Quick Drive: 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual Pick-Up

Front 3/4 view of the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

As per the title, mine was a quick fifteen minute drive of the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 (also known as the Mitsubishi Triton in Australia) Barbarian manual on a media test day, and our overview is based on that. Don’t worry though, we’ve already booked the car in for a proper week-long test in January as well, and we’ll give you our usual comprehensive review on it then.

Quick facts

  • 2015 L200 is an all-new model, not just an update or facelift
  • New MIVEC 2.4 litre, inline 4-cylinder intercooled turbo-diesel with Variable Valve Timing (VVT), plus lower emissions and better economy
  • 3,500 more miles between yearly servicing (now 12,500 miles) over previous gen.
  • More torque than the previous generation, and faster acceleration
  • New 6-speed manual gearbox
  • Best-in-class load capacity
  • New off-road mode dial for Super Select 4WD replaces traditional stick selector
  • Higher level of safety, and new Safety Assist tech and on-road safety systems

Exterior notes

Rear 3/4 view 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Rear view of the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

The Series 5 L200 Barbarian I drove on the media day is the same equivalent spec of as the previous generation L200 I reviewed in 2014. Whereas on the last version I wasn’t entirely enamoured with the exterior design, this new Series 5 is much-improved and I liked it immediately.

It’s a much more contemporary look now, and whereas the last design seemed lacklustre, the Series 5 is more focussed and with a stronger identity. Certainly the front end has more class and style, and while I’m not usually a fan of chrome on vehicles, the L200 Series 5 pulls it off nicely.

Front grille on the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian front view of the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Light cluster 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

Overall, a the Series 5 L200 looks are a substantial improvement over the last model, and it now easily holds its own in the design department against newer pick-ups such as the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok.

Interior notes

Front leather seats on the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

With the last L200 the cabin actually wasn’t bad at all, but as expected the Series 5 is improved further. Obvious points I noted was the new slicker dash design, better-looking trim materials, a more simplistic instrument dial layout and look, and a steering wheel that now doesn’t look a bit cheap and nasty (like the last one had).

Rear seats on the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Stitched text on the seat 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Stitched leather arm rest 2015Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian

The leather seating on the Barbarian is now more deeply quilted, but essentially they’re pretty much the same design as before, which is no bad thing in my book. The rear windows don’t have the little ‘quarter lights’ in any more, so vision out is improved. More to come in the full review on the interior, so keep an eye out for that around January 2016.

Engine, transmission & off-road

As you’ll have seen in the Quick Facts section at the top, the L200 Series 5 has a brand new engine: a MIVEC 2.4 litre, DOHC 4-cylinder (inline) intercooled turbo-diesel with Variable Valve Timing (VVT). It’s slightly smaller in cubic capacity than the previous Series 4 (2,442cc compared with 2,477cc), but emissions are lower and fuel economy significantly better.

Power is only up by 3 bhp, but as we know torque is more important on diesels, and on that side on things the 2015 Series 5 benefits from 178 bhp at 3,500 rpm and 317 lb ft (430Nm) of torque at 2,500 rpm for both the manual and automatic.

That’s an improvement of 22 lb ft (30Nm) more on the last manual model, and 59 lb ft (80Nm) over the previous automatic L200.

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual 2015 SMMT-0961

Acceleration from 0 – 62 mph is better than before, with times of 11.8 seconds for the five-speed automatic, and 10.4 seconds for the six-speed manual – knocking just under two seconds off the previous model’s time. Top speed is 109 mph for the auto, and 111 mph for the manual.

The 6-speed manual transmission is new for the 2015 Series 5, and it provides lower ratios, a shorter throw between changes, and is ‘more car-like’ to use according to Mitsubishi. The five-speed automatic is also new, and now includes paddle shifters too. Bit strange to have a 5-speed ‘box on a modern auto, but that’s the one we’re testing in January, so I’ll let you know how it is then.

Mitsubishi’s Super-Select 4WD-II system is excellent – I know from experience, and it now includes a new Torsen-design centre differential to give it even more of an edge, and there’s also a four-mode dial instead of a manual stick selector. Mitsubishi fairly point out that the L200 is still the only pick-up that can tow on road in 4WD, and be driven in 4WD on any surface including tarmac – the others don’t as it ruins their differentials. A clever system, and one I love. More on that on the full test.

Drive and handling

Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual 2015 SMMT-0954

Improvements to the new Series 5 L200 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).

Steering wheel 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual

Although I only had the L200 Series 5 for around fifteen minutes, I did note the handling was far better than the last model, it turns in better, and there’s nowhere hear as much roll when tackling big roundabouts. I also noticed the ride was massively improved, in that the rear is not longer skittish, and whereas the older version rode hard at the rear, the Series 5 feels much more settled.

4x4 drive selector on the 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual 2015 SMMT-0980

I drove the six-speed manual, and changes felt light and easy, as did the clutch pedal. I can’t really comment on how well it accelerates to higher speeds, but there’s torque a-plenty lower down in the rev range, which pulls the L200 about with ease. More to come in the future comprehensive review.

Do you own a 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5? What are your views on it, and what are the best and worst points? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Specs

Model (as tested) 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual
Price  (Oct 2015) £23,698 – £30,238
Engine  Diesel, 2.4 litre, DOHC, 4-cylinder (in-line), intercooled & turbocharged
Power, Torque  Power: 178 bhp @ 3,500 rpm | Torque: 317 lb ft (430Nm) @ 2,500 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Super-select 4WD-II | 6-speed manual
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed (limited): 111 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 10.4 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: 4/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Manual: Urban: 34.9,  Extra urban: 49.6, Combined: 42.8 | CO2: 173 g/km CO2
Weight (kerb)  1,860 kgs (4,100 lbs)
Websites  Mitsubishi UK, Mitsubishi Australia, Mitsubishi-Motors Global

Front 3/4 view 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

One response to “Quick Drive: 2015 Mitsubishi L200 Series 5 Barbarian Manual Pick-Up”

  1. Paul Hooper

    I have had my new series 5 Barbarian for a few months now and am impressed… my driving is mostly around country lanes so the harder ride (previously I have always had Discovery’s) is noticeable but OK. On the motorway it cruises nicely too with plenty of room for passengers. Off road, it has been used in muddy fields and coped well when towing in these conditions. My only wish is the 4 options on the super select system – 2wd high range & 4wd high range are fine, but then the next 2 both have diff lock – 4wd high range & 4wd low range. I don’t see the need to high range (ie higer speed driving) with the diffs locked. Would prefer 4wd low range NO diff lock for moving a trailer around in muddy conditions with the ability to run tight corners. Overall, an ex-Disco driver is happy – and that’s saying something!!

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