On the face of it, Mitsubishi’s shock decision to withdraw from the UK and mainland Europe in a bid to cut its worldwide costs would appear to render a road test of the latest L200 4×4 pick-up somewhat pointless. Not so.

While Mitsubishi is freezing any further launches of new models in this part of the globe, the L200 will be available for a while yet. It will only finally hit the buffers when it no longer complies with emissions regulations. 

Set up in 1974, independent Mitsubishi importer Colt Car Company says it is committed to ensuring parts and service support will remain available. The large number of L200s and other Mitsubishi models on Britain’s highways means that it has every incentive to do so, while at the same time looking for other manufacturers’ products to distribute.

With a heritage that stretches back some 40 years, the L200 is now on offer in Series 6 guise. It can be identified by its restyled front end and squared-off wheel arches, with the majority of variants featuring 18in alloy wheels and LED headlights.

Power comes courtesy of a new, 150hp 2.3-litre diesel – down, alas, from the 180hp generated by the 2.4-litre employed in the previous Barbarian Double Cab – and the four-wheel drive system has been upgraded. Gross payload has been boosted to a maximum 1,080kg depending on the model selected and the L200 can tow a braked trailer grossing at up to 3.5t. 

Buyers can opt for the four-door five-seater Double Cab or the Club Cab, which boasts a longer load bed. It features two full-size front doors plus two small rear-hinged back doors, which open onto a pair of (very) occasional rear seats. 

The 4Life Club Cab is the entry-level model. Thereafter the spec walk ambles through Trojan, Warrior and Barbarian, reaching its pinnacle with the Barbarian X Double Cab automatic. Its six-speed transmission is new, and replaces a five-speeder.

Always happy to enjoy a bit of comfort, that’s the model we sampled.


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Load bay

Access to the cargo bed is by means of a hefty tailboard. A gas-filled strut makes raising and lowering it easier than it would otherwise be.

Released by a single, centrally mounted handle, and supported by a pair of steel cables, the tailboard drops down horizontally. It cannot be lowered completely because the rear bumper, which incorporates a step, gets in the way.

Load lashing rings are mounted in each of the sidewalls and our demonstrator was equipped with a load bed liner and a retractable solid tonneau cover. Both are options and worth considering depending on the type of work you are engaged in.



Interior and equipment

The Barbarian X comes with heated front seats plus a heated steering wheel. All the seats are leather-trimmed, air-conditioning is installed, and the driver and front passenger can enjoy individual climate control settings. 

A touchscreen controls the DAB radio, and smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is a key feature along with Bluetooth connectivity. Cruise control and a 12V power point are fitted, all the doors have electric windows, and the heated exterior mirrors are electrically adjustable. They fold away electrically too.

The steering column can be adjusted for height and reach – the wheel plays host to remote controls for the radio – while the driver’s seat is electrically adjustable for height, reach and rake. Grab handles are mounted on both the A and the B-pillars and there are handles above all four doors.

In-cab storage facilities include a big lockable glove box, bins in each of the front doors with a moulding to hold a soft drink can, a small bin in each of the back doors, and a lidded compartment between the front seats. A sunglasses holder sits above the windscreen and you will find a couple of cupholders between the front seats.

A small cubbyhole in the back of the console between the front seats contains a couple of USB charging points that the rear passengers can use.

All three rear seats have headrests and lap-and-diagonal belts. 

The two outboard seats offer a reasonable amount of legroom but the middle seat does not, and is not suitable for long journeys. The centre section of its back folds down and can be turned into an armrest, complete with a couple of cupholders, for the two remaining rear seat travellers to use.

Blue so-called mood lighting is a feature at floor level and the Barbarian X is protected by an alarm.

Turning to onboard safety systems, ABS, active stability control, traction control, brake assist, lane departure warning and electronic brakeforce distribution are all installed. So are hill start assist, hill descent control, blind spot warning and lane change assist. 

What is already a comprehensive safety package doesn’t end there. A forward collision mitigation system triggers a warning if you are about to hit something. The alarm can be set to sound depending on how far away you are from the obstacle in question. Keep ignoring the alarm and the brakes will be applied. The package reacts to the presence of pedestrians as well as to other vehicles.

If you are reversing out of a gateway onto the highway then rear cross traffic alert will warn you if vehicles are coming. Automatic high beam dips the lights automatically at night to ensure you do not dazzle other motorists.

Installed too is ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation system. It cuts the engine’s power output for up to five seconds if it calculates you have accelerated when you should not have. To all that is added trailer stability assist.

Reversing sensors should ensure you do not back into a wall or a passing pedestrian. They are complemented by one of the most effective rear-view cameras we have ever encountered. As well as displaying what is directly behind you it delivers a bird’s-eye view of the entire vehicle on a split screen so you can spot any hazards either side or ahead. 

Press a button on the steering wheel and you get a rear view from lower down. Press it again and you can see if anything is a bit too close to the nearside sill; both sills have full-length steps. Front parking sensors are fitted as well. Front fog lights aid safety, as do the headlamp washers.

Front, side, curtain and knee airbags provide some protection if you come unstuck despite all the safety gizmos.

Our Mitsubishi L200 pick-up boasted LED headlights, daytime running lights and puddle lamps to ensure you don’t end up ankle deep in water when you step out of the cab. The windscreen wipers start automatically when it rains too.

Power-assisted steering delivers an 11.8m minimum turning circle. A double wishbone suspension set-up helps support the front of the vehicle while elliptic leaf springs are deployed at the back.

Our test vehicle’s 18in alloy wheels were shod with Dunlop AT20 Grand Trek 265/60 R18 tyres. A spare wheel is provided. 


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Engine and gearbox

Relying on AdBlue to meet the emissions regulations, the L200’s new four-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled Euro-6d diesel produces its maximum power at 3,500rpm. Maximum torque of 400Nm – down from the 430Nm produced from the 2.4-litre engine – bites across a 1,750rpm to 2,250rpm plateau. 

Push the automatic transmission’s selection lever to the right and you can engage manual mode. Once that is accomplished then you can change gear using paddles mounted on each side of the steering column.

Four-wheel drive is simple to engage. All you need to do is twist a knob on the console between the front seats. It gives you the choice of two-wheel drive (2H), four-wheel drive with a high range of gears (4H), and four-wheel drive with a locked centre differential and either a high (4HLc) or a low (4LLc) gear range.

Next to the knob is the off-road mode selector, which can be deployed when you resort to either 4HLc or 4LLc. It allows the most suitable engine, transmission and braking characteristics to be selected depending on whether you are driving over gravel, mud, snow, sand or rocks.

There was one minor quality control issue that concerned us. Even when the passenger seat belt was firmly engaged the seat belt warning sign on the dashboard failed to extinguish unless we vigorously shook the seat belt stalk. It happened again and again – not what you expect in a £30,000-plus vehicle.


A keyless start (an arrangement we still worry about on security grounds) means that all you need to do to fire up the engine is press a button on the dashboard assuming you have the key fob on you. If you have it with you then all you need to do to lock or unlock all the doors is press a small button on either the driver’s or front passenger’s exterior door handle. 

The L200’s door handles and mirror casings have a rather cheap, low-grade-plastic feel to them, which belies the Barbarian X’s upmarket aspirations.

For a big, heavy pick-up the L200 handles surprisingly well, clinging on doggedly through bends and showing no tendency to break away. 

In its latest incarnation Mitsubishi’s popular load-lugger gets new dampers and springs plus a stiffer chassis, and the package has undoubtedly benefitted its on-the-road behaviour. It seems to have improved the ride too.

The six-speed gearbox wins top marks, offering a smooth change plus an efficient kick-down should you need to overtake quickly. A bit more power wouldn’t come amiss though, and it is a pity that Mitsubishi has gone backwards in this area. In-cab noise is well controlled, aside from a slightly harsh engine note heard under acceleration.

Switching to manual makes the L200 a bit more biddable during
low-speed manoeuvring, and may make you feel more confident when you go off-road. 

When we did so, the bone-dry conditions meant the main problem we encountered was  clouds of dust as we trundled up and down arid, rutted, farm tracks and across almost-dry stream beds. It coped with the, admittedly not terribly demanding, terrain in 4H, without the need to resort to the other 4×4 settings.


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Stop/start kills the engine when you are stationary to save fuel and cut CO2 emissions, and can be switched off. Leave it on if you possibly can because the L200 is not all that frugal. Mitsubishi quotes a WLTP combined fuel consumption figure of 29.1mpg, and we only did marginally better.

At 12 months/12,500 miles the service interval is on the short side, although regular workshop visits are advisable if you frequently take a 4×4 pick-up off-road. You never know what damage you might have inadvertently done.

At 62,500 miles the five-year warranty’s mileage limit could stand to be more generous.

Colt Car Company says that the warranty will continue to be honoured despite the manufacturer’s gradual departure from Britain. Despite this assurance, the L200’s second-hand value may suffer warns well-known independent auction house Shoreham Vehicle Auctions, with prospective purchasers worried about future aftersales support. 

“That could reduce demand for the vehicle, and its residuals,” advises the company’s commercial vehicle sales manager, Tim Spencer. 

It’s something for potential buyers to bear in mind.

Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X Double Cab automatic 4×4 pick-up

Price (ex VAT) £32,210

Price range (ex VAT) £21,420-£32,210

Gross payload 1,075kg

Load length 1,520mm

Load width (min/max) 1,000/1,470mm

Load bay height 475mm

Loading height 850mm

Gross vehicle weight 3,110kg

Braked trailer towing weight 3,500kg

Residual value 27.1% (after 4rys/80,000mls. Source – KwikCarcost)

Cost per mile 63.5p

Engine size/power 2,268cc, 150hp
@ 3,500rpm

Torque 400Nm @ 1,750-2,250rpm

Gearbox 6-spd auto

Fuel economy 29.1mpg
(WLTP combined)

Fuel tank 75 litres

CO2 206g/km (NEDC)

Warranty 5yrs/62,500mls

Service intervals 1yr/12,500mls

Insurance group 37E

Price as tested £34,201


Metallic paint £455

Bed liner £209

Mat set £28

Retractable tonneau cover £1,299


Ford Ranger

Price (ex VAT) £21,545-£41,145

Gross payload 620-1,252kg

Engines 130hp, 170hp, 213hp 2.0 diesel

Verdict: While the fabulous-looking Raptor version of the Ranger pick-up might win plaudits for the halo effect it creates, most Ranger buyers will choose more mainstream models. They won’t be disappointed, especially if they opt for the 10-speed automatic box, and Ford’s stress on safety (lane keeping system and traffic sign recognition are standard on all variants) will help keep them in one piece. 

Isuzu D-Max

Price (ex VAT)£16,594,-£40,680

Gross payload 1086-1282kg

Engines 164hp 1.9 diesel 

Verdict: A string of well thought-out special editions helps the D-Max attract customers who want a basic but well-equipped workhorse as well as those who want something laden with every extra on the options list. What Van?’s Pick-Up of the Year for 2020 handles and rides competently, and the Ford-style policy of maximising choice by offering single and extended-cab variants alongside the double cab has to be applauded. 

Toyota Hilux

Price (ex VAT) £19,503-£47,791

Load volume 1085-1130kg

Engines 150hp 2.4 diesel

Verdict: Well-known for its ability to stand up to a battering day after day, the Hilux is the truck to pick if you want something that will only break under severe pressure. Like the L200 it is somewhat under-powered, but that is about to be addressed with the launch of a revised model featuring a 201hp 2.8-litre diesel with 500Nm on tap. It gets an upgraded infotainment system, and the suspension system has been rejigged too.

The Final Verdict 

Design 7/10 – Looks a treat on the public highways but just at home off-road

Cabin 8/10 – Roomy and well-equipped with lots of goodies, like a heated steering wheel

Ride 8/10 – Handles the worst highways with a reasonable degree of aplomb

Refinement 7/10 – Engine note can be a little rough at times but in-cab noise isn’t an issue

Load area 7/10 – Shame tailboard doesn’t drop completely but we like optional tonneau cover

Handling/performance 6/10 – Hangs on to the highway well, but you yearn for more power when laden

Engine/transmission 7/10 – Well-matched, with the latter offering a smooth change

Standard equipment 9/10 – Just about everything bar satnav is fitted, with major stress placed on safety

Operating costs 4/10 – Not the most frugal and the warranty falls short from the mileage viewpoint

What Van? subjective rating 7/10 – An attractive package for the most part

Overall Rating = 70/100