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Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian: final report
On fleet since: June 2010
Total mileage: 7,493
Official combined mpg: 30.1
Actual mpg: 25.9
Where have I been?
With the bad weather here with a vengeance I've found myself reaching for the L200's keys more often than not, enjoying its ability to shrug off the worst winter can throw at it on the commute.
Back in lifestyle accessory mode the Barbarian has enjoyed a couple of trips to Wales, bikes racked up on the rear deck, gear stowed beneath and comfortable occupants within.
On one of these the L200's off-road ability literally came to the rescue after a catastrophic failure on my bike meant sending my brother off with the keys to come and get me. Prising the keys out of his hands afterwards was a challenge...
A few weeks later I was back, the Barbarian this time pressed into service as a shuttle at the Forest of Dean. Quicker up the hill than pedalling, taking turns with the taxi detail meant everyone got plenty of driving and riding.
What do I like?
I love being able to just cruise along the lanes, splashing through puddles and generally shrugging off foul conditions. And with the roads winter greasy I'm running in 4x4 mode more often than I was in the summer.
Winter mountain biking means a whole lot more faffing about with muddy kit after a ride and here a pick-up proves its worth far more than a regular car. Just chuck it in the back with no worries about messing up the interior.
A night-time mountain bike race saw the Barbarian working hard and impressing plenty of folk too, the external racks handy with filthy bikes. Even a van would have been less than ideal in those conditions.
A set of borrowed seat covers did come in handy though, protecting the fancy leather upholstery from muddy clothes. If you're going to be doing a lot of this kind of thing one of the more basic commercial variants might well be worth considering.
Interesting to compare notes with one of the guys helping with the shuttling too. A Toyota HiLux owner, he couldn't believe how much better the Mitsubishi was to drive, the steering way more direct and handling hot hatch-like compared with the Toyota.
And for the long schlep home along the M4 the engine - now a lot smoother with a few miles on it - comfy seats and great stereo made for almost car-like comfort. Not bad for a pick-up!
What don't I like?
The Kenwood touchscreen system is good for the iPod connectivity and Bluetooth phone link (though it doesn't always sync with the phonebook for some reason) but the Garmin navigation isn't quite so hot.
The graphics and interface are definitely second rate compared with the kind of manufacturer systems you'd find in a comparable SUV and it can be dazzling and distracting when driving down dark, unlit roads. And I can't see the point of the remote control.
I wonder if the lockable roller-blind style load cover would be more useful than the heavy solid deck too - floor-mounted bike racks would reduce drag and still have the option of an open load bed for runs to the tip and suchlike.
Other moans aren't the truck's fault directly but commercial vehicle status means it costs £10.90 to get across the Severn Bridge to Wales rather than £5.50. Ouch. Strangely at the Dartford crossing I only get charged the car rate of £1.50. Go figure.
What next for the Barbarian?
Going home to Mitsubishi, sadly. I'll be sorry to see it go too and can pretty much guarantee the day after it departs there'll be the snow drifts I was craving all winter.
First though I'd better see to a couple of little dents in the tailgate, one from a colleague dropping it onto the point of a bollard and the other a complete mystery.
Postscript: Sure enough, the snow did fall after the Barbarian was collected - c'est la vie!
Report 1: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian arrival
Report 2: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian goes to work
Report 3: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian in the Alps
Report 4: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian in the country
Report 5: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian final report (this report)
On test review: Mitsubishi L200 Animal
Gallery: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian
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