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Who's pick of the pick-ups?

  • Mitsubishi's top-of-the-range pick-up includes sat-nav
  • Starting price of £22,924 plus £4,585 VAT
  • Can it beat the Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux?

Anyone who drives around in a vehicle that has Barbarian written boldly along the rear of a car is sending out a message to other road users that, in no uncertain terms, they are not to be messed with.

The Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian on test, however, is a top-spec pick-up that eschews the usual brick-like designs of its rivals, instead parading a swoopy, curvy front end before revealing the inevitable practical, square-shaped flatbed at the rear.

The L200 is no soft option, however. Practical and hardwearing, it's a credible alternative to the popular, almost default choices, the Nissan Navara and the Toyota Hilux.

But which is best of the trio? In a bid to shorten extended headscratching here's a quick comparison of the double-cabbed, diesel all-wheel-drive pick-ups.

Pricing:
Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian 2.5-litre DID diesel auto 4WD
Price: £22,924 plus £4,585 VAT (sat-nav and parking sensors included)

Nissan Navara 2.5-litre 190 Tekna diesel auto 4WD
Price: £22,507 plus £4,501 VAT (sat-nav £1,375 extra)

Toyota Hilux Invincible 3.0-litre diesel auto 4WD
Price: £20,070 plus £4,014 VAT (£659 delivery, sat-nav £1,100, £850 parking sensors)

Winner: Toyota Hilux.

Ride and handling:
The Navara just shades things here: it offers the least bouncy ride when unladen but the L200 'Barb' and Hilux are close behind. In terms of handling, the story is still the same - the Nissan feels flatter around the corners and, if you can call a pick-up nimble, it's the best of all, offering decent turn-in and superior grip.

Winner: Nissan Navara.

Inside:
You'd probably go for the Navara here - the L200 feels a little brutal and fit and finish isn't great. Indeed a letterbox panel on the central dashboard fell out when we pulled away at speed. We weren't that fussed with the fiddly controls on the Mitsubishi either - a volume change on the stereo required a quite a long time with your eyes off the road ahead. The Hilux feels the most robust of all, but the materials are not up to the Navara's standard.

Winner: Nissan Navara.

Performance:
The Navara may only have a 2.5-litre engine but it delivers 190bhp and a maximum torque of 450Nm at 2,000rpm. That big slug of pull puts it ahead of the 3.0-litre Hilux that delivers 171bhp and a maximum pull of 360Nm between 1,400 and 3,200rpm. The L200 does have a lovely, smooth power delivery but it's fractionally short of grunt, delivering 175bhp and a maximum torque of 350Nm coming in at a creditably low 1,800rpm.

Winner: Nissan Navara.

Economy and emissions (combined unladen mpg and CO2 emissions):
L200 - 30mpg/248g/km
Nissan Navara - 31.4g/km/238g/km
Toyota Hilux- 31.7mpg/236g/km

Winner: Toyota Hilux.

Company car tax (BIK) band:

L200 - 35%
Nissan Navara - 35%
Toyota Hilux - 35%

Winner: None.

Loadbay dimensions (length/width/width between wheelarches in millimetres):
L200 - 1505/1470/1085
Nissan Navara - 1511/1560/1130
Toyota Hilux - 1520/1515/1100

Winner: Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux.

Braked trailer weight and payload allowance:
L200 - 2700kg/1045kg
Nissan Navara - 2600kg/1069
Toyota Hilux - 2250kg/1045-1150

Winner: L200.

Other considerations:
For cheap servicing the Toyota Hilux is the best: you only have to book it in every two years or 20,000 miles and that comprehensively beats the other two. In terms of warranty the Hilux and the Navara have a standard 60,000/three year cover whereas the L200 is extended to 100,000 miles. We also think that the L200 is a winner if manoeuvrability is a priority because it has the best turning circle and it is the lightest with a kerbweight of 1890kg.

Conclusion:
The L200 is an impressive beast and if pulling heavy stuff is your priority then it's the one to go for. Although the Navara is the best all-rounder, you won't go far wrong with the Hilux - it'll be reliable, robust and it's excellent value.

Overall winner: The Nissan Navara