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There was a time not so long ago when the only people that drove 4X4s and SUVs were those of an agricultural or equine bent. Not now, these days it seems half the cars on the road, at least, look like they have off road credentials even if many of these modern mud pluggers actually don’t. So what is a person to drive if they really do lead a “muddy” live and want something seriously capable when it comes to load carrying and off road driving? Well, a pickup that’s what. As there was a time for off road only 4X4s there was also a time for builder’s yard only pickups but that too has passed. The latest generation of these go anywhere and carry anything machines have really become comfortable, capable and frankly rather cool.
First impressions of this top of the range L200 are an odd mix of end of the world survival machine and The Only Way is Essex. The flashy alloy wheels, blue foot lighting and kicker plates and the fact the test car I had was pure white all lean more towards the later. But underneath this exterior of optional extras lays a highly capable off road machine that also happens to offer huge interior space, comfort and mod cons.
In terms of the “rough stuff” the L200 has a full four wheel drive system. It has different modes that include a fully locking differential and a low range box. For those in the know this means the L200 is by no means all show and no go. It really will go pretty much anywhere, so snow, flood, fallen trees and mud are a minor irritation rather than a journey ending issue. It has a more than capable 2.5 litre diesel engine with both an intercooler and turbo and a mind boggling load capacity of around a metric tonne… go anywhere, carry anything!
Inside this monster you get leather heated seats, Sat Nav, tinted windows, reversing camera, climate control and all the other modern toys you would expect in a family car. In terms of space both rear passengers and those in the front get plenty of room, it is certainly not a claustrophobic car to be in. It is also genuinely comfortable; after travelling some 400 miles on a round trip not once did I wish I was in anything but the L200. The quoted MPG figures are around 42mpg but these numbers are largely impossible to replicate in the real world. However, I was very pleased to be able to get around 32mpg over a trip that included some fairly hard driving so the Barbarian is not fuel guzzler either considering what it is.
It can be ordered without the cover on the back for easier loading. But, with it you end up with what can only be described as a cavernous load space. This covered “boot” is secure and able to carry anything from holiday luggage, tip run rubbish, furniture or pretty much anything else you can think of.
The performance is more than adequate and it actually makes the dash to 60 mph in around 10 seconds; there are business saloons out there that would be left blushing by this behemoth. The ride is firm but easy to live with and it handles admirably. The only downside is that with no weight in the back it can get a little slippery in the wet. However, to combat this Mitsubishi have made sure the L200 has the full range of traction control tech built in.
So what is the L200 all about?
Well it’s big, comfy, economical, effortlessly capable, a good performer and very easy to live with. What is not to like? Well the size might put some people off, it is not going to fit into any tiny parking spaces anytime soon and schools runs might lead to a few dirty looks from the parents who come in smart cars. It also isn’t quite as cheap to run as some small SUVs but it is worth remembering it is a 2 tonne vehicle. Taking all that into account it is still an amazing car. For those who lead an outdoor lifestyle, have dogs, horses or just need lots of space it has to be a serious contender. Prices start from around £24,000 but you will need to add a bit more on to get a rear cover and more so expect to look more towards the higher £27,000 mark and you will be ready for the zombie apocalypse or the next family camping trip; whichever comes first.