and dynamic performance and it has to be said that Mitsubishi has certainly ticked the box in this respect.
It is as competent climbing up a mountain or navigating a building site, as it is comfortable on a motorway or around city streets.
On its launch it was the only pick-up that can be driven permanently in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive on and off-road.
This vehicle was the highly popular double cab which can accommodate five. It came with a stylish lockable truck top to cover the load area which immediately converted this vehicle into a massive estate.
With five-seat comfort, it retains the unique ‘J' curve body design between cabin and cargo area which is not just for visual styling. It allows for a 25 degree recline in the rear seats, making for a comfortable four or five-passenger ‘long journey' space.
Interior width has also increased, as have the size of the driver and front passenger seats, which now incorporate high density, soft touch memory foam.
The level of equipment specification is impressive. For example, the new dual-zone air conditioning is 30 per cent quicker at cooling down the cabin space from 50 degrees to less than 20 degrees.
Improved aerodynamics and superior sound insulation also mean that the vehicle is significantly quieter.
Mitsubishi has made thismodel a much easier drive in an urban environment with a turning circle of just 5.9 metres. Anyone who has tried to park a large five-seater pick-up in a supermarket car park will know how difficult this can sometimes be.
Ride comfort is elevated to SUV levels through the introduction of a fully revised suspension, including six shock absorbing body mounts that are more than double the size of the previous model. These absorb noise and vibration from the road, contributing to a smooth and quiet cabin experience.
Torsional rigidity in the all-new L200's chassis frame is seven per cent greater than in its predecessor.
The new L200 has the largest load capacity of any pick-up, in no small part due to the extensive use of high-tensile steel in both cabin and cargo bed, building in strength without increasing overall vehicle weight.
With a combined 42.9mpg, the new truck uses up to 25 per cent less fuel than most other competitive pick-ups.And at just 169g/km CO2it has the lowest emissions in its class by as much as 33 per cent, safeguarding owners against a future emissions based tax regime for commercial vehicles.
The new 2.4 MIVEC turbo diesel engine combines cutting edge technologies for fine control of combustion. As a result it achieves one of the lowest compression ratios for a diesel engine, 15.5 to 1, which all helps achieve performance with economy.