Looks - 8/10
The L200 is probably the best looking of the pick-ups on sale today. It manages to incorporate curves into the usual tough, rugged styling usually found, and this makes it a sight to behold. Also on the exterior there is chrome detailing around the car which contrasted against the black paint on the model I tested worked very well; as did the privacy glass. The 17" alloys appear much smaller due to the large tyres and suit the car. Finally the "Barbarian" logo on the side of the car is a good way to distinguish between the models, and is the right size so as not to become prominant. On the inside the cabin is visually pleasing, bar a few areas of plastic which aren't. The seats are well designed and again look good with the "Barbarian" logo on the stitching. The dials also look good, with a red glow when the lights are on.
Handling/Performance - 7/10
The Barbarian does not have any issues with power. Its 2.5-litre diesel engine provides 175PS and the 5-speed auto 'box makes full use of the engines torque; the engine never really seems like its trying. Acceleration feels smooth throughout and gear changes are barely noticeable. The engine can be loud at higher revs so it is best to keep on the torque lower down in the rev band. On normal roads the L200 handled fine; the ride was comfortable and the size is not as noticeable as you would think. Around town there was no need to stop and wait for gaps as the dimensions were easily judged, and at 1.8m wide aren't excessive anyway. On twistier, bumpier A-roads there was a bit of 'wallowing', and the steering feels a bit under-responsive. At speeds there is noticeable body roll too. However on a motorway the Barbarian is very comfortable and is great on long drives with cruise control and a quiet engine at motorway speeds.
Economy - 5/10
This is where the L200 does fall down slightly. Despite the engine feeling like it never tries, the fuel seems to just disappear from the tank. Unless there is a hole somewhere in the tank, the Barbarian averaged just shy of 30mpg, which is poor. At around £100 for a full tank, you may find your wallet empty after a few longer journeys. However, the equivalent Navara will only realistically do a low-30's mpg so people who buy these pick-ups know what to expect. The only saving point for the Barbarian is down to its payload. For a mountain biking trip of 5 people, we would normally have to use two cars, but managed everything in the L200's bed. This meant economy was less of an issue because it saved another vehicle being used.
Practicality - 8/10
The Barbarian is a very practical car in most respects. There isn't a lot you can't do with a space the size of the rear bed. Manoeuvring the car is surprisingly easy; the reversing camera helps too. Everybody inside will be comfortable, and 5 adults can fit in the cabin no problem. Towing wouldn't be an issue either, although it may hurt your wallet. The only thing to remember is that if you only had a few shopping bags then these will tend to end up in the cabin, as the bed is too big so the bags would shift around and undoubtedly empty themselves. As mentioned I found it useful having the Barbarian for a biking trip, and we also managed to move a dining table and chairs with no problems. The only downside in regards to practicality is the L200's length. With the new long wheel base and a towbar, it is a whopping 5.2metres long. This means that in some smaller multi-storey's there can be problems with overhang, but generally it fits into spaces.
Fun - 7/10
Very important to a car's ownership is how much fun you can have driving it. The Barbarian scores well here. With a very user-friendly iPod connection system (control is available via the touch-screen monitor) you can have whatever soundtrack you want to accompany your journey. Also the L200 is effortless to drive, and so you can relax and enjoy yourself rather than having to constantly worry about size etc. The four wheel drive system is easy to operate and means steep wet gravel tracks are no problem whatsoever, and would also be useful in adverse weather conditions. Being so high up gives good visibility too. As mentioned, the practicality of being able to load up the back and set off to anywhere is great fun, and the Barbarian was a nice place to come back to after a cold, rainy bike ride.
I really enjoyed having this car, and many people will be able to find a use for the practicality. I would recommend looking at possible boxes for the rear bed as this makes the space not only more secure but more useable day to day, as it protects from the elements. Prices start from £23,824 for those who can reclaim the VAT, but anyone unable to do so will pay £28,588. The only saving grace with this seemingly high price is that there is a lot of equipment which comes as standard; such as the leather trim, touch-screen sat-nav, reversing camera etc.
Total score: 35/50