First Drive: Mitsubishi L200 2.5 DI-D Barbarian Black


The Mitsubishi L200 still looks remarkably fresh, despite being one of the longest-serving pick-up trucks on the market.

It has also spent much of that time as a best-seller, making its mark as a sturdy and reliable workhorse.

But while the L200’s appetite for work is dauntless, the vehicle has also appealed to those who like their vehicles to stand out.

And the appeal of special styling treatments is as much for those businesses who want their vehicles to be an extension of their marketing on the road as much as for retail customers.

The latest variant to try to keep customers’ attention in the wake of the new Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger is the Black – a theme spreading across cars in the Mitsubishi range.

For the L200, Black is based on the Barbarian model, with which it shares its 175bhp 2.5-litre diesel engine, leather interior, touch-screen navigation system, reversing camera, Bluetooth and leather seats.

It isn’t difficult to guess the theme of the Black accessories, which include colour-coded side-steps, wheels, grille, foglamp bezels, door handles and mirrors as well as a black wrap for the roof. Ideally these accessories are set off best with a contrasting colour.

All this comes for a prime premium of £1,000.

The L200 Black certainly looks the part and, although the driving experience is far removed from modern SUVs from which it seeks to steal retail customer sales, this pick-up isn’t a bad driving companion given the right environment.

In fact, we were confident enough to brave motorways and French autoroutes in a 700-mile drive.
With three occupants and enough luggage for several days away, the L200 probably mimicked how it would feel when fully laden with tools and equipment for work.

It is also a confident performer away from the main highways and its sophisticated (for a pick-up truck) 4WD selector, with the ability to run in high-range four-wheel drive without diff locks made traversing icy, rutted tracks an easy job.

Out of its element around town and in car parks, the L200 is a lumbering beast with the rear parking camera an essential aid in placing it correctly in spaces.

Performance is adequate, with a 0-62mph time of 12.1secs thanks to the slow-witted gearshift, while the 295lb-ft of torque available is at 2,000rpm – perfect for towing.

Given our high average speed for most of our time with the L200, we struggled to match the official 34.0mpg, with 23-24mpg more realistic.

If these vehicles are workhorses, then customers will be very lucky to see higher than 25mpg.

Although there might be newer and more impressive pick-ups on the market, the L200 still has an air of confidence that its status as number one will remain a while longer.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.