Wednesday, 3 October 2012

REVIEW - Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian Black Edition

For those who remember, I reviewed the Mitsubishi ASX Black Edition a while back. The contrasting white/black paint scheme really appealed to me, and so I jumped at the chance to review its big brother, the L200 Barbarian Black Edition. Having previously experienced an L200 automatic, I must confess it was hardly a revelation, but would the manual version that appeared at my house be any different?...

Looks - 10/10

The L200 itself is one of the more handsome of the pickup trucks on sale in the UK. I like its 'rounded' look with its curvy shape. The "Black Edition" adds a lot of cosmetic changes; most of which are in the form of painting things black. The whole idea is very marmite; you will either think it's the best thing in the world, or a vulgar monstrosity that you wouldn't look twice at. As for me? Well I think the L200 Black is absolutely superb. I'm definitely on the 'Love' side for the looks, and I wish there were more cars that offered such a sense of style in the market.

On the outside you get black wheels, roof, wing mirrors, door handles, stand-plate, light surrounds, grille and fuel filler cap. That's a lot of black, and when coupled to a Polar White paint as featured on my test car, the result is absolutely stunning. I admit, it might look a bit 'gangster' to some, but I think that's good. It gives the L200 a presence over-and-above what these pickups already have, and that makes it that little bit more desirable.

On the inside the seats have 'Black' stitched into them. And lovely seats they are too. They are comfortable and also have a carbon-fibre effect weave on them, giving the whole interior a more premium feel than you would expect in a commercial vehicle. It is considering this that you can overlook the trim on the doors and the dashboard. They aren't particularly inspiring, but they aren't terrible either. At the end of the day this is a car you could get in with muddy clothes and not have to worry about scuffing a nice, shiny, piano black centre console, and that is actually a plus point.

Handling/Performance - 8/10

The engine powering the L200 is a (now Euro-V compliant) 2.5-litre diesel engine producing 178PS and 400Nm of torque. That's quite a lot. 0-62mph takes 12.1 seconds and the top speed is 111mph. By car standards this isn't particularly quick, but the L200 does feel fast when you drive it. My test car was fitted with a manual gearbox, and this worked well with the amount of torque; you needn't change gear too much as there's always some power to be had.

Handling is when the L200 does show itself as a commercial vehicle. The suspension actually works very well. The ride is good, and it doesn't wallow over bumps even with an empty rear bed. Yet it is very comfortable at the same time. On a motorway you cruise along without a care in the world, and over average bumpy roads you do have to think what all the fuss is about; you barely feel them. The commercial-vehicleness comes with the steering. It is low geared, which means that to people used to car steering it will give you a heart attack at first and you may feel like you are driving a yacht. However, I personally like it. It makes the car rather manoeuvrable and once again, this IS a commercial vehicle. People buying these are not after pin-sharp steering, and so it would be wrong to see the L200 criticised for this.

Economy - 9/10

I can see you approaching this section with a raised eyebrow at the big bold "9/10" wondering if I have in fact lost my mind completely. The answer, thankfully, is no, I haven't. As I mentioned earlier this test car was fitted with a manual gearbox. You would not believe the difference this made to the fuel economy. Buy an automatic, and you're looking sub-30mpg. The manual box allows you upwards of 35mpg, and on a good run can return almost 40mpg. That's truly brilliant when you consider the size of the car, as well as the big, rugged 2.5-litre engine.

Road tax will cost you £215 per year because of the L200's status as a Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV). Again that isn't too bad, and if the L200 were a car it would fall into the £260 road tax band.

Practicality - 10/10

I couldn't score the L200 anything less than a 10 for practicality. The sheer size of the rear bed means you can do just about anything with the space. You can transport anything from several bikes to a dining room table. What's more, the model I tested had a tonneau cover which adds a great element of practicality because you can lock things underneath it. This protects them from the elements, and from any passers by who might quite fancy whatever you have in the back.

There is loads of space in the cabin for front and rear passengers, and there is comfort for all. Despite its sizable appearance the L200 does in fact fit into villages (just) and you can fit it in a parking space with only slight overhang. However, if you do park across two spaces, or anywhere for that matter, nobody would question you because the Black Edition looks like it could belong to the local drug dealer. So, very practical indeed!

Fun - 10/10

"Fun, a 10! But How?" I hear you cry. Simple really. Fun isn't always about speed, it's how you feel when you're driving the vehicle in question. Does it put a smile on your face? Do you feel relaxed behind the wheel? Do you find yourself making excuses to go for a drive? The answer, for the L200, is yes to all three. When you drive through towns, you see people looking in approval. I had several people passing comment about how good the Black Edition looked. Even the delivery driver said that someone had come up to him at a filling station just to tell him how great it looked. That's a nice feeling. That's the kind of treatment you get when you roll up to Tesco's in your Lamborghini.

Being sat so high up you feel like you own the roads, and whenever you go past a shop window you can see your reflection in the frontage and it does make you smile. This then, is not a car for those who want to live a quiet existence, going about their daily business and seeking no interaction from fellow human beings. However for those who'd like approval from passers by, this car will constantly cheer you up.

Concluding Remarks

As you can tell from the scores above, I have been rather generous to the L200. The truth of the matter is that I absolutely loved it. I would have one in a heartbeat. Except for one thing. I'm not a VAT registered business, and that does create somewhat of a problem. Because, as I have mentioned throughout this review, the L200 is a commercial vehicle. If you can claim the VAT back, you'll pay around £22,500 for your Barbarian Black edition. That's a lot of car for your money. However, once you add Her Majesty's share of the pie the price becomes £27,000 which makes a significant difference. I will say this though; there are loads of L200's on the road, and I see an increasing number of Barbarian's on the road. So people are buying them. Even better, is that I haven't yet seen one of the Black Editions on the road, and so if you do go out and get one, you will almost feel part of an exclusive little club. The Black is only £1,000 more than a Barbarian, and I think it's worth every last penny of it. Mitsubishi are even offering 5 year, 125,000 mile warranties on L200's, and that's another reason to consider one.

Total Score - 47/50

5 comments:

  1. Cool cars for those mountainers!

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    1. Absolutely. The four-wheel-drive system works well and has a low-range and diff-lock feature meaning you really can attempt the tough stuff and come out on top. Would be a shame to get that lovely white paint job dirty though...

      Dan

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