New Mitsubishi L200 vs Volkswagen Amarok
These range-topping pick-ups from Mitsubishi and Volkswagen are workhorses that don't skimp on the luxuries. But which one is the guv'nor?...
Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X Double Cab 4WD
- List price (inc VAT) - £38,967
- List price (exc VAT) - £32,525
Updates to Mitsubishi’s pick-up include a new look, a cleaner engine and more safety kit.
Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 258 Black Edition
- List price (inc VAT) - £47,241
- List price (exc VAT) - £39,420
It’s long been our favourite pick-up, but is this range-topping model worth the money?
You can think of most pick-up trucks as a cheap pair of wellies: they do a job very effectively; they just aren’t very comfortable and have next to no aesthetic appeal. But thankfully, a few modern pick-ups have a bit more luxury about them, and you can equate the two we’ve lined up here to the Hunter and Le Chameau of the Wellington boot world. They do the same basic job as their cheaper brethren, just with a few more creature comforts and a dash more panache.
The Mitsubishi L200 is the newer contender, having recently been updated with a fresh look, a cleaner engine and extra safety provisions. Appearing here in top-of-the-range Barbarian X form, it comes with goodies such as heated seats and a hand-warming steering wheel, even if it does have the same 148bhp 2.3-litre diesel engine as every other L200.
Go for a top-spec Volkswagen Amarok and you’ll get a mighty 254bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel, which might make this seem like an unfair fight. Except that the Amarok costs a lot more to buy, despite having fewer luxuries as standard. Is it worth the extra?
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
If you’re already familiar with pick-ups, you’ll doubtless be aware that they tend to be rather agricultural to drive compared with with regular cars. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest is because pick-ups have rudimentary suspension similar to that of a horse-drawn cart. This is good for carrying really heavy loads but bad for keeping you isolated from lumps and bumps in the road.
The Amarok is considerably more comfortable than the L200, though – despite the fact that this Black Edition model comes with enormous, 20in alloy wheels as standard. The L200, even on its smaller, 18in wheels, jostles you around incessantly no matter what speed you’re doing. It’s really quite annoying, although things do at least improve slightly when you put some weight in the load bed.
When it comes to cornering, the Amarok is in a different league to the L200. It genuinely inspires as much confidence as some SUVs along winding country roads, with plenty of grip, little body lean and steering that’s surprisingly feelsome. These might seem like trivial matters in something that’s primarily a workhorse, but they make the Amarok infinitely less wearing to live with.
That 3.0-litre V6 engine also gives the Amarok some serious performance; it can hit 60mph from a standstill in just 7.5sec. Again, speedy acceleration might not be the priority in a pick-up, but it makes overtaking and outside lane motorway driving so much less stressful than in the sluggish L200. The Amarok is also quieter at a 70mph cruise, if hardly a luxury limo. Indeed, our only real complaint is that its 13-metre turning circle is quite a bit bigger than the 11.8 metres the L200 requires.
Assuming you’re not just considering a pick-up purely for the potential tax perks (we’ll come onto those) and you actually plan on using it as a workhorse, how do these two compare? Well, in terms of numbers, the L200 has the edge. It can tow more (3500kg versus 3100kg), carry more weight in its load bay (1150kg versus 1070kg) and has more ground clearance (205mm versus 192mm) to help it clamber over obstacles.
Thanks largely to its all-terrain tyres, the L200 can handle muddy tracks more adroitly, too. However, the Amarok feels altogether more composed when you’re carrying a hefty weight in its load bay or towing a big load.
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