Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP 2017 review

Limited-edition Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP flagship pick-up gets an aggressive makeover and knobbly tyres for improved off-road ability

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Mitsubishi L200 SVP looks suitably aggressive thanks to its black cladding and new wheels. The knobbly tyres add another level of off-road ability to the formula, too, but this comes at the expense of everyday usability. If you do enough off-road driving to justify the new rubber, then we'd recommend the SVP, but the standard Barbarian is better on-road, while the even cheaper Warrior has the edge for value for money.

We're big fans of the Mitsubishi L200 here at Auto Express. Its combination of car-like handling, a long list of standard kit and workaday 4x4 practicality mean it ticks all the right boxes for buyers wanting a car that can combine business and pleasure in one smart looking package.

Now Mitsubishi has launched the new Barbarian SVP special edition as a flagship for the range. SVP stands for Special Vehicle Projects, and the newcomer gets a host of upgrades over the top-spec Barbarian that are designed to give the L200 a more aggressive look and improved off-road ability.

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Gone is the chrome-plated grille and the back bumper of the Barbarian, replaced by a satin black finish that complements the truck's metallic blue or black paint options. In addition, there are black plastic wheelarch extensions, black roof rails and black anodised metal running boards, while a new six-spoke 17-inch wheel design, also in black, is included. These wheels are draped in knobbly BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyres, which are designed to boost the L200's off-road ability.

As well as these exterior upgrades, the interior gets a new leather seat trim with suede inserts, while each of the 250 limited run models gets its model number stitched into the front headrests.

Aside from the new wheels and tyres, the L200 is mechanically unchanged, with the same 178bhp four-cylinder diesel under the bonnet. It packs 430Nm of torque, too, offering enough punch to make the Volkswagen Amarok V6 seem unnecessary. The one problem with the SVP's additions is that the off-road biased BF Goodrich tyres add an unsettled element to the truck's ride. The L200 shimmies and shakes over the slightest imperfections, while there's more road noise from the open tread pattern at speed, too.

As before, the L200 does bounce around when the load bay is empty, but as soon as you take advantage of the one-tonne payload, the ride settles down. The tall-profile tyres seem to calm their reactions, too. The All-Terrain rubber does also soften the L200's cornering ability, but then this isn't a car designed to be chucked down a twisty road.

It's off-road where the SVP makes more sense, and it's amazing how much difference the switch from road-biased tyres to off-road rubber makes. Select high or low-range four-wheel-drive, and the Mitsubishi has grip to spare, and only the truck's sheer size and wheelbase will limit its rough-road skills. Sure, the ride can get bouncy, but it's a small price to pay for this new-found prowess.

The SVP is pricey, however. The six-speed manual costs £34,175, while the auto version is £35,855. This is around £4,000 more than the standard Barbarian, and about the same as you'd pay for a mid-spec Land Rover Discovery Sport. However, you get a lot of truck for the money and plenty of kit, including sat-nav, climate control, blue LED ambient lighting, LED strip lighting for the load bay and lane departure warning.

But if you're a business user, the tax savings are significant over a conventional SUV. You'd be paying around a third in Benefit In Kind rates over a Disco Sport, thanks to the L200 SVP's classification as a commercial vehicle. Yet with five seats and an optional load cover or truck top fitted, that load bed can double as a vast boot.

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