When the Mitsubishi L200 SVP II pick-up swaggered into the What Van? car park my first thought was “the king of bling is back”.
If understated subtlety is what you’re after, then look elsewhere.
Mitsubishi pretty much invented the so-called ‘lifestyle’ market for pick-up trucks with the creation of models packed with bold styling and features designed to boost brand desirability for customers without jettisoning the trucks’ workhorse capabilities.
The brand also set the tone for the sector by giving its products aggressive names, such as Titan, Warrior and Barbarian. The fifth-generation L200 arrived in 2015 and as competition has intensified in the pick-up sector Mitsubishi has kept its model in the spotlight with enhanced specification derivatives such as this.
The L200 Barbarian SVP II we tested came in metallic grey with details, most strikingly on its 17in alloy wheels, not so much picked out as emblazoned in bright orange.
The wheels were complemented by a black and orange front grille, orange front fog lamp surrounds, orange headlamp and rear lamp bezels, orange door recess covers, an orange tailgate handle surround, and black and orange roof rails.
Clamber into the cab with the help of a grab handle and sturdy, black, shark fin step and you are immediately struck by the generous helpings of orange trimming stitched onto the Barbarian’s leather seats.
If grey is not your colour then the SVP II is also available in a black and, you guessed it, orange combination. It is the second limited edition pick-up to be built by Mitsubishi Motors’ UK Special Vehicle Projects (SVP) programme, following the launch of the SVP early last year, and is in a production run of just 250 units.
Power comes from a 181hp 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine wedded to either a six-speed manual gearbox or the five-speed automatic transmission tested here. Both set-ups combine with Mitsubishi’s rotary dial-operated Super Select four-wheel drive system.
Maximum torque of 430Nm kicks in at 2,500rpm.
The SVP II is well-mannered when negotiating city streets, a process helped by the smooth automatic transmission, which also impresses on single-carriage roads and motorways.
Only occasionally did we notice that it is not quite a match for the respective eight- and seven-speed automatic transmissions in the premium pick-ups on the market – the Volkswagen Amarok and Mercedes X-Class.
The steering is nicely weighted and contributes to decent handling, and although the ride quality improves with a load on board, the back end does not lurch about alarmingly even with no weight in the back to stabilise it. Noise from the road and engine does not become intrusive either on patchy road surfaces or at high speeds.
The Mitsubishi L200 has a well-deserved reputation as an accomplished off-roader and the
SVP II coped with aplomb when required to traverse both bone-dry rutted field tracks as well as the same terrain when slippery following two days of heavy downpours.
The L200 is comparatively good on fuel too: Mitsubishi quotes combined cycle consumption of 37.7mpg for the SVP II, which compares to 36.2mpg for the Toyota Hilux Invincible X 2.4 auto double cab and also the Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 auto double cab. Mercedes’ 2.3 X-Class X250 d 4Matic Power carries an official combined figure of 35.8mpg while the Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak auto comes in at 32.1mpg.
Our main gripe with the vehicle was with the Mountain Top roll cover, a £1004.99 ex-VAT option that protected the load bay, which measures 1,520mm by 1,470mm and is 475mm deep, smaller than most rivals’ (the Ranger’s load bay figures are 1,549mm, 1,560mm
and 511mm, for example).
The cover, which is made from black anodised extruded aluminium panels, blends in well with the SVP II’s style but was infuriatingly difficult to open and lock with the key provided. Once open, however, a pull strap makes it easy to pull back towards the spring-assisted, soft-opening tailgate without having to climb into the load bed to retrieve it.
Mitsubishi Barbarian SVP II Double-cab Auto
Price (ex VAT) £28,105
Price range (ex VAT) £19,305-£28,105
Insurance group n/a
Service intervals 12,500mls
Load length 1,520mm
Load width (min/max) 1,085/1,470mm
Load bay height 475mm
Gross payload 1050kg
Engine size/power 2442cc/181hp
Combined fuel economy 37.7mpg
If you want a head-turning lifestyle pick-up truck that can also put in a working shift then the L200 SVP II makes a compelling case to be what you’re looking for.