Mitsubishi L200 long-term test review: report 5

The L200 has a reputation for being a great working vehicle, but can it also be a good alternative to a large SUV for those seeking practicality and off-road prowess? We're living with one to fin...

Mitsubishi L200 on a beach

The car Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X Double Cab Run by Max Edleston, junior photographer

Why it’s here To see if a pick-up truck can be as comfortable and practical for daily life as a large SUV

Needs to Offer all the space that a What Car? photographer might need, be great for long-distance trips and off-road driving, and function as a mobile office

Mileage 4532 List price £32,525 Price as tested £41,317 Test economy 33.0mpg Official economy 36.2mpg

4 December 2020 – Scottish adventures

My Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X has taken a real battering recently. After a rather quiet period, my work calendar exploded and the next thing I knew I was heading up north to the beautiful city of Edinburgh in Scotland (pre-Lockdown 2.0, I should add).

My Scottish adventures were based around a road trip for What Car?’s sister title, Autocar, in a new Land Rover Defender and after driving both during a similar period of time I did find myself starting to compare the two – after all, both cars are designed to be workhorses and family transport. My car is in range-topping Barbarian X trim, costing around £42,000, while the Defender range starts at a little more than £42,920. Nevertheless, how would the two compare?

Mitsubishi L200 next to Land Rover Defender

Firstly, the luggage space. This is undoubtedly a win for the L200. In all honesty, I was a little surprised by the size of the Defender’s boot, especially in longer 110 form. Whilst it did hold all my kit, it was all a bit tighter than expected. However, I do take into account that the L200 is just so superior in this department that most things will be dwarfed by its loading bay.

The biggest gulf in quality was in the on-road performance and comfort. The Defender has a 2.4-litre diesel engine delivering 237bhp and the L200 has a 2.2-litre diesel engine also with 148bhp. On the whole, whilst the Barbarian is substantially down on power, in normal driving conditions you don’t tend to notice apart from the occasional slow departure from traffic lights, and watching the Defender run off into the distance.

However, the smoothness of the power delivery and the ride comfort are certainly worlds apart. The Defender smoothly kicks down a gear and delivers its power seamlessly with not much to notice from the driver’s position. The Mitsubishi, however, delivers a far rawer experience. The kick downs from the gearbox when accelerating make for a rather noisy experience. Dropping down also pushes you back into your seat a lot more than in the Land Rover as the L200 surges forwards.

And when it came to off-roading ability, on the landscapes around North Berwick the L200 matched the Defender up every incline and scrabbled alongside it down every slope. For buyers who do seek adventure away from the Tarmac, I'd say the two cars are on an even footing. On the whole, then, there wasn't as big a gap between these two cars as I might have initially thought. Granted, the Defender is a luxury SUV and my Mitsubishi a pick-up truck, but both might well be used to haul your family at the weekends, and your work kit during the week. It's certainly made me think about what sort of car I'd like next, perhaps something SUV-shaped?

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