2016 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Automatic – A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

2016 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian front

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5?

The L200 is an incredibly popular pick-up truck, with the previous Series 4 outselling all other pick-ups, winning ‘more awards than all its rivals put together’ according to Mitsubishi, and over six decades Mitsubishi have sold over 4.1 million of pick-ups in various guises.

The new L200 Series 5 is new from the ground up, has ‘significant improvement’ in 330 areas and – Mitsubishi say – the driving experience is ‘a generation ahead of any other pick-up on the market’. Well, they’re not exactly holding back in the trumpet blowing eh. I was sent 2016 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Automatic to find out all about it…

Exterior. Butt-ugly or beauty?

The Series 5 L200 has much better styling than the old one, which seemed lacklustre and the design overly soft and rounded – something I pointed out in the Quick Drive review I did of the manual version. For 2015, this new L200 pick-up truck was designed with the Mitsubishi concept of ‘dynamic fluidity… which express a real sense of speed and dynamism’.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

Before we go any further though, I’d like to point something out: black is the worst colour to have when trying to show the lines of your new pick-up off, as it simply swallows them up in all the reflections. Black also looks terrible the moment it gets even slightly dirty (and it’s a pain to photograph too).

If you’re looking to buy an L200, do yourself a favour and choose one of the great new colours they offer the truck in, which include Amazon Green, Electric Blue, Atlantic Grey and Aztec Red.

There’s no denying the L200 Series 5 looks striking and thoroughly-modern, and certainly the improvement is vast over the boring previous-generation version.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

Its front is purposeful – handsome almost – the LED running lights add a contemporary appearance. As a pick-up Mitsubishi have also made it practical, with large air intake grille to keep that engine cool in hot climates, and the ‘chin’ sits high up to offer good off-road capability.

The bodywork flows better than than last L200’s did, and slight flares in body here and there add an interesting slant. At the rear, the light clusters are cooler than previously, and they mimic the front’s to a degree. I didn’t like the chrome surrounds on the rear lights, but that’s just my own personal taste.

My L200 Barbarian A/T test vehicle had the rear bumper with rear step, which I think finishes off the back end better than without it. The step is also a really useful thing, making climbing into the pick-up bed miles easier.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian rear step

While this 2016 Series 5 L200 Barbarian is much-improved in its exterior design, and far more contemporary now, there’s something I believe is still missing – a tough industrial-type ruggedness.

The squared-off, brawny design has come full circle with pick-up trucks in the USA, and they’ve gone from the whole rounded-off look back to big, square beasts again, and there’s a reason – they look better like that. Just take a look at the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Ram 1500 or any of the GMC trucks

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

If you want to compare the Series 4 L200 interior to this new Series 5 in photos, follow this link to my review of the Series 4. For 2015/16, Mitsubishi have quite dramatically changed the styling, layout and trim materials in the L200’s cabin, and it’s certainly for the better.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian seats

I was sent the range-topping Barbarian, so I’ll be going off that for this review. The previous model didn’t have a bad cabin, per se, but rather it was in keeping with that generation of pick-up truck interiors. Mitsubishi say they’ve been listening to criticism of the last version, and have made changes accordingly.

On the Series 5, gone is the sea of hard silver and light grey plastic trim parts, boxy touchscreen system holder, dial controls and perhaps most noticeably, there’s now no separate 4WD gear selectors stick, which is great as it was badly placed and used to sit tight up to your thigh, constantly vibrating annoyingly.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian SuperSelect dial

On the last couple of L200s, the back windscreen opened electrically. I could never see the point of it as it couldn’t be used for anything but letting air in, and it obviously cost more to put in the electrical and mechanical components, so Mitsubishi have done away with that as well.

For 2015, the L200 gets a smarter, more appealing dash design which is way more car-like, and that alongside darker-coloured panels means it gives off a premium vibe. Even those there are still lots of hard plastics used, the physical look and feel of them is much nicer.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian dash and centre console

To add to that higher quality look, Mitsubishi have added satin silver and piano black trim here and there, including on the central dash sections and the 4×4 selector.

I didn’t like the budget-looking shiny steering wheel on the previous L200, and that’s thankfully been addressed with a more modern one, fitted with ergonomic controls and a decently-thick diameter for better comfort. The switchgear on the dash looks and feels more contemporary, but I do see an issue; they’re too small and close-together to be used easily when wearing thick work gloves.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian front cabin

I worked for a good amount of years in various areas of the construction industry, and it was regular practice to jump in the whichever vehicle we had and keep your gloves on, because it was either too cold to take them off until the vehicle warmed, or simply because you were driving short distances between jobs regularly (and quickly) and it just wasn’t worth the effort pulling them off and putting them back on in a short time. I can see Mitsubishi have to modernise their cabins, but slightly larger controls would be more useful to workers.

Another thing I think Mitsubishi could have done better on is the touchscreen system, which feels like it belongs on the previous generation L200, and indeed that’s because it looks identical to the one the Mitsubishi Shogun had when I tested it in 2013.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian touchscreen

The satellite navigation system is okay albeit with outmoded graphics, and there’s a handy integrated reverse camera too, plus there’s DAB radio, Bluetooth and the usual USB/AUX ports, so it’s got the stuff you’d want or need. Perhaps the software has been updated since then, but the outdatedness of the system overall still doesn’t suit the new 2015 L200 Series 5.

The L200 Barbarian edition gets leather seats, the design of which looks fantastic, like they belong on a much more expensive car, and they were always the first thing people noticed and commented positively on when the first saw then interior.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian front seats

Up front, the seats really are comfortable and they’ve now got thicker side and leg bolsters to stop you sliding about as much on corners and when driving off-road, which apparently makes you less fatigued at the end of a journey.

The driver’s seat now slides further back than before, to accommodate taller drivers, and I found the fact the steering wheel has reach adjustment makes the comfort level that much better.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian steering wheel controls

A big bonus is that the Series 5 Barbarian (and the Warrior) now has two-stage heated seats – something that wasn’t even available as an option on the Series 4. Excellent.

The rear seats get improved leg room plus a 25º backrest angle, and again they’re also pleasantly comfortable. With big side windows, good elbow and headroom and an airy cabin, rear passengers can do longer journeys in comfort.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian rear seats

Safety is a big thing obviously, and as well as the electronic aids (which I’ll discuss in the drive section), Mitsubishi has used high-tensile steel for strength, implemented their RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body safety system, the doors have side impact bars, there are seven airbags (front, front side and curtain) as well as two ISOFIX points for child seats.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian front armrest

Engine & transmission

The L200 Series 5 benefits from a new engine plus a new six-speed manual and five-speed automatic transmission. The facts are as follows. The new engine is 100cc smaller than previously, now being a 2.4 litre turbocharged diesel, which uses Mitsubishi’s MIVEC technology, a variable-geometry turbo (VGT), variable valve timing (VVT) – which is a first for a pick-up truck apparently – a non-replaceable timing chain and an all-aluminium engine (saving 30 kgs, and the first pick-up to have one).

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian engine

Mitsubishi’s new 2.4 litre 4-cylinder inline engine has a lower compression ratio than the previous model’s, which helps with power and torque delivery, fuel economy has been improved by 20% and Mitsubishi state that coolant changes are at longer intervals now, helping reduce maintenance costs.

The 6-speed manual gearbox now incorporates parts to reduce vibration and noise, while also shifting smoother and shorter in a more car-like fashion. The clutch is also now lighter, and therefore takes less effort to change gears.

Should you want the 5-speed automatic transmission, the shift pattern has been revised and changes are smoother and quicker than previously, and paddle shifters now come with the auto.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian automatic gearbox

Power is 178 bhp at 3,500 rpm, and torque 317 lb ft (430Nm) at 2,500 rpm for both gearboxes, but the manual will do the 0 – 62 mph run in 10.4 seconds, and go on to 111 mph, while the auto does it in 11.8 and hits a max of 109 mph.

Those figures mean an increase of 3 horsepower for the Series 5, but a more significant improvement of 22 lb ft (30Nm) for the manual and 59 lb ft (80Nm) for the automatic.

Official fuel economy (in UK mpg) for the automatic is: urban: 33.6, extra urban: 43.5, combined: 39.2, with 189 g/km CO2 emissions. For the manual you gain between 1 and 6 mpg, while the emissions decrease to 173 g/km.

I had the automatic version on test, and my fuel economy averages on a few motorway runs varied between 29 and 35 mpg, depending on the route, traffic and weather conditions.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

Improvements to the new Series 5 L200 chassis include 7% better torsional rigidity and fully-revised suspension, amongst other things, which apparently gives the 2015 L200 a ride comfort ‘elevated to SUV levels‘. Mitsubishi also state that ‘the driving experience is a generation ahead of any other pick-up on the market‘ (at least the ones we have available the UK).

On the original short test I did on a media day, I didn’t really have time to see properly what it was like on that side of things, but with a seven-day test this time, I did.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian drive

The top of the range Barbarian I was sent does away with the traditional key start, opting instead for the cooler push-start button. If you’re an owner of the Series 4 L200, on starting the new Series 5 you’ll almost certainly notice a difference in the lower noise and vibrations while the engine is idling. Always a good thing for those times when you’re having to sit and wait in the truck for a good while.

My personal choice – should I be buying a Series 5 L200 – would always be the automatic ‘box over the manual, especially if the majority of my journeys meant city driving or short hops between jobs, as I’d rather sacrifice the fuel economy for the comfort and ease of an automatic doing all the work.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian driving down a rough road

My other reasons for this preference include the fact I’ve previously owned two automatic Mitsubishi Pajeros, and I never had a single issue with the gearboxes. They’re strong, highly reliable, make any off-road driving far easier and less demanding, plus it ultimately saves clutch wear over the manual.

If you’re wondering if the manual is able to tow more than the auto, there’s absolutely no difference, with both having a 3,100 kilogram (6,834 lbs) braked towing capacity and 750 kgs (1,653 lbs) unbraked. That braked figure is an impressive improvement of 400 kg (882 lbs) over the series 4 L200.

Whether you’ve driven the previous L200 Series 4 or not, the Series 5 really does have noticeably un- pick-up truck handling, and Mitsubishi have done well in that area. Body roll is rather less especially pronounced than you’d expect when you’re pushing on at higher speeds around country lanes, or on those big motorway roundabouts that’d normally see you clinging to the steering wheel to stop you sliding off your seat.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian driving down a rough road

The L200 Series 5 also seems to have a less firmer ride than most pick-ups of the last generation. Previously, should you have travelled any distance on particularly poorly-maintained roads, or tackled a low-speed city tarmac littered with speed bumps and pot holes, you’d be treated to a annoying jolt over every single imperfection in the tarmac, which gets irritating and tiresome after a while.

Naturally, pick-up trucks have a firmer ride than a car or SUV because they’re built to carry and tow lots of weight, but the Series 5’s ride is now thankfully more forgiving and pliant than one might expect of a pick-up, reducing fatigue and tiredness on a full day’s driving.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian driving down a rough road

With ‘strategic placement of sound insulation, absorption and vibration-damping materials‘, this new L200 actually makes for a good distance cruiser. I did a 4.5 hour motorway round-trip in the Mitsubishi, and I was especially impressed with just how easily and satisfactorily it covered the miles, with decently muted wind and road noise at higher speeds.

The engine felt fairly relaxed at 70 mph, and it pulls strongly up to that speed when you want to power down the slip road and join the flow of traffic. Those above points, plus the comfortable seating and cruise control, make for pleasantly relaxed longer trips.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian reverse camera

Mitsubishi have further advanced the L200 Series 5 with updated safety systems, and there are many, as follows: Active Stability and Traction Control with Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Stop Signal System (ESS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Trailer Stability Assist which controls the vehicle’s engine and braking to maintain the stability of any trailer being towed.

There’s also the aforementioned RISE technology , a system that uses sensors to recognise when both accelerator and brake pedals are being pressed at the same time and gives priority to the braking system to prevent accidental acceleration of the vehicle. Test-wise, Euro NCAP gave the 2015/16 L200 a 4/5 star rating.

4WD and off-road. Stuck or superb?

Of course, I can’t leave the 4-wheel-drive system out of the equation. Mitsubishi’s system stands out from the crowd by being one of – if not the – only pick-up trucks to feature a system where you can run the vehicle in full 4×4 mode in dry conditions, thanks to Mitsubishi’s incredibly good Super Select 4WD-II system.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian off road

The trouble with most 4×4 systems on other pick-ups is that although they may be great off-road, you can’t use them in damp or rainy conditions on roads, but instead the conditions have to be physically slippery enough that the wheels are spinning, otherwise you’ll damage the 4×4 system or differential/s.

This is really very annoying when a truck is rear-driven normally, especially prone to the back end stepping out on rain-drenched roads, and you really want the reassurance of putting it into 4-wheel-drive, but you can’t.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian driving through water

On the other hand the Mitsubishi Super Select 4WD can be used in any conditions on any road, and you can go from 2-wheel-drive to 4WD at up to 62 mph (100 km/h) too. It’s an absolutely brilliant 4×4 system, and the fact you can use it any time you please is a massive plus for the L200.

For the Series 5, Mitsubishi have improved the 4WD system even further, by adding a Torsen-design centre differential, hill-start assist as well as incorporating Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC) to enhance the the grip even further.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian driving through water

I know from utilising the older Super Select 4WD on my own MK 2 Pajeros many times while off-roading just how excellent it is, so you can guarantee this updated version of it will see the L200 tackle just about terrain you throw at it (within reason).

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian wheels

Price

(Figures correct April 2016) Including VAT tax, the L200 Series 5 double cab starts at just under £23,700 and tops out at a shade over £30,200. In the UK, its rivals are the Isuzu D-Max double-cab at £22,400 – £32,300, Toyota Hilux (new version coming soon) at £23,260 – £30,000, Nissan NP300 Navara at 22,000 – £29,100, Volkswagen Amarok at £25,000 – £33,000 and the SsangYyong Korando Sports £17,300 – £23,000.

2016 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Automatic verdict & score

If you’re currently driving the L200 Series 4 and wonder what the new version is like, well it’s fairly simple: it’s a big improvement. The ride and handling is more refined this time around, and noise levels are lower in the cabin. The seating was good on the old model, but this new version has slightly more room and improved comfort levels, with things like heated seats now being included on high-spec models.

The 4×4 Super-Select system is well and truly time-tested, and Mitsubishi have upgraded it for this Series 5 making it even more potent when you need to use it off-road.

Negatives: there’s not really much in that way, aside from the touchscreen system being rather last generation, and it does feel a little mean that Mitsubishi have put the same one on that was in the Shogun 3 years ago. Also, it looks terrible in black, so avoid that colour.

Do you own a Mitsubishi L200, or have questions about this new one? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below! Read more CarProductsTested.com Mitsubishi reviews here.

Exterior  7
Interior  8
Engine  8
Transmission  7.5
Price  8
Handling  7.5
Drive & Ride  7.5
4WD system  9
Overall Score  8.0 / 10 

Specs

Model (as tested) 2015/16 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian automatic
 Spec includes  (Barbarian spec) 17″ alloy wheels, chrome side steps, rear tinted windows, rear step, LED running lights, automatic Bi-Xenon HID headlights, elec. windows, elec. heated & folding side mirrors, touchscreen sytem with DAB, rear-view camera, HD navigation, Bluetooth & USB port, cruise control & speed limiter, heated seats, tilt & telescope steering coloumn 
Safety  7 airbags, ABS with EBD, active stability & traction control, brake assist, hill start assist, trailer stability assist, lane departure warning, RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body safety system, 2 x ISOFIX points
Options you should spec  Anything but the Cosmos Black paintwork
Off-road information  Ground clearance: 205 mm (8.07″) | Approach angle: 30.0˚ | Departure angle: 22.0˚ | Ramp angle: 24.0˚ | Wading depth: Not stated
Price (not inc. options)  (correct April ’16) Inc. VAT: £23,700 – £30,200 (as tested) 
Engine  Diesel, 2.4 litres, 4-cylinders (in-line), 16-valves, VGT turbocharger, MIVEC technology, VVT
Power, Torque  Power: 178 bhp @ 3,500 rpm | 317 lb ft (430Nm) @ 2,500 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Rear wheel drive & Super-Select 4WD | 5-speed automatic
Towing capacity, truck bed payload, bed dimensions  Towing: Braked: 3,100 kgs (6,834 lbs) | Unbraked: 750 kgs (1,653 lbs) | Bed payload: 1,050 kgs (2,314 lbs) | Bed dimensions: 1470 x 1470 x 475 mm
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 109 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 11.8 | Euro NCAP rating: 4/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Automatic: Urban: 33.6, Extra urban: 43.5, Combined: 39.2 | CO2: 189 g/km
Weight (kerb)  1,860 kgs (4100 lbs)
Websites  Mitsubishi cars UK

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Watermarked: Chris Davies | No watermark: Mitsubishi media

2 responses to “2016 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Automatic – A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Joey

    Thanks very much for the informative review. I’m about to purchase a 2016 (unused) Navara Acenta Manual, or a fully loaded L200 at a decent reduction due to a campaign. I have a Navara since 2008 which I’ve had nothing but problems with, though I accept this to be unique. I was just looking for a basic model pick up, don’t really need all the sat nav/camera/ constant YouTube access. You’ve really helped with the Auto vs Man question. Here in Sweden they can’t understand why I would want a manual when the fully loaded one on offer works out at the same price. Anyhow, just wanted to say Tack…Joey

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