Road Test and Review – Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X Series 6
The L200 has been a mainstay in the pickup sector for many years. With a reputation as being one of the more competent vehicles in off road environments, its popularity has not been restricted purely to those who want a tax efficient, part time load carrier that will look good in the drive.
The last revision was back in 2015 with the launch of the Series 5. 2019 saw the unveiling of, what at first glance looks like a cosmetic makeover but which on closer inspection may well justify the pick up being classed as the Series 6.
So, apart from the most noticeable change, the somewhat ‘marmite’ new front end with headlights raised by 100mm, what else is fresh? Mitsubishi claim that every panel apart from the doors on the truck is new (although this isn’t immediately obvious). The engine, whilst fundamentally the same unit as previous has had a reduction in capacity (from 2.4 litres to 2.3) and a lower power output of 150hp compared to the previous 180hp, all in the name of complying to Euro 6D emission regulations. A new 6 speed automatic transmission is available. The interior is mostly untouched but there are some new safety features and driver aids.
No longer available in single cab form, L200 is offered as a club or double cab at various trim levels. The all important towing capacity is 3500kgs (the GTW improved on the series 6, meaning more payload can be carried whilst towing at full capacity) and the payload is just over 1000kgs.
Specification and Features
Our test vehicle was in the range topping ‘Barbarian X’ form. At this trim point, the truck comes with some rather nice leather, heated seats, heated steering wheel, a spring assisted tailgate, ‘mood’ lighting, a multimedia display including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights and DRL’s , and some driver aids including Lane Departure Warning, 360 degree Reverse Camera, Hill Descent Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Warning.
The Cab Environment
You’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between this and the outgoing model with just the dashboard centre panel being refreshed. There’s an argument to say that ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t change it’ and there really isn’t much wrong. The instrument display is clear and, although not the largest by today’s standards the multimedia screen is easy to navigate. There’s no satnav included but, with smartphone integration it’s becoming less of an issue.
The seats are extremely comfortable, and visibility is more than adequate although as with most pickups it can be difficult to estimate where the front is when manoeuvring. Front parking sensors make this less of a chore in the Barbarian X.
The Load Area
Unchanged compared to the previous model, the load bed on the double cab is 1470mm wide x 1520mm long. The spring loaded tailgate is a boon, avoiding those nasty, unexpected sudden drops when lowering.
On The Road
With the advent of 200HP+ offerings from Ford, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, the 150HP available in the L200 may look a little paltry these days. Whilst it’s never going to win the traffic light grand prix, there is a reasonable amount of power available for overtaking and the truck genuinely does not feel particularly underpowered. The automatic transmission in the test vehicle was smooth with very gentle and swift ratio changes which are well suited to the engine, providing peak performance instantly on demand.
It’s worth mentioning that the L200 is the only pickup which offers full 2WD and 4WD at all speeds and on tarmac as well as off-road, and with changes in mode achievable ‘on the fly’.
Ride on tarmac roads is perfect with little road noise or vibration being transmitted to the cab. Engine noise is a little obtrusive when pushed by today’s standards, although not particularly noticeable at other times. Unfortunately, insurance restrictions meant that off road appraisal wasn’t possible.
Indicated fuel consumption varied widely depending on the type of journey, with extremes of 25mpg and 34mpg being achieved.
The Series 6 L200 is a fine truck with very few failings and excellent build quality. The pickup market has boomed in recent years but the L200 retains a hard core of followers who recognise its off road durability in particular. Competitors are regularly revisiting the specification and styling of their products, keen to maintain an edge. Mitsubishi have done just enough here, but may need to convince existing and new customers that the reduced engine output is sufficient when other manufacturers have substantially more powerful offerings.